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Heads Up: Aggressive driving on Southern California Freeways

Cuenca, Ecuador
Level Contributor
1,523 posts
61 reviews
Heads Up: Aggressive driving on Southern California Freeways

While taking my Sweet Polly Purebred to the doctor in Los Angeles yesterday, I noticed two particular egregious incidents of aggressive driving. One was in the HOV merge from California State Route 14/Antelope Valley Freeway southbound to Interstate 5/Golden State Freeway southbound. This is a recently constructed HOV lane going southbound in this instance, and I've used this very same HOV lane several times previously with no difficulties. The CA Route 14 southbound driver has to merge into the I-5 HOV lane in quick order. Out of the blue, another car came racing up and got within a few feet of my rear bumper, and I had no where else to put my vehicle. . . I was at the mercy of either my brakes (not the thing to do this time), my accelerator (the thing to do this time) or the other car's driver (unwise, as they were the aggressor). Accelerating did the trick here, but it was close. We got the license number of the vehicle, a new white Hyundai with a new California license plate, and called it in to the CHP via the 511 telephone system. Not an adrenaline rush for me, but for her.

On the return trip north, we took the usually free flowing and safe Interstate 210/Foothill Freeway westbound from La Canada Flintridge to Sylmar. Side note: I daresay we via an alternate routing took the same 20 minutes our routing versus the Caltrans information electronic sign notice on I-5 northbound before CA Route 2 saying "CA 118 - 20 minutes." It took us the same 20 minutes and 5 extra miles via a less congested and safer overall route on CA Route 2/Glendale Freeway and I-210/Foothill Freeway, but for one concern: with lights on and left turn signal on in the La Crescenta portion of the Foothill Freeway, another car saw fit to sideswipe us on the left. I was already partially in the lane, but this car had to bully us out of it and would not yield. I wisely returned to my original lane, and returned to the new lane to the left after they went past me at a higher rate of speed. . . speeding, of course.

The point of all of this is to alert our international and in country travelers (and regional and local ones too of course) as to the continuing problem aggressive driving is in California and in the United States overall. Here's a checklist/quiz on the subject: santacruzlive.com/blogs/… If an experienced seasoned California licensed driver such as myself has a few moments of suffering aggressive driving incidents that could have landed us in the hospital or worse, even dead, I'm guessing that others traveling also encounter these kind of aggressive driver situations while on our roadways. Know what to do before you take the wheel, drive defensively, and do everything you can to leave yourself an out - have a way of escaping the consequence of other's aggressive and unsafe driving while in your vicinity. Be safe out there, folks.

Thousand Oaks...
Destination Expert
for Israel
Level Contributor
14,392 posts
27 reviews
1. Re: Heads Up: Aggressive driving on Southern California Freeways

In my view, most of the agressive and offensive drivers are almost always from local drivers. Very rarely do I notice a rental vehicle (easily spotted....for some reason many Mustangs and Chargers ) that is driving poorly.

If anything, I see visitors driving a little too slowly for the prevailing traffic, probably because of unfamiliar surroundings.

I can think of MANY other countries whose driving can be considered downright dangerous and harrowing.

Dr. Z

Los Angeles...
Level Contributor
1,580 posts
133 reviews
2. Re: Heads Up: Aggressive driving on Southern California Freeways

Sadly, they aren't just on the freeways. I had a guy in a pickup nearly hit me on Santa Monica Blvd in Westwood at lunch today. He was flying!!! Total disregard for safety.

Santa Clara...
Level Contributor
24,650 posts
25 reviews
3. Re: Heads Up: Aggressive driving on Southern California Freeways

Agree with above. When I lived in SoCal , one of the scariest interchanges was the 5 and 14 interchange southbound. I proceed to that area coming home from Mammoth or the Bay Area with extreme cautions. There are people going 55mph next to people going 90mph with all sorts of crazy lane changing maneuvers.

New York City, New...
Level Contributor
4,109 posts
35 reviews
4. Re: Heads Up: Aggressive driving on Southern California Freeways

The 2nd guy just had no idea why your turn signal was on. L.A. drivers don't signal a lane change until they're halfway into the new lane.

Redlands, California
1 post
5. Re: Heads Up: Aggressive driving on Southern California Freeways

All of this would not be an issue if people didn't break the law routinely on the freeway and block the left lanes just tooling along. It forces people to go around on the unsafe right and that is dangerous too, but if not for the clueless left lane campers who don't understand the physics of flow, there would be a smoothly running freeway. You just watch, next time you are in traffic, how many clumps of backed up cars are trapped in the left lane behind a imbecile who won't move out of the way. It is legal to drive over the speed limit when you are passing another vehicle as long as you merge back after the pass and reduce your speed. Do some research and you will see how many deaths and accidents are caused by the uninformed or unconcerned left lane putt-putts. The highway patrol's saying is, "Keep up or keep out" and slower traffic keep right. It's the law. It doesn't matter how fast the person behind you is going. If it's faster than you, you must move to the right or the results may be other people's lives too. Attitude is nothing here. It's the law of driving and of physics.

Thousand Oaks...
Destination Expert
for Israel
Level Contributor
14,392 posts
27 reviews
6. Re: Heads Up: Aggressive driving on Southern California Freeways

Kimian writes ".... It is legal to drive over the speed limit when you are passing another vehicle ...."

Sorry...... This is wrong. It is NEVER legal to go past the speed limit.

Someone, an imbecile as you call them, that's going 65 in the #1 lane is not blocking rows of cars. It's the real imbeciles that drive like fools and make others hit their brakes which in turn causes problems.

Read your vehicle code book. You need a refresher.

Dr. Z

Corona del Mar...
Destination Expert
for San Diego, Orange County, California
Level Contributor
60,348 posts
443 reviews
7. Re: Heads Up: Aggressive driving on Southern California Freeways

Things have improved greatly since 1991 when this footage of a gun battle on the freeway was captured....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WoazkUVZW9k

Corona del Mar...
Destination Expert
for San Diego, Orange County, California
Level Contributor
60,348 posts
443 reviews
8. Re: Heads Up: Aggressive driving on Southern California Freeways

Oh.... and welcome to TA kimian. Here is today's free legal clinic.

CVC

22349. (a) Except as provided in Section 22356, no person may drive a vehicle upon a highway at a speed greater than 65 miles per hour.

(b) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no person may drive a vehicle upon a two-lane, undivided highway at a speed greater than 55 miles per hour unless that highway, or portion thereof, has been posted for a higher speed by the Department of Transportation or appropriate local agency upon the basis of an engineering and traffic survey. For purposes of this subdivision, the following apply:

(1) A two-lane, undivided highway is a highway with not more than one through lane of travel in each direction.

(2) Passing lanes may not be considered when determining the number of through lanes.

(c) It is the intent of the Legislature that there be reasonable signing on affected two-lane, undivided highways described in subdivision (b) in continuing the 55 miles-per-hour speed limit, including placing signs at county boundaries to the extent possible, and at other appropriate locations.

There is no, "but it is okay if you are passing" exception.

Uden, The...
Destination Expert
for Road Trips
Level Contributor
60,942 posts
42 reviews
9. Re: Heads Up: Aggressive driving on Southern California Freeways

Hi Underdog. You must try Europe once. Greece, Portugal....not to mention central and eastern Europe.....

Cuenca, Ecuador
Level Contributor
1,523 posts
61 reviews
10. Re: Heads Up: Aggressive driving on Southern California Freeways

Hi Tet. Chevrolet budget, Cadillac dreams! Not likely to travel to Europe anytime soon, sad to say.

I've traveled in western Canada, where drivers have generally safe driving practices congruent with US ways of driving, and in Mexico, specifically Baja California and Mexico City, where the rules of the road and driving behavior is decidedly different that what you see in the United States. There the driver is only concerned with who's in front of them, or at the sides. . . if someone is cut off via your rear bumper (as US drivers would put it) it's the following driver's fault if they hit you from the rear, believe it or not! A very different driving experience for this driver who has tens of thousands of US commercial driving of passengers under his belt. Not recommended for the faint of heart.

Great discussion on the topic at hand, folks. I thought we were overdue for one. Thanks to Scott for the California Vehicle Code citation. You are *NEVER* allowed to exceed the speed limit in California for *ANY* reason. I had a CHP officer friend who caught many a driver doing this working out of the Oceanside CHP office, and back then in the 1970's when the 55 mile and hour national speed limit was in effect, he passed out "55 dollar bills" to remind drivers of the law, unpopular as it was even then before it was repealed years later. "But officer, I was only passing them!" was an all too familiar cry of the ticketed drivers he cited (and gave warnings to).

I've read on other forums that drivers from other states complain that California drivers tend to stay in the #1 and/or the #2 lanes for far too long. The way to deal with aggressive drivers before they enter your rear view mirror is to move to the right of this/these lanes to ward off the aggressive consequences of their driving before it escalates. Not the typical practice of at least drivers here in the Southland, much less the rest of the state, but one that needs to become more practiced. The aggressive drivers are getting wild and wooly out there, as Koda related above.

Welcome kimian111! Your perspective on this is one I quite agree with. The laws of physics are not going to change based on our opinions or feelings about driving. I saw that the other day coming down southbound into Santa Clarita on CA Route 14/ Antelope Valley Freeway that afternoon. The truck tractor/trailer involved in an accident that early morning was on its side, as was the parked car it hit. By the time I saw it at about 1:30 PM, the truck had been righted on its tires and standing up, but the damage to the cab was total. Gruesome. Link here: hometownstation.com/santa-clarita-news/highw…