1. Protected Left.
You know that little green arrow symbol that we learned about in driving school that’s supposed to grant us safe passage while turning left? Yeah…coming across one of these that lasts more than three seconds in Los Angeles is like spotting Johnny Depp at your local Pac Sun. It’s basically the unicorn of LA driving.
2. Left Turn Yield On Green.
It’s almost faster to make three right turns. There’s so much oncoming traffic that there’s an unspoken rule that when the light finally turns yellow (or red in most cases, since everyone ignores yellows), two cars are allowed to turn left. At the rate of just two cars per traffic cycle, sometimes you’re stuck at the light for five or six horrible cycles. There’s nothing more infuriating than seeing some unaware idiot, NOT turn on yellow or red. If you are this driver, please. Just, please. I can’t violate my parole…again.
3. Blocking The Intersection.
We have places to be. Auditions, rehearsals, call times, etc. Being on time is pretty damn important in this town. This is especially true if your email is firstname.lastname@example.org. Sometimes, there are so many cars that you can’t drive through the intersection because there simply isn’t enough space for your car on the other side. Most people understand this and are considerate of others. However, about 25% of drivers get greedy, and end up blocking the intersection after the light turns red. All you can do is sit there, and stare at the side of their car, cursing your lungs out as “Happy” by Pharrell plays for the sixth time on the radio.
4. Rude Pedestrian J-walkers.
For some reason, there’s a number of obnoxious J-walkers in LA that feel like they’re invincible and abuse the “pedestrian’s right of way” rule. I mean, you will literally be speeding down Highland at 11:30pm, and some douchebag with a ponytail will casually stroll across the street while eating Frito Lays, stopping traffic in both directions while flipping everyone off. Like WTF? Not cool. I hope you go way over your data limit this month.
5. Right Lanes.
Just because you need to turn right soon, it doesn’t mean you should be in the right lane. “Turning onto Sunset in 0.3 miles? Okay, let me just switch into the right lane now.” Nope! There’s a parked car. Now you’re stuck there, watching all the other cars zoom by you. Helpless. If you know this feeling, it’s quite disheartening, like the time you drank red bull and jumped off your parents’ roof. Wait what? No wings!? It hurt your pride more than anything else.
6. Freeway During Rush Hour.
Want to get on the 10E or the 405S between 4-7pm? Hah, don’t make me laugh! But if you MUST, be sure there’s enough gas in your tank. The quickest way to become the most hated person on the freeway is to run empty during rush hour. In you’re ever in that situation, I hope you have thick skin, because it’s already too late, my friend.
Yes, I promise to give this note to your wife.
7. Parallel Parking.
You better be a pro at this. Because in rush hour, you only get one shot. Yes, one. We’re serious.
8. Illegal U-Turns.
If you haven’t busted a highly illegal U-turn in the middle of a street yet, I don’t think you actually live here. The streets don’t always make sense here. And I think there’s a mutual understanding of this. It’s like looting during the apocalypse. Sure, it might be “illegal” in another context, but shit! Gotta do what you gotta do!
9. Mid-Day On A Weekday.
Sometimes when you’re stuck at a light in the middle of the day, there’s nothing else to do but watch the beautiful people jog in the streets. At first you’re like, “Wow, that human is damn gorgeous.” And then you’re like, “Why are they jogging in the middle of the workday? Hmm, must be an actor or just unemployed or something.” Then you’re like, “Wait wtf. This beautiful human can’t even book a gig? Great. Mom, dad: I’m flying home.” Sigh.
10. Movie Sets.
Friends in other cities will be like, “Wow! They’re filming the new Spiderman movie on your street!? That’s sooo cool!!” No. Not cool. It’s anything but cool. First of all, most of the time, it’s never some epic scene. It’s always some ambiguous scene with plenty of extras and no stars. Second and most importantly, ALL YOUR STREETS ARE CLOSED DAMNIT. You hold a slight grudge when you finally see the movie in the theaters. “Eh, I’ve seen better.”
11. Street Parking.
Read ALL the signs. Yes, all of them. Because sometimes they contradict. It’s a long read, but you can do it. That’s why we took reading comprehension during our SAT’s. Sometimes I’m literally sitting in my car, scribbling out a block schedule on some receipt, just to see if I can park there. Just once, I’d love to fall into the “Permits Exempt” category. Just once! Sigh. The struggle is too real.