By Jeff Glucker
My driving skills were originally honed all around New England, where I learned how to quickly parallel park on Boston side streets, handle rear-wheel-drive cars and trucks in the snow, and quickly react to aggressive cabbies who care not for my fenders. It was a great training ground for becoming a confident and capable driver.
At least I thought it was... until I moved to California. I've been driving around Southern California for the last 12 years, and I've learned that pretty much anything goes here.
There's no passing lane on the highway, unless you count all the lanes as passing lanes. Turn signals are an optional extra and no one checked the box for those when acquiring their cars. If someone is in the left lane and approaching their exit, it's impossible for them to gradually get over and take the following exit.
Basically, it's a me-first driving society filled with bad technique, zero regard for any other motorist and horrible displays of mind-blowing decision making.
Case in point, a video has popped up on YouTube that shows what happens when some Los Angeles-area drivers fall into a Lemming-like state of mind. A car with a dashcam pulls up to an intersection with a red light. The car to his right inexplicably runs the red light, and then this car is quickly followed by a handful of vehicles all running through the intersection. I'd wager that the following vehicles didn't even look at the light and simply assumed it was green because traffic was moving.
This video doesn't shock or surprise me. It merely reinforces the level of driving skill possessed by the average Southern Californian.
It's strange too, because Southern California is a car lover's paradise. Some of the most amazing machines, from classics to ultra-exotics, are routinely seen cruising up and down the coast. Major automotive design centers exist on the West Coast, and a large collection of some fantastic aftermarket producers call California home.
Yet the average Southern California driver probably needs to re-take their driver's test.