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Navigating the LA Freeways!

Posted by on June 6, 2012

Some of you know, some of you may not know, but during the week, I’m an outside sales rep.  What does that mean?  I’m on the road, a lot!

When people hear I drive around on the LA freeways, they kind of cringe, “wow, you can handle that?”  is what I get back.  I look back at them and say, “Well, I’ve kind of learned how to navigate the freeways.”

How does one learn to navigate the LA Freeways?

WEEEEELLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL.  Here are some of my tips of the trade:

1) Don’t even bother trying to get on that freeway before 8am!

If you have to, plan more than enough time(2 hours time), but if you want to be moving, wait until after 8am.

2) In the morning, avoid going south on the 710!

This is when all the big semi’s are trying to get to the Port of Long Beach, and the Ports of Los Angeles, you don’t want to be stuck in that mess! Trust me ;)

3) There are certain parts of the city, no matter what time of the day, that you will always come to a complete stop:

Where the 405 connects with the 10, and also the 101, Where the 110 connects with Exposition Park going into Downtown, Along the 5 around both the 710 and the 605.  It’s inevitable, just prepare for it, and know within 20 minutes it’ll clear up and you will be moving again.

4) When Driving on the Freeway, keep left. 

I’ve learned this one the hard way too many times.  For whatever reason, lanes are always ending on the right hand side, or you’re merging off to a new freeway, so try to keep left with everything!

5) If you have people in your car, utilize those car pool lanes!! 

But just know where your exit’s going to be so you’re able to get over in time.  But once in this lane, be prepared to drive the flow of traffic.  Everyone goes fast.

6) Guess what FREEWAY I avoid at all costs? 

Nope, it’s not the 405 ;0 but, the freeway I despise is the 5!! Every time I have ever driven on this freeway I have come to a complete stop.  One time I took this trip from Burbank to the 605, and you know how many times I had to merge left?  During that whole trip because of lands ending, freeways merging off, my car had to merge over 10 times, and you wonder why this freeway is always dead stopped!

7)  Give yourself more time than you think you need! ;) 

You never know what may come up.  An accident in LA usually closes down 2 or 3 lanes of traffic on any given freeway.  And just always be prepared to stop.  ;) I’ve learned the best way of navigating the LA freeways is to just not be in a hurry! hah.

8) Know what direction the traffic is flowing, and go opposite that direction ;)

I am very fortunate in the area that I live in, for the fact, that I usually am going against traffic as opposed within it.  So I easily am able to tell what freeways to avoid at what time, and which ones will be freely flowing as opposed to which ones will be at a dead stop.  It HELPS!

9) Know the Side Roads

What’s nice about LA is the fact that a lot of the roads are long stretches, and that means, if the freeway is ever BAD, you can easily take the side roads home.  Familiarize with the roads around your home to make it easier on yourself.

10) Don’t drive, Ride a Bike!

In LA, the best mode of transportation is definitely a motorcycle or even a bicycle.  The motorcycles are allowed to drive in between the cars, and also ride on the outskirts of the carpool lanes.  The only thing I don’t like about learning how to drive a motorcycles is everyone else on the road ;)

 

9 Responses to Navigating the LA Freeways!

  1. Sharon Greenthal

    When I was in my early twenties (25 or so years ago) I worked for (now defunct) Robinson’s department stores as an assistant buyer. I spent a few days a week going from store to store and everything you mention here was true back then, too. I came to think of LA/San Diego as 22 Robinson’s stores connected by freeways – and there was no way to communicate without pulling off the road and finding a pay telephone. Thank goodness for cassette tapes!

  2. Romina

    Oh you poor thing ;). As someone who grew up in LA County and have lived in Westwood and commuted on the 10 freeway for work, I have resolved to succumb to the horrible SoCal traffic. You have excellent pointers. I wish the public transportation system here is expanded like other metropolitan areas, but alas, it’s not. I miss the Bay Area for many reasons and the BART is definitely one of them.

  3. Mary

    The freaking 5…couldn’t agree more!!! You know what freeway I have found is usually not too bad?? The 110! When I have had to take friends to LAX at rough traffic times, I usually hit up the 110;-)

  4. Bibi @ Bibi's Culinary Journey

    Everytime we are in LA I can’t believe the freeways, luckily hubby is natural born driver no matter where we are so I leave the LA driving to him, lol :)

  5. Alexis Grace

    Yep, I avoided the freeways like the Plague. I lived and stayed in West Hollywood- branching out to Hollywood and Beverly Hills, plus the occasional beach trip and family visit in Calabasas. But I cried on days where I had to get on the freeway…

  6. Miz Meliz

    This was great! Reminds me of when I commutted to Downtown LA from the Valley every day. I love the pictures!!

  7. Alex @ Before The Baby Wakes

    Ugh. I hate driving the freeways here. Its worse then DC in my opinion because at least there you know to stay away in rush hour. But it seems for me it never matters what time its always backed up!

    Thursday when I was headed to the airport I was literally in park because of Obama’s arrival. I considering driving the HOV lane. Does pregnancy count as extra passengers?

  8. Marie Leslie

    5 through LA is my least favorite freeway anywhere, anytime. Last time I had to drive it, I hit a pothole that blew my engine. Sounds like not much has changed since I left CA. When people in NM and CO complain about traffic, I just roll my eyes. I used to commute to Santa Monica from San Diego–that’s traffic.

  9. Lisa D.B. Taylor

    I avoid freeways everywhere I go! I hate to admit it, but on roadtrips my husband does the driving. He is fearless and I’m the talker who keeps him awake

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