One of the first things I was warned about before even arriving in LA was the bad driving standards. Quite frankly having driven in London, Paris and the back roads of Britain and been a pedestrian tackling the streets of Rome I figured it would be no different. But of course Angeleno’s always like to be different and I shall hereby regale a few stories of incidents I have been bemused to witness.
My first experience was within my first week. I was dutifully sat at a red light (middle lane so no turning right here my friends) when a car decided not to brake and drove straight into the back of me. What made this incident the more unusual was that one of the first sentences from the ladies mouth was ‘can we hug?’. To which I gingerly obliged and made a hasty departure uncertain as to whether I’d find some odd law suit at my door in the coming days. But it gets better.
Some weeks later I was up in Berkeley sat on a wall set back from the street parking taking a call. Directly in front of me a large truck was parked with a couple sat in the front and in front of them a large empty space. Down the road comes a lady who wants to park in said space. She pulls forward not into the space but straight into the wing of the parked truck. There are no words to describe how ridiculous this was – the truck was large enough to be visible, the space was big enough for a double decker. I could but smile whilst the couple got out of their car rather baffled.
Now to those who think they’re seeing a trend leaning toward female drivers, this morning was another classic, delivered very much by a member of the male species. I was in my own car and heading off down a street near to home. A gentleman ahead clearly want to reverse his car into a space. There was a car in front of where he was aiming but no car and indeed, plenty of space, behind. He turned the car on such an angle I began to wonder if he was in fact doing a complete turn to go the other way. No, no, he simply reversed straight into the curb, pulled out, marginally ‘corrected’ then reversed back into the curb, an action he began to repeat. After some time I could neither take the awkward embarrassment of witnessing this scene nor spare any more precious hours of my life that I would never get back. There’s a chance he’s still there.
Another chap was reversing his car. Not into a space but just straight back along the road (the question of why is as intriguing as his driving skills). He reversed straight into a car that was very clearly parked on the road behind him. He looked out the car, caught my eye and gave such a look of complete shock as if the vehicle had dropped out the sky unexpectedly to which I have no empathy. All of this reversing malarkey was topped off when two cars at the supermarket just reversed directly back into each other in perfect unison after which the owners let rip at each other, as if one was more at fault than the other.
I mean let’s face it. I am no Californian driving genius, having as mentioned in an earlier post, come close to mowing down a number of pedestrians when forgetting the genius of American motoring that puts both cars and pedestrians on green lights at the same time. However, I do like to think that my basic driving skills top out much of that which I have witnessed here in good old LA.