The Essentials for Driving in L.A.

Los Angeles, California is famous for lots of reasons – the Hollywood sign, the Walk of Fame, Beverly Hills, and Venice Beach. It’s also infamous for one thing – traffic. Driving in L.A. is stressful at the best of times, but luckily there are some tips and tricks that will make it easier.

Know the laws

Every state, and often every city, has its own driving laws you need to abide by. L.A. is no different and if you’re soon to be driving around this city, make sure you brush up on the local driving laws. Some rules to bear in mind include:

●      At least two passengers are required to use the carpool lane.

●      You can only use hands-free devices when driving, so no texting or scrolling on your cell phone – even if you’re stuck in traffic.

●      Stay sober – sobriety checks are common in L.A.

●      It’s illegal to smoke in a car with minors as passengers.

●      No throwing trash out of the window – littering can incur a $1000 fine.

L.A. also has all the usual rules, so make sure you have car insurance and consider getting pay-per-mile car insurance if you don’t plan on using your car much.

Watch out for motorcycles

Motorcyclists are common in L.A. and they’re allowed to drive in between traffic lanes. So when you’re driving on a road with multiple lanes and especially when changing lanes or overtaking, make sure you keep an eye out for motorcyclists.

Learn the road etiquette

So everywhere has its own road laws, but everywhere also has its road etiquette – the unspoken rules of the road. One to keep in mind in L.A. is not to honk. Los Angeles drivers aren’t honkers so avoid doing this unless you need to let another driver know you’re there.

Avoid downtown L.A.

Every city has that one street that drivers know to avoid. In L.A. it’s downtown L.A., especially Wilshire Boulevard and the area around Union Station. This is a high-traffic area all day every day, so try to avoid it and take alternative routes if you can. And never drive in downtown L.A. on a Friday afternoon and evening, you’ll be stuck in traffic for hours.

Know your parking spots

Parking in L.A. isn’t easy, but luckily there are lots of meter parking spots in central L.A. that take credit cards. If you don’t see a meter, look for a number on the curb – that means there’s a pay station nearby. Familiarize yourself with the L.A. curb colors too so that you don’t make any rookie mistakes and get landed with a fine.

Local shortcuts and best routes

Speak to locals to find out the best routes and shortcuts, but here are some to consider:

●      When traveling west or east, Santa Monica Boulevard is great for getting through Beverly Hills and Hollywood. Washington Boulevard and Exposition Boulevard are also good for getting around southern L. A.

●      If you’re traveling north or south, La Cienega, Sepulveda Boulevard, and Crenshaw Boulevard are good ways to avoid the busy 405 freeway. 




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