Driving in California
Unless it is posted otherwise, U-turns are legal in California
It is legal to pass on the right in California, so always check before changing lanes.
Drive with the traffic. Hence the saying, “When driving on I-80, drive 80.”
When you are near your off ramp, take action to get into the exit lane immediately.
Expect bumper-to-bumper traffic when driving in the Napa Valley on a weekend.
If you are driving on a mountainous road and a speed limit sign says “Curve 40 M.P.H.,” believe it.
If you are driving on a two lane rural highway, and there someone tailgating you, pull over and let them by. It is either a local who is late for work, or a tweaker, who is also late for work. It’s hard to tell.
You will notice some amazing motor vehicles while you are in California. On any sunny day, you’ll see antiques, low-riders, customs, and rare foreign sports cars. A car nut buddy of mine came to visit and he would stick his head out the car window like a dog to ogle a car, which would usually result in the driver asking him, “What the fuck is wrong with you?” It is okay to look and admire, be sure to make eye contact with the driver and nod.
Overall, Californians are fine drivers. Road rage has virtually disappeared in California since 2012. Not that it doesn’t happen; – there are jerks everywhere, but keep in mind that in a state with over 30 million residents, we have more rednecks than most states have people. In case you are faced with road rage, here is a tip: Admit that are a jerk, idiot, or asshole. This pretty much works 100% of the time. They can’t argue if you don’t. Sometimes I’ll mouth the word “sorry.” That usually works too.
Driving in L.A.
Do not be afraid of Los Angeles. It is truly one of the great cities of the world. It is a friendly city too. And the street traffic is not that bad at all
There is a stereotype about Los Angeles traffic. Considering the size of LA, it really isn’t bad. In China they have traffic jams that last a week. You’ll see some bad driving, but keep in mind, that driver may just be visiting like you are.
a Chinese traffic jam in 2013
Driving in San Francisco
There are only four kinds of drivers in San Francisco:
1 Working people in pickup trucks,
2 Clueless tourists driving rented cars
3 Cab drivers
4 Super-rich people driving expensive cars with the look of disgust on their faces.
Driving in the San Francisco Bay Area is a harrowing experience. Everyone is rude on the freeways, and they drive as if it were a competition. When driving in the city of San Francisco just expect that you will be in a fender bender, and you will have a relatively stress-free driving experience.
San Francisco aka the City
If you are driving a manual transmission car in San Francisco, good luck with that. I have heard many stories about burning out a clutch on the upside of one of the many beautiful, car-lined streets that SF is made of.
Parking in San Francisco is very limited. To avoid great frustration, it is often better to arrange your itinerary based on the first empty parking space that you find. Write down where you parked and jump a tram, bus, cab or cable car. Taxies are fairly cheap in SF, and the cabbies get you to where you are going very quickly
Helpful Tips about California
San Francisco is a city and a county.
The proper term is Asians, not Orientals.
Stockton resembles a Third-World County.
There are many Slavic immigrants in California.
Fresno is the dividing line between Northern and Southern California.
We have Sikh police officers, especially in the northern Sacramento Valley.
Los Angelinos really do go into great detail on the best way to get to somewhere.
There are a lot of Catholics in California. Most of our cities are named after saints.
San Francisco is called, “The City” by most Northern Californians. It is never, ever called “Frisco.”
It can be 40 degrees at San Francisco’s Ocean Beach, and 70 degrees in North Beach on the other side of town at the same time.
The Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento has recently tripled its size and it is currently the newest art museum in America.
Possession of less than an ounce of marijuana is not a crime in California. As long as you are not smoking while driving, which is treated as a DUI, the worst thing that can happen to you is that you will get a citation.
When out in the forest or wilderness, especially in Northern California, do not be nosey. Mind your own business. There are some places, like in the Trinity Alps area, that are ruled by illegal marijuana growers or meth manufacturers.
Never, under any circumstances make any derogatory remarks about Hispanics.
Even if you think that you are in a room full of Caucasians, African-Americans, or Asians, because almost every native Californian has Hispanic blood in them, usually their grandmother, and of course, she was a saint.
The San Joaquin Valley, (which is approximately south of Stockton and north of Bakersfield) is a primarily Spanish-speaking area, governed under a feudal system. Rich corporate farmers and poor Spanish speaking workers are the inhabitants of the “Breadbasket of the World.” If you want to see poverty in America, you have come to the right place.
You will notice that there is a usually a layer of smog in the San Joaquin Valley. That’s because everything is powered by diesel fuel. Tractors, semi-trucks, farm machinery, and generators belch choking exhaust in what should be should be fresh clean air, and even though the farmers could easily make bio-diesel from their own land, few do.
smell that fresh country air
They blame the smog on the San Francisco Bay Area traffic. Check out the great Spanish language radio stations that play everything from Ranchero to Cumbia to Mexican gangsta rap.
Remember, there is no place else on Earth where so many people, from so many different cultures, races and religions live together in relative harmony. We also have the best food and drink in the world.