Category Archives: Driving

Bodyshop does not equal Law Practice

You know there’s something wrong when you walk into your local car body shop’s office and it looks like an Attorney’s office. My car was hit (and run – by UPS no less) a few weeks ago. So I’m dealing with insurance drama of getting my car fixed. It’s the second hit and run for the Saab.

Since I thought I was being ripped off by my last mechanic (and he’s all the way across town) I decided to go with the shop my insurance company suggested. Usually my insurance company is really good and easy to work with. But the last hit and run was a nightmare – and this one is turning out to be the same. They’re treating me worse when _I_ caused the accident. And I’m no party to this accident at all… in fact, my car was parked on the street when the hit and runs happened.

So anyway, I’m taking the car in for an estimate. I’m waiting inside the white tiled floor, with solid oak grain reception desk to chest level. There are two sets of leather chairs and glass tables to sit at. No trashy magazines. No grease or dirt on the floor. There are three other wood grained desks in addition to the receptionist. To the left of the entrance is a glass office with blinds. I can see through the glass door that there are trophies in a bookcase. Fish tank meticulously cleaned.
Continue reading Bodyshop does not equal Law Practice

Report Traffic in Los Angeles?

Last night I was sitting in gridlock on the Interstate 5 southbound, which was highly unusual, normally I fly down that freeway at the time that I go home from work. So it was an anomaly, to say the least. Perturbed, I decided that I would switch on the radio to check some traffic reports.

And listening to the traffic reports, I got the rundown of every two bit piece of pavement in Orange County and maybe one or maybe two freeways in actual Los Angeles County. But no information that was even remotely useful to me as a Los Angeles driver stuck in a random traffic jam. Why? I know that the these stations are Los Angeles based, and that their area of influence probably does extend into the OC, but why were all the traffic reports I heard in that hour period skewed towards our neighbor in the south? Anyone else ever noticed this?

LA City Nerd’s Parking Tips rock!

For Los Angeles veterans, most of this is old news. For anyone newer to the city this post by the Los Angeles City Nerd could save you hundreds of dollars in parking tickets and impounds: “5 Parking Tips for LA”.

The Nerd covers the worst kept parking secret (yellow zones), grace periods for street cleaning days, what areas are more policed by parking enforcement, plus few other pointers.

The only parking tip I can offer that LA City Nerd missed is this: your car will inevitably be impounded for one ridiculous reason or another, so its a good idea to memorize your license plate number (or write it down, maybe on the backside of your driver’s license) if you need to retrieve it after a night club hopping or seeing a band. Oh, and be nice to the meter maids even if they’re giving you a ticket… when you meet them again in hell you may need a friend.

Left Turns in LA

If you’ve ever driven in LA, you know that making a left turn at an intersection with no green arrows can be dangerous and time consuming during busy traffic hours. Recently on the radio I heard Chief Bratton say that his officers are instructed to allow 3 cars to go through intersections after the light changes, because otherwise traffic would come to a standstill and nobody would ever be able to turn left. The city desperately needs more left turn stoplights and this year there are 330 planned for installation. Second District Councilwoman Wendy Greuel says 330 aren’t enough and she is asking for an additional 120 lights to be installed. From the LA Downtown News article, here are the intersections in Downtown that are on the list for left turn arrows:

First and Hope streets; Fourth Street and Beaudry Avenue; 16th Street and Central Avenue; Jefferson Boulevard and Hoover Street; Adams Boulevard and Main Street; Figueroa Street at Cesar E. Chavez, Adams and Martin Luther King Jr.; and Vermont Avenue at Exposition, Martin Luther King Jr., Jefferson and Olympic boulevards.

BREAKING: Hostage Police Standoff on Long Beach Freeway!

A car chase has ended in a hostage situation police standoff on the Long Beach Freeway. A suspect is in a minivan pinned between two armored police vehicles by the Firestone exit. KABC7 is reporting that the suspect is wanted for a December 2005 armed kidnapping incident… Traffic is being diverted, so avoid the 710 in Southgate.

UPDATE (4:08pm): About half an hour ago the suspect surrendered peacefully. Traffic will likely remain impacted for an hour or so before the more normal rush hour back up.

previous updates after the jump…
Continue reading BREAKING: Hostage Police Standoff on Long Beach Freeway!

Slipping Across Lanes And Into Red Lights

I am trying to figure out if it’s a new thing, or if it has been happening all the time and I just recently started noticing it. I feel like in the last year or so people’s driving skills have been slipping. Slipping: entering intersections on red lights, and changing lanes without signalling. I see it almost every time I drive now. I feel like its becoming more and more common.

Is it because LA drivers are so jaded, and been at the wheel for so long that now we figure that we have signalled enough in our lives, so we just can’t be bothered to do it anymore. That we have stopped at enough red lights, and we might as well cruise through this one(does this relate to the revelation that the red light cameras don’t actually work?)

Before I noticed the pattern of people cruising through red lights, I would see the Watch the Road ads that said “Stop at Red or End Up Dead” and be like – who the hell doesn’t stop at red? Now I see who.

Anyways, I hope these habits don’t become part of the “LA driving style”…

Another post about LA drivers

First of all, someone extended some courtesy to me this morning, which shocked and delighted me. I was coming down Highland and wished to get in the right lane to turn on Franklin. The right lane was unusually busy and no one was letting me in. The car behind me, a small silver Honda, was also trying to move over, and the driver was being more aggressive than me. She found (or made) and opening, moved over, and stopped dead to wave me in front of her. Thank you, cute girl in the small silver Honda!

Later, on La Brea, I saw some jackass back into another car. They were both pulling into the Washington Mutual near Rosewood. The first car was stopped on the sidewalk, waiting for who knows what (it’s one way, so no one should have been trying to exit), and decided to back up, despite a second car that was partially blocking traffic, waiting for the first car. So the moron backs right into the waiting vehicle. It wasn’t much of an impact, but I saw a dent in the offending bumper. To the woman who was backed into: I’m sorry I didn’t stop. I know you will probably be held responsible, and I should have at least given you my name as a witness. My lame excuse is that I am pregnant and my blood sugar was really low. If you read this, get in touch – I will gladly make a statement.

rent bio-diesel cars in los angeles

Los Angeles TrafficA few months ago, I grabbed one of those “closest you can get without a blue tag” spots in front of Whole Foods. When I got out of my car, one of the cart-collecting Whole Foods guys asked me how I liked my car, which is a VW Golf TDI. I told him I was very happy with it, and I especially loved averaging 380 miles between fill ups.

“Is it bio?” He said.

“No,” I said, “I didn’t even know you could get bio-diesel in Los Angeles.”

“You can,” he said, “but it’s just at this one place in downtown.”

“Oh,” I said, “Well, if I’m ever down there, I’ll check it out.”

I forgot about it until today, when I read that Bio-Beetle Eco Rental Cars has set up shop in town.
Continue reading rent bio-diesel cars in los angeles

That Ferrari Enzo Story (Update!)…

2006_02_28_ferrari_enzos.jpg

(Photo courtesy of EuroGamer.)

Remember the Ferrari Enzo that crashed last Monday? There’s an update to the story (via LA Observed):

The case of the Malibu Ferrari crash gets stranger. There may be a gun involved, the car may have been illegal, and the top of the Times story makes it sound like authorities now believe there really was a second person in the car when it crashed. But there’s no support for that claim in the rest of the story, just the skepticism from last week.

More after the jump.
Continue reading That Ferrari Enzo Story (Update!)…

Man vs Car on the I-10

This is one of the craziest things I’ve ever heard…

From abc7.com:

A man died today after being hit by three different cars on the Santa Monica Freeway less than 24-hours after he was released from jail. The accident in the eastbound lanes near La Cienega Blvd. was reported to the CHP just before 3 a.m., said CHP Officer Francisco Villalobos.

The 50-year-old man who has not been identified ran across the westbound lanes of traffic where he was struck by a 2001 Honda Civic. The impact spun the man around, but he kept running across the lanes, crossing the center divider into the eastbound lanes, according to the CHP.

He was then struck by a 1999 Chevrolet Suburban.

While lying in the road, he was struck by a 1991 Ford Probe.

Ex-con or bionic man?

That Ferrari Enzo Story…

2006_02_22_ferrari_enzo.jpg

(Photo courtesy of NBC4.)

As soon as I heard about the circumstances surrounding the crash of the Ferrari Enzo yesterday morning on PCH, I immediately suspected that the passenger’s story was bullshit:

Stefan Erikssen, 44, of Los Angeles, a Swedish national, told authorities he was the owner of the Ferrari Enzo. But he claimed he was only the passenger, and that the driver ran off after the crash, according to sheriff’s Sgt. Philip Brooks.

According to Brooks, Erikssen said a German named “Dietrich” was driving the car. Police said the Ferrari may have been involved in a race with a Mercedes-McLaren SLR.

More after the jump.
Continue reading That Ferrari Enzo Story…

We Can Safely Do Away With Car Alarms

Continuing on yesterday’s trend of pointing out irregularities in our vaunted driving related systems, today I will speak briefly about car alarms.

In short, it’s time that we did away with them. The only purpose of their existence at this point is to wake me up in the middle of the night when a truck or bus passes a Honda Civic. Whoop! Whoop!

As far as I know, nobody responds to them. Nobody calls the police and nboody thinks, “Oh my goddam, someone’s car is being robbed.” If anything, it gives the owners a false sense of security in thinking that this secures their vehicle. It seems, in some cases it can have the opposite result. Someone might unload a clip.

They are useless, and they are annoying, and I ask car owners everywhere to consider the alternatives.

Busted by motorcycle helmet camera

I always love finding out about things in LA from friends in Japan! Gen Kanai links to this SoCalSportsBike thread of a motorcyclist who was involved in an accident and caught the whole thing on her helmet cam. Gen writes:

This lady motorcyclist in Los Angeles had her helmet camera on when a car in the lane next to her had an accident and caused her to crash into the car.

At the time of this posting, there’s 16 pages of commentary. The upside is that this video will exonerate the motorcyclist and will implicate the car driver for the idiot that he is. Sadly, it looks like he’s an undocumented Mexican without a license and insurance (a fairly common occurance in SoCal) and the motorcyclist may not get anything from his insurance.

This is a freightening aspect of being on the roads here in socal – just about everyone I know who has been involved in any kind of an accident, myself included, has had to deal with uninsured drivers / drivers without licenses. In my case, some who even fled the scene. Maybe we all need dashboard and rearbumper cameras?