Monday, August 17, 2015

California Dreaming

Last week I spent the week in and around Los Angeles, on a business trip. It was driving heaven, compared to here in Utah. For a start, LA pedestrians are blessed with a sense of self-preservation we can only ever dream of here in Utah. They don't wander out in traffic, they don't idly amble through parking lots. This wasn't just downtown LA either - it was Van Nuys, Griffith Park, Inglewood, Venice Beach, Long Beach - everywhere I visited it was the same. (actually that's not quite true - in Malibu the tourists kept wandering into traffic with cameras). The same goes for the drivers. They go when the lights go green, they don't brake and stop in the middle of the road for no good reason, they use their blinkers (for the most part), they cross dashed lines and don't cross solid lines. The commuter lane had actual commuters in it. Even the 405 at rush hour - 6 clogged lanes going north to Van Nuys - was better than the random crapshoot we have on I-15 around Salt Lake City at any time of day or night. What was odd was that the rampant lack of lane discipline I saw south of Las Vegas this spring was all but gone, around LA. People used the left lane, then pulled in. Traffic flowed. Nobody sat there doing 50mph with their brake lights permanently on.
Then of course I came home and on the 8 minute drive from the airport to my house - people crossing the white / yellow lines on on-ramps. 50mph in the outside lane. Stopping in the middle lane. Not going when the lights go green, not stopping when the lights go red, pedestrians wandering around the roads like they were sidewalks and everyone and their dog changing lanes in intersections (because apparently corners don't count, and neither do the painted lines on the road).
I've come to the conclusion it's because in Utah, God is their co-pilot (or at least Joseph is - look it up). I properly believe they drive and behave like they do when it comes to roads because they live in some bizarro-world where they think that if they get killed because they did something stupid, it was "meant to be".
TL/DR: California - at least around LA - much MUCH better drivers and pedestrians and just about anywhere in Utah.