California Driving – It’s No Dream (Sorry Mamas and Papas)


I learned to drive in an Edsel station wagon on the Los Angeles freeway system. Obviously, I’ve been driving in California for a long time. Throughout  the years, I’ve noticed a variety of driving “sins” committed by my fellow Californians ( but not by me, of course.)  There is the precarious, unannounced lane change, which causes a parade of brake lights. A variation includes turning on the turn signal after the lane change has been completed. And then, there is the famous California STOP. (Skid Tires On Pavement).

But very recently, I witnessed a driving “sin” that was truly hair-raising. In California on some streets, we have turn lanes. For example, a four lane road may have two lanes on each side separated by a middle lane, which is a two-way turn lane. The turn lane is bound by two yellow lines. Usually, the outer line is solid, and the inner line is broken. This marking indicates drivers on either side can enter the turn lane in order to make a turn, as long as they don’t head-on someone going the other way trying to make a turn. The turn lane is not a driving lane, nor is it a passing lane. (Sorry, but I’m taking my first written driving test in twelve years, so I’ve been reviewing the law.)

Driving in the center lane (not the turn lane) was an older model Mercedes about four car lengths ahead of me. Traffic was light. To our immediate left was a turn lane with a red pick up truck sitting there. The truck was signaling a left turn. The Mercedes pulled into the turn lane, drove toward the truck without slowing down, then cut to the left of the truck and drove about fifteen feet in the oncoming traffic lane. It then cut in front of the truck, went out of the turn lane and back into the traffic lane ahead of me. At the stop light, the Mercedes moved into the left turn lane and politely turned on it left turn signal.

Fortunately, there was no oncoming traffic and the truck driver was aware of the Mercedes. He could easily have t-boned the Mercedes, injuring himself and the Mercedes driver.

I’ve decided the only way to explain such drivers is that they must subscribe to the philosophy  that  “I’ll do it my way, no matter the cost to others.”


Stay safe