How to Stay Safe While Driving During Rush Hour in Los Angeles

Driving During Rush
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Los Angeles is a massive city, and a significant number of people call it home. The thing with such a vibrant and pretty populated city is that it tends to have insane traffic snarls.

You’ve likely heard a thing or two about LA’s sensational gridlocks. It’s not an embellished story. Getting stuck in one of the city’s notorious freeways during rush hour can be a nightmare.

But there’s more to it.

Getting stuck in traffic isn’t the worst part of driving in Los Angeles. The highways can be risky because of the behavior of drivers. Fatal car crashes remain high even with the introduction of a safety program meant to reduce the number of traffic accidents.


Don’t Get Distracted

Distracted driving is undoubtedly one of the main causes of traffic accidents in Los Angeles. Even so, distracted drivers are a common sight, and much of it has to do with traffic congestion.

When driving in LA, you’ll be surprised how much you have to endure the crazy bumper-to-bumper gridlocks. For many of these drivers, it’s a daily thing, and that causes people to carry out other activities while waiting out the congestion.

You’ll see people on phone calls, texting, reading, or rummaging around in their vehicles. It’s normal enough that you may find yourself doing the same things to pass the time. But distraction is one of the safety risks to avoid while driving in LA.

Watch Out for Motorcycles

If you’re new to Los Angeles, you may be shocked to see that motorcycles casually ride between two traffic lanes. The practice is known as lane splitting and is perfectly legal in California.

While there are divergent views regarding lane splitting, the state of California considers it one of the ways of combating traffic congestion.

However, the practice is risky and frequently leads to accidents. All it takes for an accident to happen is for you to suddenly change lanes, unaware of what’s coming up behind you.

Always watch out for motorcyclists when driving in LA, especially during rush when they can’t help but ride between lanes.

Avoid Gridlock Hours

The best way to ensure complete safety while driving during rush hour in Los Angeles is to avoid driving during rush hour. That is if you can.

Usually, weekday peak hours last from 6 am to 9 am, picking up again around 5 pm to 8 pm. Weekend rush hour can be unpredictable but usually goes from 7 am to 10 am. The snarl-up at night can go from 5 pm onwards.

Perhaps if you can plan your movements around these peak hours, you may avoid the dangers of LA’s rush hour like aggressive driving and road rage.

Keep Off Tailgating

Tailgating in LA’s traffic jams is common even though the practice is considered dangerous.

When you’re too close to the vehicle in front of you, you expose yourself to the risk of an accident. Basically, you put yourself in a blind spot where you can’t see past the vehicle ahead of you, and if the vehicle you’re tailgating brakes suddenly, you’ll most likely ram into it.

Resist the urge to tailgate, especially when you’re following large vehicles like trucks and buses. Remember, these vehicles have many blind spots. Driving too closely puts you at a huge risk.

Keep to the Speed Limit

Speeding has never had a good outcome on the road, and during rush hour, the chances that it’ll end badly are high.

It may not be convenient, but maintain the speed limit during rush hour even more so than other times because there are many people on the road, and you don’t want to put them at risk.

There’s no room for speeding in a traffic gridlock because then you’ll be tailgating and driving aggressively.

Monitor Traffic

Technology has made it super easy to navigate areas of high traffic, and if you didn’t know, some apps can help you avoid congested roads.

You already have Google Maps, which can help redirect you to less congested routes. In addition, a site like Waze helps you monitor traffic in real-time, suggesting alternative routes.

Final Thoughts

Safety is as big a priority as figuring out how to get out of LA’s gridlocks during peak hours. Keep in mind that you’re driving alongside many people who can’t sit patiently in a traffic jam.

While you may not be in control of what others are doing on the road, you can control your actions. When you do the right thing, you don’t just keep yourself safe but others as well.

About jordonsmith smith

I am david warner games journalist with 15 years' experience, beginning my career on Edge magazine before working for a wide range of outlets, including Ars Technica, Eurogamer, GamesRadar Gamespot, the Guardian, IGN, the New Statesman, Polygon, and Vice. I was the editor of Kotaku UK, the UK arm of Kotaku, for three years before joining PC Gamer.

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