Los Angeles: Top City for Aggressive Driving

La La Land
6 min readDec 30, 2019


Los Angeles is a big beautiful city to visit located in California with plenty of activities for tourists and travelers to enjoy. With a massive population and eclectic culture spread far and wide, the City of L.A. boasts a way of life that nearly surpasses description. This certainly allows for exciting times within the community, but it also results in a style of driving that some people would describe as aggressive. In fact, one particular study has Los Angeles at the very top of a national aggressive-driving list. The study is courtesy of GasBuddy. Interestingly enough, four out of the top ten most aggressive cities in which to drive hail from California. The other three locations are Sacramento, San Francisco, and San Diego.

Whether staying for a few days, weeks, or months, visitors to Los Angeles need to be aware of the conditions that make driving in the city so much fun. Some of these matters of fact are not all that different from what most people face coast to coast as motorists just about every day. However, a couple of them may seem hard or even impossible to imagine. Either way, a closer look at what happens on the city’s streets is needed to really understand what makes drivers in L.A. so stressed out. Perhaps, this understanding may lead to better personal behavior while spending time and commuting in the city of angels.

There are a handful of reasons why Los Angeles has a bit of a reputation when it comes to staying cool, calm, and alert while driving. Super-heavy traffic is one simple reason why L.A. drivers tend to be a smidge more ramped up. It’s a big city with a lot of people. Although that seems like a world-class understatement, a look into the numbers may shed a little light on the subject. The whole state of California is home to about 40 million people with 10 million of them living in Los Angeles county. In that county, 4 million people live in the city. That means a lot of people have to share the roads and highways. If they all decide they need to be somewhere at a certain time, the office during business hours for example, then things can get a little hectic. From an individual standpoint, savvy maneuvering can handle overwhelming traffic or a plethora of motorists. This means fighting the urge to go overboard due to impatience or anxiety. Road rage can happen at anytime, but it seems to be especially bad after spending hours behind the wheel. Travelers to Los Angeles need to understand that trying to weave in and out of traffic of a geographic location that dense is nearly impossible to say the least.

L.A. is known for being a really fun place to be where people like to let there hair down and operate in a somewhat more informal style. This culture and way of life kind of spills over into the way people drive. As a side note, aggressive driving is not at all uncommon as it happens all the time in places where people are just used to living the way they like. It’s not a reflection on their moral character or personality. Distracted driving happens all the time, and it happens more often to people when they have a lot to do in a city like Los Angeles. With nearby beaches, national forests, and park to visit, it’s very easy to get turned around bouncing from one gorgeous spot to another. For tourists and home-grown citizens alike, this can present its own set of issues. It’s easy to find yourself spun, disoriented, and frantically trying to jump on that right exit before having to make yet another 30 to 40 minute detour. Honestly lost out of towners and people who travel the same way daily collide every once in awhile. The results can range from inconvenient to disastrous, but things don’t have to be that way. All it takes to avoid things like that is a little overview and some common sense.

In everyone’s life there comes a time where the challenges of the day simply call for traversing the freeway. With any luck and collective cooperation, this task should be a quick and convenient solution for getting from one side if town to the other. And in most cases, it is. However, things can get a little life threatening when crossing ramps get involved. The simple fact is these things are monstrous in size, and this makes them difficult to monitor let alone enforce traffic laws. Hence, people drive just about any way imaginable from time to time on the thoroughfare; although most times they’re perfectly safe to drive on. These particular structures present L.A. drivers with a dilly of a pickle. Drivers are not supposed to operate their vehicles while distracted, but sometimes GPS (Google Maps) is the only hope they have of figuring out the right road to travel. Sometimes, live is just not fair to these drivers.

Aggressive driving in Los Angeles is not just a matter of mass commuting and sophisticated freeway infrastructure coming together nicely. There are other rules and conditions that contribute to the fast-paced fancy driving techniques used in the city and surrounding county. Carpool lanes act as an unlikely factor in the L.A. driving equation, which is kind of ironic because if their design and purpose. On the surface, to say that car-pool lanes add to the problem of aggressive driving doesn’t make sense. However in the Golden State, it makes perfect sense to allow motorcyclist certain privileges in these lanes. For starters, they (motorcyclists) are allowed to use these lanes whenever they want while other motorists may have to wait for the permitted times. For tourists visiting the city with a motorcycle license, this can yield some fun times on the freeway. California law has other benefits for people riding on motorcycles as well. They get to share lanes side by side if they so choose and can maneuver in between lanes at their own discretion. All it takes is group of motorcyclists hopped up on Mountain Dew and rock n’ roll flying through traffic to turn an afternoon drive into something special.

Another type of infrastructure that seems to encourage aggressive driving in the city of Los Angeles is the amount of narrow streets it has. For some people, the fact that a street bottlenecks acts as a natural speeding deterrent. However, a population the size of L.A. and the surrounding county usually means that every possible thoroughfare sees it fair share of action. This much action presents challenges for traffic management efforts as people find that the short cut they like to use is popular with other drivers. In itself, this really doesn’t count as a problem or issue. However, it can lead to issues once speeding and road rage get thrown into the mix. With so many narrow roads in the city, near misses can happen in the blink of an eye.

This may seem like something of an obvious statement, but Los Angeles is a big city that requires lots of supervision. Traffic signs cost far less to build and maintain than signals. Therefore, L.A. options for traffic signs instead of signals. To this end, some visitors and tourists may find that there’s a lack of left-turn signals in the city. Travelers may also find that when citizens merge from one street to another the same way several times a week at their discretion caution sometimes takes the back seat.

One final reason for all the aggressive driving in Los Angeles can be summed up in one word; location. The weather in the city is warm and dry just about all the time. This makes for dry roads and clear visibility, which are perfect for tearing down the highway. It also means that when there’s a wet dark rain storm at the wrong hour of the day, say before sunrise or after night fall, traffic court is going to see a bump in cases down the line. Another often overlooked factor of location is that L.A. rests right on the West Coast, which makes for blinding sunsets with no real cover. This may sound silly to some. But, compare these conditions to somewhere else like Denver Colorado where the Rocky Mountain horizon dies wonders for sunset driving and the issue becomes more relevant. Having the sun in your eyes while having to make a quick decision may height anxiety and lead to a more aggressive style of driving. There’s one simple and humble fact about the aggressive driving in the City of L.A. that just about anyone can take comfort in. The ever-loved hump day, Wednesday, turns out to be the calmest day to be out on the road making happy trails. Good luck, everybody.



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