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L.A. Can't Drive

The anonymous blogger at L.A. Can't Drive has been keeping track of the daily outrages against good sense, neighborly-ness and the law committed by drivers on the streets of Los Angeles. We asked them for a few of their favorite posts - which is to say, their worst - and with the help of the region's motorists they delivered. God help us.

Free Bags of Soil on Camarillo

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Does this really need much more explanation? I got this submission a few days ago:

“This picture pretty much speaks for itself. I took this photo while stopped for a red light on Camarillo at Lankershim in North Hollywood. Clearly, those bags of soil were not strapped and secured in the back of that SUV.”

First, notice the license plate…long time California (and likely L.A.) native. Second, which is more of an afterthought, notice the broken taillight. Many of you already know my rule of thumb that states that vehicles with malfunctioning or broken lights usually contain poor drivers. Last of all, is this driver honestly telling me that (s)he couldn’t maneuver those bags of soil so that the hatch and tailgate could close properly? Honestly, this has to be one of the dumbest things I’ve ever seen. Talk about waving a red flag in front of law enforcement and begging for a ticket. Oh, wait. What law enforcement?

Scooching at Large in Beverly Hills

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Some readers don’t understand what I mean by “scooching”. I specifically define scooching as crossing over two sets of double yellow lines to bypass traffic in front of you and “cut the line”, so to speak, to get into a specific lane, usually a turning lane. For all intents and purposes, two sets of double lines are treated as berms or concrete medians according to the law; the city just doesn’t have enough money to create these raised structures all around town. I’m not OCD about this either, so I don’t immediately point a finger at someone for cutting into a left turn only lane a few feet earlier. But I saw this white Ford Explorer cut out of traffic in the #1 through lane on Wilshire, use a left turn only lane to pass traffic, cross an intersection, drive over the two sets of double yellow lines over the length of another block, and then enter the left turn only lane to Santa Monica Blvd. Did I mention that he also momentarily went completely into oncoming traffic to bypass another car that was entering the left turn only lane in the legal way? This wasn’t the only impatient, selfish bleep either…at least 5 other drivers pulled this same stunt (sans playing chicken with oncoming traffic) while the rest of us waited patiently in rush hour traffic. It’s important to note that areas sectioned off by two sets of double yellow lines are not the same thing as center left turn lanes, which are bordered by two sets of one solid and one dotted yellow lines. You can legally enter and travel within these center left turn lanes for up to 200 feet, according to the book. But the book doesn’t give you the license to be an egocentric prick, so be patient, wait your turn, and don’t scooch.

Seeing-Eye Dogs for Drivers?

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I made a posts a few months ago about a dumb-looking, silicon-enhanced driver rolling around Beverly Hills with a Yorkshire Terrier leaning out her driver’s side window. Well, clearly idiocy of this degree isn’t reserved for “dumb blondes” with runty Pomeranians and “trophy wives”. This dude was cruising along Ventura in Sherman Oaks in his black Range Rover with two pugs sticking out the window. From afar, we saw this guy drifting in and out of lanes without signaling; upon closer inspection, it’s clear that he relegated signaling duties to his dogs. In fact, these dogs were also in charge of checking his driver’s side blind spot and sideview mirror. The lighter pug was all over that mirror like white on rice, let me tell you. But hey, you never know, these dogs might be geniuses and, unlike their caretaker, are highly aware of the dangers associated with driving. They definitely seemed to be more alert than their owner, who probably possesses a level of intelligence comparable to any average canine. Hmm, I wonder what would happen if a kid suddenly ran out into the middle of the street right in front of his vehicle. Would this guy’s first instinct be to veer out of the way or save his dogs from flying out the window? This is what “Southern Cali laid back” is all about people….ignorance, idiocy, and negligent nonchalance.

One of my craziest submissions in the 2+ years we've been operating:

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Here’s a submission from a reader who did the right thing and took matters into his own hands to catch someone who not only deserved to lose his license but should now spend some time behind bars. Thanks to him, we have one less irresponsible, dangerous driver on our roads:

“My old roommate had his ‘06 Mustang parked in front of my house. This morning (10/14/08) at about 10AM, I hear a crash and a car alarm go off. I run out and see my friend’s car smashed in and the rear of a dark gray Ram turning the corner. I hop in my vehicle and tear out after the guy. As soon as I round the corner, I see him making a U-turn and coming back down the street with a flat tire. I stop him and call the cops. After I get off the phone, he writes his info, illegible and very sloppy, on a napkin, puts it on the wiper, and TAKES OFF after I told him not to and him saying that he did all that he had to do. I advised him that if he left, things were gonna get way worse. He left anyway. So I’m following him down the street with his flat tire and all, and he’s veering off the road, driving in the dirt, straddling lanes, etc. He then stops half way in an intersection, makes a left, bumps the curb, makes a right to go on the freeway, and hits the curb again. Now we’re on the freeway going 75-80 mph. He’s driving on the shoulder and brushing the guard rail before he loses his tire completely about a mile later. I’m on the phone with LASD (Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department) giving them updates, and luckily, there was one that just finished a stop just ahead.”

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“8 miles later, they stopped him, got him out of the truck, cuffed him, and then placed him in the back of a cruiser. They determined he was high on prescription meds (forgot the name), and he hit numerous other things before he hit my friend’s Mustang. He had a suspended license, no insurance, and possibly no papers. They said he had a ticket still in the truck issued in 2006 for no insurance as well. My truck got peppered with debris from him running off the road-no damage though.”

Neighborhood Watch programs really help law enforcement catch offenders, like this would-be hit-and-run perpetrator. Though the person submitting this post just happened to be in the right place at the right time, along with the right amount of experience on the road to do what he did, active crime watch programs in your community will not only make the streets safer but will also likely catch repeat offenders. FYI, if you do happen to hit a parked vehicle by accident, the law requires that you right down your contact information, license plate, vehicle make and model, and insurance information and leave it in a secure, visible place for the other driver. We can all benefit from the habit of at least writing down and phoning in the license plate of any vehicle we see performing a hit-and-run.

To Protect and to Serve?

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It’s no wonder why so many people in this town have difficulty with proper headlight use when our law enforcement officials either fail to uphold the law and cite offenders or fail to set a good example. At the very least, you would hope that those whose responsibility is to uphold the public’s safety would be a bit more observant. This is a submission from one of our regulars that was taken before sunrise:

“It’s 6 AM, do you know where your lights are? Coming home from work today, I almost slammed into this deputy ’cause he was going 20 mph on a 55 mph DARK road (n/b Sierra Hwy a few miles south of San Fernando) WITH NO LIGHTS ON. WTH was he thinking? Stay to the side if you’re gonna do that crap, not right in the middle of the 2 lane road!!! I waited 2 miles till I got to the stop light to snap this pic. The license plate light is out, which is clear proof that he doesn’t get it. I could see inside and the dash was dark as well. You’re setting a real good example, dude….”

Again, don’t be fooled by the brake lights, but rather see how the license plate is unlit-a clear sign that this sheriff’s headlights were not in operation.

L.A. Can't Park (Either)

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My, oh my, look at what we have here! It’s been awhile since we’ve had a post about bad L.A. parking, and this is a first on this site for a trifecta of poor judgment. This was taken today in the parking lot of the mall at the corner of Ventura and Laurel Canyon in Studio City. My wife and I were meeting her parents at the Daily Grill for dinner when we came upon 3 cars taking up 4 parking spaces. This is how we think these drivers managed to squeeze a square peg into a round hole:

1) Selfish moron in the charcoal gray Toyota Highlander dived for the first parking space he or she saw and didn’t have the presence of mind to take the time to adjust his or her vehicle properly in one parking spot.

2) Dimwitted moron in the green sedan felt like he or she had no choice but to park right next to this SUV at exactly the same angle rather than parking properly one spot over to his or her right, which would have made the SUV stand out alone as the clueless dung bomb.

3) We were actually behind the maroon minivan as it finished parking. Instead of parking evenly in the 4th parking space (counting from left to right), the driver decided to keep the back of the minivan in his parking spot while angling the front of the minivan into the 3rd parking space.

I’m sorry, but is there some unwritten law among idiots in L.A. where you must park at the exact angle as everyone else around you, regardless of lane markings, common courtesy, or basic common sense? The fact that you have an SUV and a minivan squeezing into compact parking spots is another issue altogether….

Got a submission for L.A. Can't Drive? Visit their site and share the wealth. All photographs copyright L.A. Can't Drive.

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