Every state has features that make its residents believe there is no other place like it. However, only a few states have cultures so unique and/or unusual that even residents of other states will agree with them. California is one of those states. Today, let’s take a look at what makes California drivers different from the drivers everywhere else.
Rain Is A Problem
We learn early in life that there are four seasons in a year: winter, spring, summer, and fall. That is not the case in many parts of California. Particularly in Southern California, there are two seasons: Summer, and Slightly-Colder-and-Very-Occasionally-Wetter-Summer. Ask anyone from anywhere other than California, and they’ll tell you, “Californians do not know how to drive in the rain.” It might not be the kindest assessment, but they’re not entirely wrong.
A light drizzle can double time spent in the morning commute. This is because Californians seem to go to one extreme or the other when it rains. Some drivers ignore it entirely and continue driving as they would any other day, which is dangerous and can (and does) cause accidents. This slows traffic to a crawl.
Alternately, they drive at half the speed limit, sometimes less, because they’re terrified of the water from the sky. More rain, and the commute gets worse as accidents pile up. Think this is an exaggeration? Earlier this year it rained, and there were 275 accidents in Los Angeles County within four hours. The week before had 30 accidents during the same time span.
Every once in a while though, there’s a small miracle. The rain pours from the sky, but the streets are empty with no traffic. How could this possibly happen? The commuters called in sick because they’d rather use their paid time off than risk driving in the rain.
Speed Over Consideration
There’s an accusation by drivers from other states that California drivers are less considerate than those in other states. Generally, people are inconsiderate everywhere. However, California drivers in particular are perceived as… snooty individuals who deem their destination to be more important than yours, or other drivers.
For example, people say California drivers follow too closely, cut in front of other drivers, and view blinkers not as signals to slow down and let someone in, but as a sign that yells, “Speed up and pass me!” Apparently California drivers do all these things because of the constant rush to get out of traffic and to their destinations. Ultimately, while it is true California drivers do all of the above, that all happens everywhere else too. The whole country could benefit from online traffic school.
Varied Terrain and Population Density
The thing that makes California drivers the most unique is that they are accustomed to driving in a wide range of conditions (barring rain, of course). Imagine a driver in Los Angeles wants to take a day trip north of the city. He could drive through the bumper-to-bumper traffic of Downtown LA, then once he escapes, he’s in the suburbs, where traffic flows differently and there are a whole host of different conditions to look out for. If that driver goes further north, he’ll find himself driving through the mountains. If it’s winter, there is a solid chance those mountains will be covered in snow. Over the mountains, and suddenly that driver is in rural California, with farmland as far as the eye can see. How long did it take him to get there from when he walked out his door downtown? Maybe an hour and a half, two hours if traffic was bad.
California has a lot of dense population centers, like Los Angeles and San Francisco, but it’s also a state with a lot of land taken up by suburbs, and miles upon miles of farmland. The terrain varies from the flatlands to forests to mountains to beaches, sometimes all in the same city. This means California drivers have to learn how to drive in all those conditions. Despite the clichés about Californians in the rain and their apparent lack of consideration for other drivers, if you find yourself driving in an area or terrain you’re not familiar with, you really want a Californian.