Driving tips for Australian’s driving in Los Angeles.

I’m currently sitting in a nice little cafe in Los Angeles that I read about on the co-working wiki. I decided that since I was in LA and had a car that I would head out here to check it out – which leads me onto my tips for Australian’s planning on driving in Los Angeles.

  1. Get a GPS. If this is the first time driving in the USA (it is for me) then you definately don’t want to be looking at a map on your lap whilst trying to drive on the wrong (errr. right) side of the road.
  2. Hug the left line and avoid drift. In right hand drivers we tend to hug the right hand side of the road. Unfortunately in the USA this would make you straddle two lanes (at best) or mount the curb or side swipe another car (at worst). You need to really concentrate on hugging the centre line of the road (on your left).
  3. Take your time. I know its hard (people can sometimes be impatient, but as you approach an intersection where you need to turn consciously figure out which lane you are turning into.
  4. Practice with Grand Theft Auto. So I am only half serious here. But there are quite a few car games here that are set in the USA and give you a first person view of what it is like in the car. The advantage of this technique is that if you ever end up in the rough end of town you’ll know how to handle yourself 🙂

Getting around LA isn’t too hard but I definitely wouldn’t want to do it whilst trying to read a paper map and drive on a side of the road that I am not used to. In the end I headed off to Frys to get another GPS because my Navman didn’t have the USA maps loaded and for the same price I could get them I could get a whole new GPS and save myself the hassle of downloading and migrating the map data.


8 thoughts on “Driving tips for Australian’s driving in Los Angeles.

  1. John

    Id have to concur strongly (can u do that?) with point 3, especially when it comes to roundabouts, it the first few days i found it helps to tell myself out loud which lane i was exiting the roundabout from, you might look silly but you would look even sillier heading up the worng side of the road.

  2. misslovell

    So you’re an Aussie and you’re hear in LA… I actually have something I have to do – I need to figure out what interests Aussie’s have in Los Angeles(what to do/see/taste) and what are something they can see here that is not in Australia?

  3. Mitch Denny Post author

    Hi misslovell,

    I’m not sure If I am really a good sample. I didn’t spend that much time in LA and most of it was just doing some remote working. I really enjoyed getting out of the city via Highway 1.

  4. AustraUSA

    Great tips Mitch. The GPS is also our number one tip. It sure helps if you need to get out of dodge ~ quick. Making a wrong turn off a freeway can land you in another world! Cheers,

  5. Webby

    Feel the right, be the right is my mantra when driving in the USA. For turns at intersections,
    “left turn loose, right turn is tight” is another. Honestly, I ‘ve had more agro driving in Melbourne than in thousands of miles behind the wheel in the USA. Buy a GPS, and a road map/atlas is always good for the “big picture” when planning the next days adventure. Google maps is your friiend too. WAY bettter than adding the miles up from a road atlas!

    I find my self just getting into “USA mode” when over there. Perhaps it’s because I drive a LHD
    car here in Australia.

    I’ve found 99.9 % of Americans to be really, really friendly people, who genunely seem to like Aussies.
    One thing you’ll find the same is toyota camry drivers. They are still the same, dawdling, unable to use the indicators, mere passengers with a steering wheel in front of them. Who cannot move the steering wheel without hitting the brakes first.
    Some things are the same the world over.

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