Cars / Driving, San Diego
One of the things I love in San Diego is the traffic.
First of all it is great for a large city. It is easy to get around and you can be almost anywhere in 20 minutes or less.
The second thing is you can change lanes here pretty much whenever you need to. I have lived here almost 3 months and there has been only one time where someone didn't let me in when I needed to change lanes. This is because with our highway system, we need to change lanes often and we want others to return the favor AND it is part of the easy-going San Diego nature. So don't panic if you need to change lanes, put on your blinker and someone will let you in.
Please do the same for us locals when you visit too....it is expected here and the rule not the exception.
Although the CHP/police have been cracking down on speeders a bit more than in years past, Californians like to drive fast, and generally consider the speed limit more of a guideline. Given the fact that there are so many of us compared to the number of cops, you can generally speed without too much risk of getting caught, especially if you only do 7-10 MPH over the limit.
The exception to this is if it is a peak traffic time and you are just going the flow of traffic. Then, it's a lot easier to get away with speeding.
If you find yourself driving in the fast lane on the freeway (the left-most lane), be prepared to drive at speeds of between 75 and 85 MPH (depending on traffic), or you WILL get lots of dirty looks, some rude gestures, angry drivers zipping around you, etc. When in doubt, YIELD to the faster moving cars behind you and PLEASE get over! If you are uncomfortable driving this quickly, then PLEASE stay in the slow lane.
If you don't drive the speed of traffic, you WILL get people pissed off. There is nothing that a CA driver hates more than getting stuck behind a slow driver who doesn't understand the unwritten rules of the road.
I don't mean to offend anyone who visits here, but if you just keep right (if you're not comfortable driving the flow of traffic) everyone will be MUCH happier.
I've posted a link to some of the SD traffic/speed traps for your info as well...
When I finally rented my Buick Century I paid attention to its licence plate: California 4ZZH006. What did it mean?
Hmm... nothing more that the car was registered in the state of California. Am I wrong? In other words - is it possible to know location (county, city) of registration the car from the car licence plate?
E-mail me if you know the answer, please.
Follow the links below, please.
Most drivers drive alone in their cars. Does it mean that each person has/use its own car?
Hmmm... they support driving with at least 2 persons (including a driver) inside a car - they built special lane (or even 2 lanes) on I-5 called "carpool" on a freeway just for such cars. But sometimes my car was the only one on this lane.
From Chris (balfor):
Americans like their independence and that is reflected in our commuting habits as well. We don't want to carpool to work because we might want to go somewhere else after work. We won't 95% of the time, but we MIGHT want to.
And yes, typically if you have 2 adults in a house (husband and wife) then there will be at least 2 cars. Perhaps even 3 or 4 vehicles. (for example - you both have a car to commute to work, you have a pickup truck for any projects or work that you might need and a convertible for the weekends in the summer. 4 cars for 2 people. Quite a lot different than in Europe.) Oh, and you will frequently find the carpool lanes are also called HOV lanes (for high occupancy vehicles) and are reserved for vehicles like busses, carpools (even if it's only 2 people), cars with alternate fuels like natural gas and motorcycles.
Thank you Chris.
I rented my Buick Centry in San Diego and I drove over 11,500 miles this car hehe.
I like American car licence plates.
Look at my licence plate on my picture - very simple.
Hmm... where is this car from? From California - no doubts about it, but is it from San Diego?
The only really crowded place (except... discount stores and pandas in ZOO) I found in San Diego was the exhibition of the old cars including trucks (they were on sale) somewhere in Gaslamp Quarter.
Hmm... I had to ask people busy seeing the cars to let me take this picture.
Be prepared for heavy heavy traffic so when going places put aside lots of time to get there during peak traffic hours. California is a 'driving culture' place and you have to have a car to go anywhere.
Remember, this IS California, and people drive very fast, and you need to really watch for the exit signs and numbers. Most major ones are well marked and give you time to get in the proper lane, but some definitely are not. So know where you're going and how to get there and it will make driving a much more pleasant experience.(Sorry if I offend any Californians!) BUT on the up side, I feel VERY safe in San Diego, especially in the Pacific Beach/Mission Bay Blvd area, I have no problem walking alone on the beach at night, as it is all fairly brightly lit from the hotels, and I have not encountered any 'scary-type people' yet, which is a real plus for a female travelling alone!!