Why We Are Driving in Los Angeles

Letters to the Editor: L.A.’s fundamental traffic safety problem? Road users hate each other with a passion. We are not in the habit of sharing our road space in peace.

We are a city of speed traps, red lights, stop signs, stop signs — and sometimes red lights, stop signs and stop lights. We like to run our cars through reds and stop signs in an attempt to speed up traffic.

This habit is not necessarily the result of some sinister plot to make money, but rather the result of a simple desire to do better and, thus, to get a bigger speedometer. When we increase the speed of our vehicles we should also be increasing the distance between us and other vehicles.

We need to understand that when we pull up to stop signs or red lights we actually decrease the traffic flow on the roadway. This in itself is an indication that we are being less safe. (And we are! We are doing that all the time. It’s called driving.)

When motorists speed, there is simply no way to avoid conflict when they are confronted by other vehicles. How is this not a fundamental traffic safety problem in Los Angeles?

And how did we get here to this point?

At one time, there was no road rage in Los Angeles. Everyone drove at a reasonable, sensible speed and everyone in Los Angeles drove safely. And yet we have the type of traffic where the only way to stop a speeding driver at a red light is to pull alongside and get out of the driver’s way. That would never happen in Chicago or Washington, D.C.

Driving in Los Angeles now is like watching a toddler drive, over-speeding and over-accelerating. The only way to correct this is to get out of the vehicle, put your hands on the wheel, turn off the engine and put your head back and take short, easy breaths.

Of course, as we all know, life does not work like that. Cars are simply not designed to be used by the elderly and infirm.

I am old, infirm and in poor health. But as we age, we may change, we may experience medical problems or we may be diagnosed with a serious disease. The person who is driving does not experience the same physical changes as the rest of the population. And there is no way you can put your hands on the wheels

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