There are two speed limits: one for cars, and one for trucks or anything that's towing something.
Roads in LA suck.
Everyone is going about 5-10 miles per hour slower than they would otherwise be going, because the roads suck.
If you're a car going the car speed limit, you need to be in the slow lane.
If you're a car going the truck speed limit, the trucks will pass you.
Anyone going faster than the next person in front of them in the lane will pass, rather than slow down.
Passing on the right-hand side is preferable to braking.
If you slow down so you can fit into that spot in the lane to the right of you to get out of the way of the two maniacs behind you, even if you put on your turn signal, they will dodge into that spot in the lane to the right so they can pass you because you're going too slow. Both of them. (Uncle Davy was right. "Don't use your turn signal. That just gives them warning of your intentions." Geggy Tah was right too.)
If you can't pass, tailgate.
Road signs in LA give you almost enough time to read them so you know what road you just went onto.
No one honks. Ever.
If you're going up a mountain, you're either in the truck lane and trucks are passing you or getting in your way, or you're in the car lane and the maniacs who have the engines to exceed the speed limit are passing you.
If you try to dodge out of the way of the maniac exceeding the speed limit up the mountain, you'll wind up right in front of the truck who then goes into the lane you just deserted to pass you.
It would be entertaining to watch three trucks try to pass each other going uphill, if it weren't so scary with all the swerving and they-might-crush-me.
My friends who have driven in the DC area will be amused by how laid-back LA drivers are.
In my first 48 hours of California driving, I learned:
Don't try to read the road signs in the dark, since half the letters have lost their reflective coating.
No matter how scary going up the mountain is, coming down the mountain in the dark is worse.
People don't pass you so much if you get out of their way in time.
It is possible to fit your car into that space on the freeway. Really.
Roads in SF are a little better than the ones in LA, but not much.
I'm glad I was taught to drive by an LA driver.
In my first 72 hours of California driving, I learned:
Yes, I can fit my car into that space on the freeway, with room to spare.
That driver needs to get the fuck back in the slow lane.
Mountains really aren't that bad if you're in the correct lane, and don't try to dodge the idiots.
That truck needs to get back in the truck lane, though.
On roads that bad, you don't really *want* to brake, so passing is far preferable.
...if I stay here long enough, I'll become a California driver myself.