Freeway Driving Blues

Discussion in 'Disneyland (California)' started by keishashadow, Apr 26, 2005.

  1. keishashadow

    keishashadow Proud Redhead...yes, I have some bananas!

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    The main reason I'm hesitant to visit DL is the infamous freeways. We live near Pittsburgh and do rent a car in Orlando. My DH (who has a CDL) isn't too crazy about driving in the LA area either. The older I get, the more anxious I become when navigating strange, multi-lane roads (what a chicken!).

    We have to fly into LAX. I'm aware that there are plenty of transportation options available to DL from the airport. But, we'd like to explore the general area beyond DL for a few days, either the beach area or Las Vegas. Would we realistically need to rent a car or are there additional transportation options available?
     
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  3. Mary Jo

    Mary Jo Techarita Moderator

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    There are other transportation options, however, you really have to evaluate what is more important to you -- not driving and hiring a taxi or limo, or taking busses that will add to your travel time (if you miss a bus, you have to catch the next one, etc.), or the flexibility and freedom that renting a car will give you - put stuff in the trunk, won't have to lug it around, pick up and go when you want, etc.

    Good luck in whichever decision you make.
     
  4. only1mouse

    only1mouse Waiting to sail on the Dream!

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    I can relate. Driving in LA does make me nervous (I always joke with my boss that flying used to make me nervous, now it's driving the LA freeways), but most of the time when I fly in I'm by myself. I've gotten used to it now and know the route I need to take as if I'd lived their all my life.

    If I have a person helping me navigate it's much better and driving during the day helps as well.

    It is a very tough decision, and Mary Jo has some great points. You will have more flexibility with your travel plans if you do rent a car.

    you'll have a great time, I'm sure, with whatever decision you make.
     
  5. dis-happy

    dis-happy DIS Veteran

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    I'm from So. Calif., transplanted to the East coast. We go back to visit regularly, and one thing you should know: California freeways are the easiest, most navigable freeways ever designed, with plenty of lanes to move cars along, large and frequent signs telling you where you are and which lane to get into to change to a different route; the on-ramps and off-ramps are long-- giving you plenty of time to get up to speed and merge. Also, the lanes tend to be wide, with good sized shoulders on both side, and well lit at night. Yes, there is traffic and tie-ups, but considering the number of people getting from here to there, they are pretty efficient. If you are travelling with your family, there are a number of places that you can take car-pool lanes and by-pass the worst of the traffic.

    After living in the DC suburbs, and having driven through Atlanta a few times, I MISS those So. Cal. freeways!

    Don't be afraid--you'll do fine. If you get a chance, pick up a map at AAA before your trip and get a feel for which way the freeways run. Disneyland is easily accessed from I-5. LAX has it's own freeway that leads straight into it. You will enjoy you car--there is so much to see and experience there. HTH
     
  6. got2gp

    got2gp Mouseketeer

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    I have to agree with everyone else. If you can handle east coast traffic, you can handle LA. Just be sure to bring your patience and a good map. The Thomas Guides are some of the best maps around, but a bit on the pricey side. You'll be just fine!
     
  7. carinv

    carinv Mouseketeer

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    We are coming from Australia in Nov. and I am already anxious about the driving, but not about the freeways, just about driving on the other side of the road!!!
    Not that i will probably have to do it mind you, that is DH's job and he is not too worried.
    I wish we could change our itinery, but we are stuck with LA first up. What a baptism of fire!!!
    Woohooo..only 6 more months to go!!
     
  8. spendleb

    spendleb Mouseketeer

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    We are the same coming from the UK (tomorrow!) but I am sure we will be fine, takes a couple of hours to get used to driving on the other side of the road but then it's OK, we are collecting the car and going straight to Palm Springs for the day!
     
  9. keishashadow

    keishashadow Proud Redhead...yes, I have some bananas!

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    Thanks for your input.
     
  10. familyoffive

    familyoffive DIS Veteran

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    No doubt about it, you will experience traffic. Plan plenty of time to get to places. We have some of the world's slowest moving freeways. One driver hitting brakes at 5:00am will create every driver following to brake as late as 10:00am. Unlike the east coast where the roads have names, most of the routes here have numbers. We were at DL last week and our house is supposed to be a 1hour 20 minute drive, ours was 4 hours! No wrecks, no roadwork, just Los Angeles area traffic. In our own experiences since moving from the Cincy area, try and use the 5 as opposed to the 101. We live NW of Anaheim and find that the 5 has more congestion than the 101. As long as you plan for extra driving time, avoid rush hour and realize that you cannot cut across 6 highway lanes to get to an exit in the last 1/4 mile, you should be fine. Remember to get several routes to places you intend to visit, as our traffic can be an attraction all by itself. :moped: :moped:
     
  11. quiltymom

    quiltymom <font color=darkorchid>Ears to you, kids!<br><font

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    Honestly, believe what everyone else has said! I have lived in the DC area for 15 years after growing up in CA, and I long for the California freeway system. The drivers there are more courteous (they actually let you MERGE when you signal!) and the roads are well marked. Here are my tips.

    1. Don't drive in the far left lane of traffic, unless you need it for an exit. The traffic speed moves faster, so keeping in the other lanes will be less stressful if you don't know where you are going. The left lanes also may turn into carpool lanes which are wonderful when you need them. You can only enter and exit them at designated points, or receive a $271 fine (however they came up with that strange amount, I don't know!). If you're not sure about them, don't use them.

    2. Since the far right lanes usually have the cars merging on and off the freeway, there's a more uneven flow of traffic there. Traffic is more steady in the 2nd lane.

    3. Get a map beforehand, study it and mark out your route. Have the person in the passenger seat be the navigator. While on the freeways, you will get at least a 3 mile warning for each exit, and from which lane, so as long as you're paying attention, you'll be fine. Also, the car rental agencies (at least the major ones!) have maps and will give you directions to where you need to go.

    4. Enjoy the experience! Just think of the stories you can tell everyone when you get back home! :smooth:
     
  12. babysharknc

    babysharknc Earning My Ears

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    It is not the freeways it is the pace, slow, slow, slow that is so frustrating. Just don't be in a rush, schedule enough time and you should be fine.
    We were there during Easter and the Traffic was terrible only due to the fact that it seemed everyone in LA was on the freeway.

    Have a great time.
    :goodvibes
     
  13. keishashadow

    keishashadow Proud Redhead...yes, I have some bananas!

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    My personal nightmare is the Washington, DC beltway, where everyone seems to be going 80 mph, all the time, while changing lanes repeatedly? Is it correct to infer that the LA freeways are basically just crowded and slow moving?
     
  14. HaleyB

    HaleyB I am not a robot

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    Yes crowded and slow much of the time (but you don't have to drive in rush hour). And really if you have ever tried to get into New York City by car, you have seen much worse traffic. The freeways are numbered and they often give a city name instead of a direction (so Pamona is North if you are on the 57). However, the exits are well marked so if you have a good map you can figure it out. Ask locals how to go because there are often multi-lane surface streets that can save you some time. They can also help you work out the whole city name instead of direction thing.
     
  15. roscodog

    roscodog Mouseketeer

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    This post takes me back to my younger days when I went to Disneyland. Right now, getting off the freeways and into the parking structure is a breeze with it's own dedicated on and off ramps into the freeway. Before , you had to navigate surface streets before getting onto the freeway. There was always a traffice jam getting out of the parking lot and then a traffic jam getting onto the freeway.
     
  16. msteddom

    msteddom <font color=blue>We always wait in line in Califor

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    If you're really nervous about finding your way around rent a car with a navigation system. They are a godsend in unfamiliar cities!


    Melissa
     
  17. dis-happy

    dis-happy DIS Veteran

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    I was just thinking the same thing!! It would be worth a few extra dollars per day to have a voice telling you where to exit, etc.
     
  18. Mary Jo

    Mary Jo Techarita Moderator

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    What a great tip! My cousin got one of these when she came out from Phoenix, and it really was a help to her & her husband.
     
  19. Pir8girl

    Pir8girl Mouseketeer

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    I too was raised in So. Cal. and when I come back for a visit I always try and use the car pool lane if possible. I took me 12 minutes to get from Newport Beach to Disneyland using the lane! Of course I couldn't figure out how to get to the DLH once I got off the freeway since I hadn't been to DL since DCA!
     
  20. MrsMork

    MrsMork Proud Old Geezer

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    I agree that the So Cal freeways are very well marked and easy to navigate. We love the carpool lanes, especially in Orange County. :moped:
     
  21. carinv

    carinv Mouseketeer

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    They sound like a good idea.
    Could someone please explain the rules of the car pool lanes for a foreigner please??? :confused3
    Ta muchly
     

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