L.A. has rightfully earned a reputation for being difficult to navigate. This is especially true if you’re unfamiliar with the area. Between the huge six-lane freeways, confusing carpool lanes, and aggressive drivers, it’s no wonder some people have trouble getting around. Whether you’re in Los Angeles for business or on vacation, it pays to know how the locals drive. Here are ten top tips for getting around in your rental car when you’re visiting Los Angeles.
Plan for Traffic When Visiting Los Angeles
It’s a safe bet that you’ll get stuck in traffic at least once during your trip to Los Angeles. L.A. traffic can be unpredictable, so always leave for your destination early. Allow an extra 15 to 20 minutes to be safe. If you plan on using a freeway around the time work gets out, plan for it to take significantly longer than expected. Also, a lot of road work is performed late at night to avoid compounding traffic during the day. This can cause gridlocked traffic at unusual times.
Drive On Surface Streets
If you’re not going far, avoid using the freeways. This will take a lot of pressure off your trip and you’ll probably get to your destination faster. The city of Los Angeles stretches over 469 square miles. Freeways are best for traveling across the city, not for local driving. If you’re trying to go to the store, use surface streets instead. This will also give you a chance to get to know Los Angeles like the locals do. You’ll discover more places that you would’ve if you only went to the biggest attractions in the county.
Use A GPS
For anyone used to city driving, L.A.’s grid is just like any other city. However, that doesn’t mean visitors can get around without guidance. It’s always a good idea to bring a GPS whenever you visit a new city. It makes traveling more convenient, and it takes a lot of stress off the driver. Most smartphones have GPS capabilities, so you’re never too far off course if you bring your phone. Be sure to set up your phone properly before you get on the road. Using your smartphone while driving is against the law in California and can result in a hefty ticket.
Look Out for Los Angeles Pedestrians
Even though the freeways are large and confusing, the surface streets can be just as chaotic. Along with the regular traffic, you’ll have to look out for pedestrians. Even though Los Angeles is one of the largest cities in America, many locals elect to walk to their destination. Always be on the lookout for people crossing the roads or standing in the streets. In California, it’s a law that drivers must yield to all pedestrians in the roadway. Keep an eye out for cyclists and skateboarders as well. They tend to weave in and out of traffic.
Get Parking Assistance
Unless you want to pay through the nose to park in a garage every day, get used to fitting into tight parking spots on city streets. One of the most essential skills of a L.A. driver is parallel parking. Many newer cars have features that can assist with parking as well. If you’re not comfortable with parallel parking, rent a car with parking assistance. A vehicle equipped with a backup camera will save you countless headaches when you finally find a good spot.
Get Air Conditioning
Los Angeles can have over 300 sunny days a year. While sunny weather is a major reason for visiting Los Angeles, the Sun will also turn your car into a sauna. This makes a vehicle with reliable air conditioning essential. If you want to go one step further, get a car with tinted windows. Even a pair of sunglasses are an enormous help during the summer months.
Renting a Car in Los Angeles Soon?
At Value Rental Car we want to help you get to your destination quickly and safely. We offer clean and affordable rental cars for local driving in LA, with complimentary pickup and drop off at LAX. If you’re a college student, we want to help you get on the road. We rent to drivers under the age of 21, and we offer cash and debit card car rentals. Let us know what we can do to help.