Saturday, July 25, 2015

I-10 in California near Desert Center OPEN and FLOWING

As of Friday afternoon, lanes have been open to two-way traffic at the site of last week's bridge collapse near Desert Center on I-10.
I-10 near Desert Center OPEN and FLOWING (Courtesy Google Maps)

According to Google Maps and verified by several drivers through the site, traffic is surprisingly moving well.  Through the closure zone, speed limits are reduced to 45 MPH which help funnel the traffic from both directions into the 2 westbound lanes being used for through traffic.

Expect up to 30 minutes in delay, but at this point, it is not worth taking long alternate routes unless something else drastically changes.  Bon voyage!

Friday, July 24, 2015

I-10 in California (Desert Center) reopened

This afternoon, Caltrans and CHP re-opened the I-10 to two-way traffic, with one lane open in each direction.  Through the closure zone, the speed limit will be 45 MPH.

Current Conditions on I-10 near Desert Center, Friday Afternoon, 7/24/15 (Source: Google Maps)

Expect delays of at least 30-60 minutes.  Alternate routes are still advised (see past blog entries for details)


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Southern California Traffic: I-10 Closure - AZ to CA ALTERNATES

This week, a huge link of the Interstate Highway system has been washed away, the I-10 in Southern California's low desert.  The "Tex Wash" eastbound bridge, about 4 miles west of Desert Center, collapsed.

UPDATED Friday 7/24, 1:35AM PDT

Caltrans officially has the stretch closed through August but is rumored to be "opening the westbound side to 2-way traffic" at noon today.  Stretches of the I-10 several miles adjacent to the closure will have speed limits reduced to 45 MPH, as all 3 lanes of traffic will have to funnel into only ONE for each direction of traffic.

I-10 CLOSED between AZ and CA - How do I get around the closure? ALTERNATES
    • This does not necessarily mean the Interstate will be functioning at its full capacity.  The bridge that collapsed served Eastbound traffic.  When officials say they will have "two-way" traffic open, the best they will be able to do now will be to alternate traffic among the existing lanes on the functional bridge.  This means that at least twice as many vehicles will be travelling through the same space, PLUS it takes time to merge all that traffic into those lanes.  This, in my estimation will cause a MINIMUM one hour delay, and depending on time of day and the volume of traffic, could be up to several hours.
    • The actual boundaries of the closure (and the only information Caltrans really provides in its list) are from Chiriaco Summit to the Junction of CA-177 in Riverside County.[due to a washout].
  • Make sure you check the CHP Incident page for updates (Make sure you click on "Indio" on upper left dragdown) for the latest information on the closure directly from CHP, as well as reports of any accidents/incidents in the area that may affect the alternate routes. 
  • I still highly recommend avoiding the site of the closure, as traffic will still be delayed at least one hour through the closure zone.  ALTERNATES listed here:
There are several ways to circumvent this closure, but none of them are really alternates in the sense that you normally consider a "frontage" road of a main highway a good alternate to the "heavy thoroughfair." Basically, you have to choose between going 100 miles out of your way, or trekking through 2-lane state highways in the middle of the summer desert.

ALSO keep in mind that it depends where you want to go.. .Phoenix to Los Angeles is a far different trip than Flagstaff to San Diego, or Orange County to Laughlin.  You really have to familiarize yourself with the maps and determine the best way for you to go.

Aside from the hour or so of planning and no matter what Google Maps says, you'll want to plan AT LEAST 2 hours longer than whatever your normal trip is.  Every road will have increased volume because there will be 20,000 vehicles a day that need to filter onto them.

All alternates are listed FROM Phoenix (Arizona) to California.  Read from bottom up (and reverse the directions) if you are leaving from California. 
  • The shortest distance route between Downtown Los Angeles and Downtown Phoenix is 
  • NORMALLY 374 miles long and takes just under 6 hours with no traffic (between 10pm and 5am)*
  • NOW (current available open route) is 408 miles long and takes 6 hours, 40 minutes with "no traffic," according to Google Maps:
    • From Phoenix - take I-10 West (102 miles)
    • Exit Vicksurg, take AZ-72 West (41 miles)
    • Take US-95 North (12 miles)
    • take CA-62 West (57 miles, stay right then continue 93 miles)
    • Merge with I-10 West (continue for 97 miles)
    • These are state highways, where the speed limit is usually 55 and sometimes 65 MPH.  Some areas only have one lane in one direction.  They are usually well maintained, but the slower speeds and slower volume will create more possibility of accidents and delays.
    • Caltrans lists 2 planned closures on CA-62, which may exacerbate traffic.
    • A modified version of this alternate is I-10 West, CA-177 North, CA-62 West, which adds about 13 miles to the trip and will probably be more delayed, as this is the most popular alternate being offered my media outlets.
  • Lesser-offered alternate:  440 miles, 7.5-8 hours, south side of Salton Sea:
    • From Phoenix - take I-10 West
    • In Blythe, take CA-78 South to CA-86 North
    • This will probably be the lesser-traveled of the alternates.  Officials are most likely not offering it as a viable alternative because these roads pass through smaller towns and may not be able to handle heavy volumes of traffic.
  • AZ-60 (through Wickenburg) to I-40 west, I-15 South to I-10 (Through Flagstaff and Barstow)- approx. 8.5-9 hours, but most likely the least-traveled alternate because it is so far out of the way.
  • I-8 to CA-111 North to CA-86 North (7.5-8.5 hours) - susceptible to accidents on two-lane state highways - Also there is a Border Patrol Checkpoint on I-8 which will slow things down.
  • I-8 to I-15 or I-5 north (El Centro through San Diego County) (7.5-8.5 hours)
*While overnight hours have the lowest volume of traffic, they also are the usual times for construction and maintenance work, and are usually the times of high speeds and severe accidents.

Keep in mind that all time estimates assume travel from Downtown Phoenix to Downtown Los Angeles.  Leaving from outlying areas (Mesa, Peoria), and going to outlying areas (Orange County, San Fernando Valley) will augment the drive time, particularly during rush hours.

Please comment with questions or additional input that would be helpful to navigate around the Southern California I-10 Closure between AZ and CA


Wednesday, July 1, 2015

LA Traffic Expert: Holiday Traffic Helper - July 4th Weekend

Gain a little more piece of mind getting out of LA this weekend…

Every holiday weekend, there’s some national study that comes out that cites we’ll be sitting in traffic 2-3 times heavier than usual.  But that’s all it is – a study.  Instead, I offer a bit of USEFUL information for your drive in Southern California, whether you’re headed to the desert or mountains to visit family, or out of state to Vegas or “the River” for a getaway.

July 4th weekend ranks among the top getaway holidays, perhaps only second to Thanksgiving weekend, which is usually only worse because Socal’s rainy season is unofficially underway then.  Summer time (in “traffic terms.” The time between Memorial Day and Labor Day) usually sees lighter volume on Socal freeways because of vacationing students as well as workers, so that is one plus.

This year, July 4th falls on a Saturday.  Generally, on holiday weekends, when the holiday is on a Monday (Memorial Day, Labor Day), Thursday becomes the “prime” traffic day to leave town, often creating traffic patterns worse than those found on a “typical” Friday.  Since this year’s holiday is on Saturday, it is a fair assumption that the peak traffic day will be Wednesday.

Typical Friday Afternoon Drive traffic patterns on Los Angeles/Ventura County Freeways (courtesy Google maps)

This map shows the typical traffic patterns in Southern California on a Friday afternoon.  While it appears as if things can’t get worse (there is SO much red!), on “holiday traffic” days, the actual quanitified delay can be more that twice as long.  Instead of average speeds of 10-15 mph (that’s what the dark red stands for), you can expect average speeds of 5-10 mph in many places.
In case you are geographically or spatially challenged, I have broken down each area and freeway so that you can get a better idea of how long the drive will take you.  If you need to leave on Wednesday, bring your favorite audio book or game to play with your kids in the car while driving.  While a safe alternative might be to leave Thursday or Friday, you’ll still be sitting in a fair amount of traffic then too.

Listed below are the approximate heaviest traffic spots on each freeway, with approximate drive times (normal drive, typical traffic drive, holiday drive – respectively):

(Key – NB/Northbound, SB/Southbound, EB/Eastbound, WB/Westbound)

“Outbound Drives “ – Los Angeles/Ventura County

  • 101 (Ventura Freeway) – NB (WB) from 23 to Johnson Dr – 30 mins, 55 mins, 85 mins.
  • 405 (San Diego Freeway) – NB from LAX to 101 – 20 mins, 60 mins, 90 mins.
  • 405 (San Diego Freeway) – NB from 405 to 5 – 5 mins, 20 mins, 40 mins.
    5 (Golden State Freeway) – NB from San Fernando Mission Bl to 14 – 10 mins, 25 mins, 45 mins.
  • 5 (Golden State Freeway) – NB from 10/60/101 (East LA Interchange) to 118 – 25 mins, 50 mins, 80 mins.
  • 405 (San Diego Freeway) – SB from 101 to LAX – 15 mins, 45 mins, 90 mins.
  • 405 (San Diego Freeway) – SB from 105 to 710 – 20 mins, 40 mins, 60 mins.
  • 101 (Ventura Freeway) – EB/WB between Parkway Calabasas and 170/134 – 30 mins, 60 mins, 80 mins.
  • 10 (Santa Monica Freeway) – EB/WB between 405 and 10/60/5/101 (East LA Interchange) – 20 mins, 45 mins, 70 mins.
  • 210 (Foothill Freeway) – EB from 134 to 57 – 25 mins, 60 mins, 90 mins. (NB 605 bunches up approaching the 210 merge as well)
  • 10 (San Bernardino Freeway) – EB from 710 to 57 – 20 mins, 45 mins, 80 mins.
  • 60 (Pomona Freeway) – EB from 5 to 57 – 30 mins, 60 mins, 90 mins.
  • 101 (Hollywood Freeway) – NB/SB between 134/170 and 110 – 15 mins, 40 mins, 70 mins.
  • 5 (Santa Ana Freeway) – NB/SB between 10/60/101 (East La Interchange) and Valley View Av – 20 mins, 45 mins, 80 mins.
  • 105 (Glenn Anderson Fwy) – EB from Crenshaw to 605 – 15 mins, 30 mins, 50 mins.
  • 91 (Gardena/Artesia Fwy) – EB from 110 to 605 – 15 mins, 35 mins, 55 mins.  
  • 605 (San Gabriel River Fwy) - NB/SB between 60 and 105 - 15 mins, 35 mins, 50 mins. 
  • 710 (Long Beach Fwy) - SB from 5 to 105 - 5 mins, 15 mins, 25 mins.

Typical Friday afternoon traffic patterns - Orange County/Inland Empire (courtesy Google Maps)

"Outbound" Drives - Orange County/Inland Empire (San Bernardino/Riverside Counties)

  • 57 (Orange Fwy) NB from 91 to 60 - 15 mins, 45 mins, 90 mins.
  • 55 (Costa Mesa Fwy) NB from 405 to 22 - 10 mins, 25 mins, 40 mins
  • 91 (Riverside Fwy) EB from 57 to 15 - 25 mins, 75 mins, 120 mins.
  • 405 (San Diego Fwy) NB from Jamboree to Brookhurst - 15 mins, 30 mins, 45 mins.
  • 5 (Santa Ana Fwy) NB from Culver Dr to 22 - 15 mins, 35 mins, 50 mins.
  • 5 (San Diego Fwy) NB from 405 merge (El Toro Y) to Oso Pkwy - 5 mins, 20 mins, 30 mins.
  • 5 (San Diego Fwy) SB from PCH (Dana Point) to Camp Pendleton - 30 mins, 60 mins, 80 mins.
  • 15 (Ontario Fwy) NB from 210 to 138 - 20 mins, 45 mins, 90 mins.
  • 15 (Ontario Fwy) SB from 10 to 15 - 15 mins, 30 mins, 45 mins.
  • 15 (Ontario Fwy) SB from 91 to Weirick Rd - 10 mins, 20 mins, 30 mins.
  • 215 NB/SB between 60 and 10 - 10 mins, 25 mins, 35 mins
  • 10 (San Bernardino Fwy) EB from 57 to 215 - 25 mins, 45 mins, 70 mins
  • 60 (Pomona Fwy) EB from 57 to 15 - 15 mins, 35 mins, 50 mins
  • 60 (Pomona Fwy) EB from Rubidoux to 215 (Moreno Valley) - 15 mins, 30 mins, 45 mins.

"Outbound" Drives - Deserts and Inland Valleys (Kern/San Bernardino/Santa Barbara Counties)

  • 101 NB from Bates Rd (Carpinteria) to Downtown Santa Barbara - 20 mins, 40 mins, 55 mins.
  • 58 EB approaching Kramer Junction (Hwy 395 - stop light) - usually no delay, up to 5 mile delay on holidays
  • 15 NB - between 58 (Barstow) and 247 (Baker) - 70 mins, 100 mins, 120 mins.
  • 15 NB - between 247 (Baker) and Primm (Stateline/NV) - 60 mins, 90 mins, 120 mins.

RETURNING drives - 

Since July 4th falls on a Saturday this year, returning traffic may likely build up on Sunday.  Approximate travel times below are normal traffic, Sunday traffic patterns, and "holiday" Sunday traffic patterns, respectively:

  • 101 SB from Downtown Santa Barbara to 126 (Ventura) - 60 mins, 90 mins, 120 mins.
  • 5 SB from 126 to 14 (Newhall Pass) - 15 mins, 30 mins, 45 mins.
  • 15 SB from Stateline to Baker - 60 mins, 90 mins, 140 mins (often traffic is exacerbated, but not caused by the Agricultural Inspection station about 25 miles outside of Barstow)
  • 15 SB from Baker to 58 (Barstow) - 75 mins, 100 mins, 130 mins.
  • 10 WB from Banning City limits to 60 split - 20 mins, 40 mins, 60 mins.
  • 5 NB from Oceanside City limits through Camp Pendleton - 30 mins, 60 mins, 90 mins.
  • 91 WB from 15 to Coal Cyn - 10 mins, 30 mins, 60 mins.

This article brought to you by SoCalTraffic Expert, Randy Keith
Randy Keith has 10 years of traffic reporting experience from the air and studio.
Please send comments/feedback/corrections to

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Los Angeles Traffic Reports: Socal Traffic Expert details LA's Radio Stations

While every major city has radio traffic reports, it is Los Angeles that seems to personify the image of the “traffic helicopter,” particularly thanks to the slew of televised “police” chases in the last few decades. 

Most Angelenos’ first reaction when hitting unexpected traffic is to tune to their favorite news station.  Each one has (with few exceptions) had relatively the same content format for decades, and no matter how the personality lineup changes, the frequency of traffic reports doesn’t.

Drawn from experience both listening to and reporting on each of these radio stations for over a decade, here are the author’s personal recommendations for each:

·         KNX 1070 AM
·         KFWB 980 AM
·         KFI 640 AM
·         KABC 790 AM

Local stations in surrounding suburban markets provide traffic reports as well.  Many times, these stations are much more reliable for localized information and expertise than the “big” L.A. stations:

·         KHTS 1220 AM (Santa Clarita)
·         KVEN 1450 AM (Ventura/Santa Barbara)
·         KHAY 100.7 FM (Ventura)
·         KFRG 99.9 FM (San Bernardino/Riverside)
·         KHWY 98.1/99.5 FM (Barstow/High Desert)

KNX 1070 AM

·         Radio Station Format: News (24 hours)
·         Geographic Area of Station Signal:  Los Angeles, Orange, Ventura, Santa Barbara, Kern, San Bernardino, Riverside, San Diego counties
·         Geographic Area of Traffic Report coverage:  Los Angeles, Orange, Ventura, San Bernardino, Riverside counties.
·         Frequency of traffic reports: Every 10 minutes, “on the 5s,” :05, :15, :25, :35, :45, :55
·         Exception to regular traffic report programming:  Sunday mornings 5:30am-5:58am, during any re-broadcast of “60 Minutes” or Breaking News
·         Airborne Coverage:  2 drive-time, 1 midday
·         Pros:  Drive-time reporters produce their own reports, usually get information faster than stations that use information fed from a producer’s desk
·         Cons: KNX covers such a large geographic area that it is oftentimes difficult to have a truly comprehensive traffic report.

KNX is always the superior traffic reporting resource.  I don’t say this just because my voice was on their airwaves for nearly 10 years….  I saw in action, both on and off-the-clock, how KNX reports are more accurate than any other station at least 80% of the time.  KNX traffic reporters have some of the most loyal bases of “tipsters” – a term actually coined by KNX in the 80s and stolen by seemingly every broadcast media in the Southland.  Tipsters, eyewitness drivers, usually provide more accurate information than overburdened law enforcement officers, especially when they are regular commuters very familiar with their routes.


·         Radio Station Format: News/Talk
·         Geographic Area of Station Signal:  Los Angeles, Orange, parts of San Bernardino and Riverside counties
·         Geographic Area of Traffic Report coverage:  Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino, Riverside counties.
·         Frequency of traffic reports: Every 10 minutes, “on the 1s,” :01, :11, :21, :31, :41, :51
·         Exception to regular traffic report programming:  During Select talk shows
·         Airborne Coverage: 1 drive-time, 1 midday
·         Pros:  KFWB has the weakest signal of all AM-News stations in Los Angeles, so reporters don’t usually bother mentioning freeways outside of their coverage area.  This allows *slightly* more time to devote to pressing incidents “closer to home.”
·         Cons: Reporters (with only the exception of diligent and experienced drive-time reporters) read information fed from a producer’s screen, which can include information up to 30 minutes old.
In the traffic reporting world, KFWB is considered the “neighborhood station.”  KFWB will spend an inordinate amount of time covering a surface street tie-up in Hollywood, when KNX might devote the same amount of time to something similar in Riverside or Redlands. During drive-time with airborne coverage, KFWB reports can be as accurate as any other station.  But any other time of the day (particularly overnights), the traffic reporters do not produce their own reports and therefore leave lots of room for error or outdated information.

KFI 640 AM
·         Radio Station Format: Talk
·         Geographic Area of Station Signal:  Los Angeles, Orange, Ventura, Santa Barbara, Kern, San Bernardino, Riverside, San Diego counties (entire western U.S. at night)
·         Geographic Area of Traffic Report coverage:  Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino, Riverside, San Diego counties.
·         Frequency of traffic reports: 4 times per hour, generally at :01, :15, :31, :45
·         Exception to regular traffic reports: Breaking News
·         Airborne Coverage: None
·         Pros:  KFI has a bigger signal than KNX, as it is the only Los Angeles radio station dedicated as an official “Clear Channel” (not the name of the company by the same name, but the designation from the FCC) 50,000 watt station.  Like KNX, KFI reporters use that latitude to report on places far from Los Angeles but affecting motorists on long drives, like on holidays returning from Santa Barbara and coastal cities, the Grapevine and inland valleys, Las Vegas and the high desert, Palm Springs and the low desert and San Diego.
KFI traffic reporters produce their own reports as well, lending to the accuracy of their information
·         Cons: KFI no longer utilizes airborne services (Mike Nolan, “KFI Eye in the Sky” for decades, was the last before being relegated to the studio for the last few years of his career), so reporters generally have to acquire second-hand information.  Most good reporters are keen on “borrowing” information from other sources, including airborne reporters from other stations.  So chances are the information broadcast on KFI is fairly accurate, though not as frequent as KNX and KFWB.  KFI has advertised itself for decades as the “Talk station” (not “News station”) with the “Most frequent traffic reports.”  Unfortunately, talk radio usually only lends itself to four commercial breaks throughout the hour.


·         Radio Station Format: Talk
·         Geographic Area of Station Signal:  Los Angeles, Orange, Ventura, San Bernardino, Riverside counties
·         Geographic Area of Traffic Report coverage:  Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino, Riverside counties.
·         Frequency of traffic reports: 4-5 times per hour, generally at :06, :21, :31, :45, :59
·         Exception to regular traffic report programming: Breaking News, Sporting Simulcasts
·         Airborne Coverage: 1 drive-time
·         Pros:  KABC has airborne coverage during drive-time, albeit for a small window, only 6-9am and 4-6pm.  Reporters on KABC generally talk more slowly than KNX or KFI reporters, allowing better comprehension of content, but usually only mentions 3 or 4 incidents.
·         Cons: At times other than drive-time, KABC reporters are fed information from producers, so can often be reading about closures that have long since cleared (30 minutes or even hours later).  Even the airborne coverage is limited since there is only one chopper, and rarely does the reporter stay at an incident very long.


Stations outside of Greater Los Angeles
that provide Local Traffic

KHTS 1220 AM
·         Radio Station Format: Talk/Music
·         Geographic Area of Station Signal:  Santa Clarita, Antelope Valleys
·         Geographic Area of Traffic Report coverage:  Santa Clarita Valley
·         Frequency of traffic reports: During drivetime, on the “8s:” :08, :18, :28, :38, :48, :58, also during Local Breaking News
·         Airborne Coverage: None
·         Pros:  KHTS is Santa Clarita’s only radio station.  Every once in a while, KNX, KFI and sometimes even KFWB will cover an incident on freeways through Santa Clarita, but rarely ever will they cover surface streets.  KHTS gives dedicated coverage to any incidents, particularly major ones like fires, earthquakes, or major closures, between and including the 5 and 14 freeways in northern Los Angeles County.

How to listen to traffic reports

Most good traffic reports will give a description of an entire typical communte, for example, the 405 from the West side to the San Fernando Valley, 5 from Burbank to OC, 10 from East LA to Pomona.  But in the interest of airtime, detailed descriptions may be impossible and traffic reporters will generally refer to the “typical” slow drive on the 405, which you will better understand when you get familiar with regular traffic patterns as laid out in this guide.

Most often, traffic reports consist of a “laundry list” of incidents, in which the reporter will name all the “trouble spots.”  Good reporters will mention only the most severe spots causing unusual traffic, and will gloss over “minor incidents” that have no bearing on traffic delays.

Once you learn the regular traffic patterns of your typical commutes, you’ll be able to assess whether an “incident” will actually make your commute worse (like a major accident on the 405 in the Sepulveda Pass) or if it can be ignored (like a “Sigalert” on an offramp on a lesser-travelled freeway.

The key thing to remember about a traffic report is that there has to be a lot of information squeezed into a minute, or many times less.  Refer to the individual station guides for the assessment of each.  Also, traffic is always “breaking news” and can change at any moment, no matter how accurate a report is when it is aired.

The only way you know you're getting up-to-the-minute information these days is if you check your Google map.  Even someone who is in an actual helicopter may not be looking at the thing he's talking about (I know I used to do this, check an accident, then report on in 2 minutes later because our plane was running out of fuel! only to find the lanes were closed after I left the scene classic Murphy's Law for an airborne traffic reporter). 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Socal Traffic Expert: 405 and Other LA Freeway Quick Tips

Do you know there is actually a Yelp page for the 405 Freeway?

Like most online sources of information about LA traffic, there are mostly rants and raves and opinions rather than actual useable facts. Socal Traffic Expert strives to HELP the average driver navigate AROUND LA traffic. We like to be part of the solution, not just contribute to what seems to be an ongoing problem.

We asked our Facebook followers... If you drive/have driven in Los Angeles Traffic, what ONE thing would you recommend someone driving in LA for the first time to do/not do?

Gary Klayman (AZ resident, former Inland empire resident):
Dont take your eyes off the road trying to spot celebrities on the freeway or you may end up rear ending one.

Although I have not personally witnessed celebrities on the freeway with my own eyes, the chances of seeing one in Socal is pretty great. I would venture to guess that “rubbernecking” (for East coast transplants) for celebrities is directly correlated to accident rate just as much as “looky-loo” curiosity about an accident on the other side of your freeway. Keep your eyes ahead of you and aware of your surroundings at all times, preferably with a field of vision ¼ mile ahead of you on the freeway.

Bonnie Keith (38 year Socal resident):
Just relax, you'll get there eventually.
Shannon this is a great point. There are very few freeways in Southern California (most notably the Pasadena Freeway (110)) that have older, shorter on and offramps like those on East coast turnpikes and thruways. Most onramps on Socal freeways are metered, which means during drive-time, the entrance traffic is directed with a stop light. If there is no stop light, make sure you use the onramp as what it is meant to be – an ACCELERATION lane where you increase speed to match (as closely as possible) the existing flow of traffic on the “mainline” of the freeway.
    Road rage is a whole chapter... I could include stories like the one on the 170 where a fighting party pulled over and one subsequently hit and ran over the other.

    Nancy Hurst Kirkwood Checking the map ahead of time a good idea - do not freak out if you miss your exit just get off at next one - Move with the flow of traffic
Cutting across lanes is extremely disruptive to the flow of traffic (especially when it is already moving slowly), not to mention extremely dangerous.
    Showbiz Emelle Never EVER get on the 405. That. Is. All. If people ask, I tell them that there is only a two-hour window where the 405 is clear, and it changes daily, so no one can ever know when it actually exists.
This is quite true. Very rarely does the 405 (the hellish section usually referred to is the stretch generally between the 101 and 105) see free-flowing traffic. Certainly not during any daylight hours.

Chuck Rowe Know your alternate routes!

Because of the geography and topgography in California, drivers do not have the luxury of following a grid-type navigation system as in many smaller towns and midwest cities. Sometimes an exit will not lead to a frontage road, or a particular exit will not have an access ramp for returning on the other side of the freeway. Learn as much as you can (preferably using Socal Traffic Expert) about the freeways on your route AHEAD of time.  
    Eileen Clemens Granfors Do not assume your blinker on will help you merge whether because of road work, accident, or the way the stupid road is built.

Never assume ANYTHING on Socal roads. Do not assume people see you or where you are going. Double and triple check before you make a lane change. ALWAYS watch out for motorcycles, as it is legal for motorcyclists to ride in between lanes in California, something that surprises (and usually infuriates) automobile drivers visiting CA for their first time.

Contact #SocalTrafficExpert Randy Keith
Call or Text 480-840-7301