East meets West at Sea World Drive.
Name: Brian Lehman Lyng
Car: 2003 Acura TL
How’s your commute? I live in Pacific Beach. It’s about seven miles to downtown, maybe ten miles to SDSU. And it is crazy everywhere I go. There are way too many people going way too fast, way too close to one another for me to be comfortable.
Where are you from? Seattle, Washington. I have to say, traffic isn’t nearly as bad here. At least you’re moving.
What’s your favorite drive in San Diego? My favorite drive? No. There is none. My favorite thing about driving in San Diego is the amount of freeways. They make Seattle and Lake Washington look like a duck pond with how many highways there are.
What’s your favorite Shortcut? I live on Grand [Avenue] in P.B., and I usually come north on I-5, and that exit isn’t bad, but my roommate comes from Clairemont Mesa, and she’s always trying to find shortcuts. When you come into P.B. down Balboa to Garnet, it’s just a clusterf--k. It backs up the freeway, too.
A way to avoid that, coming down Balboa, is to come south of that on Clairemont Drive and come back around on Sea World Drive to Mission Bay Drive. If you’re coming south on I-5, there’s that huge line of cars at the exit. You can get off earlier and go through La Jolla, on Scenic Drive, but that can take a while. You can go further south and take Ingraham or Sea World. If you’re coming up north on I-5 into P.B., you can take I-8 to Ingraham through Mission Beach.
Do you use any real-life shortcuts? Yes, I try to cheat at everything I possibly can. You write that down. I win at all costs.
Oh, and copy and paste! All day, every day. I’m too lazy to type out my own phone number.
Where’s the worst traffic? I-8 merging into I-5. Every time, it reminds me of my accident.
What happened? I was driving on I-8 west, where it merges with I-5, in my purple Corolla. Well, it was purple-gray; a grandma’s car. It was nice. Traffic was slowing down, but somebody didn’t get the memo and came in at almost 80 miles per hour. He ran into an SUV, which hit a Mercedes-Benz, who hit me. I had the most space, but the force propelled me into the back of a Jetta. Every car was totaled except the Jetta. Nobody was seriously injured. I still freak out when there are cars behind me and traffic slows down.
That sounds awful.
A few weeks later, I was driving up to Carlsbad to check out a car to replace that Corolla, on I-5 north, near the La Costa exit. Traffic was normal. Then this car came flying across the lanes. He almost hit me. I’m thinking, Come on, man. He’s driving like a jackass.
Then, he goes over to the right lane. He thinks he’s going to sneak past a truck to pass a van on the right, but there’s no room. He glides right into this truck. The truck’s front bumper rips right off. The truck pulls over, but the car just keeps going off the side of the road and hits the embankment. It does a full flip and one-and-a-half sommersaults. I watched the whole thing; it was ridiculous.
What was even worse is that no one else was stopping or even really slowing down. I was, like, This is fucked up. I’ve got to do something. I got out of my car and started sprinting down the road. The car is flipped over, completely totaled, and the windshield is smashed, and I can see blood through the windshield.
I tried to pull the windshield off and it was smashed, but it stayed together. So, I kicked it and ripped it off. The guy was unconscious. I tried waking him up, but he wasn’t coming to; I thought he was a goner.
Eventually, he came to and he was, like, “Hey... What’s up, man?”
I’m thinking, Oh, my god, you’ve got to be kidding me. This is so California.
He said, “Hey, man! Howzit hangin’?”
I said, “Hey, dude. Do you know where you’re at?”
“No, man... but... how ‘ya doin’?”
“Well, you’re in a bit of a predicament. I’m going to get you out of here.”
I turned off the car and undid the seatbelt. When I pulled him out, he was a little dazed and confused, and he said, “Wow, man. Is everything okay?”
I said, “Yeah, man. You were in an accident. But it’s okay.”
He said, “All right, cool!”
And I thought, Wow. California is awesome.