A weekly look at SoCal life covering news, arts and culture, and more.
Hosted by John Rabe

5 LA driving tips from veteran race car driver Tommy Kendall

Tommy Kendall in 2008
Tommy Kendall in 2008
The 359 via Flicker Creative Commons

Listen to story

Download this story 4MB

Driving in Los Angeles sucks— there's no other way to put it.  And none of the drivers know how to drive! Except for you.

Honestly, we all could do a little better on the road. So, who better to quell our rage/inadequacy than veteran race car driver Tommy Kendall?

BONUS: Listen as Tommy Kendall walks us through the actual Grand Prix racetrack

Kendall was inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in 2015. He has raced in the Grand Prix of Long Beach on eight occasions. But maybe most vital of all, Tommy has lived in Los Angeles his entire life. He dished about his biggest L.A. driver pet peeves and gave some tips to alleviate the stress of commutes.  

On merging speed:

“The safest way to merge on a freeway is to go the speed of the flow of traffic. A lot of people think if they are being slow they are being careful. Well, you’re causing a chain reaction— trucks are usually in the right lane. My tip would be accelerating to freeway speed.”

On selfish drivers:

“Angelenos, we’re famously selfish. People will stop even if they aren’t in the right-turn lane because they don’t want to go one block out of their way to loop back around.  And they’ll stop and stop everyone… I will only do it if I will not inconvenience anyone. That’s my code — I will not inconvenience another driver.”

On time management:

“One thing that improves your life a ton is leaving early. You can get work done on your phone and be entertained if you get there early, so it's not wasted time like it used to be.”


On whatever the heck this is:

“When people are going along, if you’re speeding up to make a lane change, they speed up to stop you. What is the point of that?  I do a little move where it's almost like you are putting the cobra to sleep. When you see that happening, you ease off and they’ll ease off with you. And then you gun it and get through."

On distracted drivers:

“One of the things you do in racing is that you are really situationally aware, and you are always looking for an out.  I can react to things second nature, without paying attention. I would encourage people to really cultivate that attention. You can almost make driving a meditation…Pay attention to what you are doing and enjoy the driving.”

The Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach returns on Friday, April 7 - Sunday, April 9.