There are some basic driving maneuvers, call them steps in the choreography of the road, that every driver should know and practice. California drivers have been ignoring these basic steps for some time and I'd like to offer a little refresher course here. This is a gentle nudge to do the right thing.
1) Lane changing. The changer should use his turn signal to indicate a lane change. But here is the crucial step, usually missing from the lane change dance, and the main reason so many otherwise good drivers have abandoned the turn signal: the driver in the other lane should be receptive to the change. He should alter his foot's position on the gas pedal, not by accelerating and preventing the merge as so many are wont to do, but by gently lifting the foot enough to allow the car to enter the lane. This seems to be the big point of confusion here in California: lift the foot gently to allow merging, don't hit the gas to protect your position like a 300 pound tackle trying to stop a touchdown, like a Rottweiler keeping the mailman from coming through the gate, like a jealous child clutching a toy and screaming "Mine, mine!" Oh, the metaphors could keep coming but you get the idea: just let the guy in your lane! He's not stripping your masculinity; he probably just wants off at the next exit.
2) The Zipper. The Zipper is used when a whole lane needs to merge into another. The unwritten rule is that a one-to-one merger is done. One car from lane A, one car from lane B, etc., just like the teeth of a zipper meshing together, thus the name. Do the drivers in lane A ever, ever let the drivers of lane B merge using the one-to-one choreography? They do not. You get some nice people, of course, and then you get some real schmucks who stare straight ahead and pretend they haven't even noticed the twenty or so cars that have merged ahead of them. What? Your lane is gone over there? Why I hadn't noticed! Well, couldn't you just ride along on the berm there with the broken glass, the dead raccoon, and the shredded tire for a few hundred feet or so and then take a right turn and get out of my sight? Couldn't you just drive off a cliff? Boy, they have perfected that staring ahead business, haven't they?
3) Turning right on red. This is a great rule, being allowed to turn on red. Not every state allows it. Right on red means drivers don't have to sit and wait at a red light while no one is around to take advantage of the green light. However, right on red does not mean sneaking your little ass in there when the patient cross traffic drivers are trying not to block the intersection. No, no, no, it does not. If your light is red and there is a long line of drivers with a green light who have not entered the intersection, it is not a signal that they wish you would go ahead. They do not think you are the most worthy driver in the world. After you, after you, most esteemed driver. No, they are waiting to cross when they won't get stuck in the intersection.
Well, these are a few basics. You probably have some maneuvers of your own to share, pet driving peeves. Like those people who drive fifty miles an hour on the freeway, and the lane darters, and the people who think the world is their parking lot, and, and, and...all those wacky drivers out there.