SOME OF US complain about commuting 25 minutes back and forth to work. Others, however, actually like to spend the entire day driving perhaps 200 miles in stop-and-go traffic. Robert Chamichian, a former Los Angeles Police Department officer, drives about 4,000 miles a month for Beverly Hills-based V.I.P. Limousine. Whether chauffeuring rock stars or corporate presidents, he takes a scientific, eye-on-the-clock approach to dodging gridlock. We asked him to share his time-tested tips:
"Avoid the freeway between 3:30 and 6 p.m.; any of the city's wide surface streets are probably faster."
"Beverly Boulevard is the quickest route west from downtown L.A.; Imperial Highway is a clear route to the beach."
"To reach LAX at rush hour, get onto Sepulveda Boulevard if you can. From Sepulveda, it's a straight shot into the airport, bypassing all freeways and Century Boulevard."
"To San Diego, Interstate 5 is better than (Interstate) 405."
"Plan your down time and average it in on the total trip time, especially on the surface streets. The average time spent at a red light in rush hour is about 1 minute and 20 seconds."
"It's fine to listen to the traffic reports on the radio, but remember that most of them are 20 minutes behind, and a lot of the accidents have already been cleared."