Bringing L.A. Traffic to a Standstill

Nothing brings Los Angeles to a standstill like rain.

A standstill is a situation where all movement or action has stopped. You can bring a basketball game to a standstill by losing the ball.

Or you can bring conversation to a standstill if you drink a little too much and tell a bad joke about your boss in the middle of a work party.

In the past few weeks, we had three or four days of major (large) rainstorms (lots of rain), at least they were major by Los Angeles standards (way of measuring).

The freeways were backed up (with little movement) even more than usual because Angelenos (people who live in L.A.) just don’t know how to drive in the rain.

We have so little experience with roads that are slippery (hard to stay in one place) and with cars skidding. When you try to stop quickly, your car skids (continues to move, usually sideways or in ways you don’t want it to).

The city is also ill-equipped (poorly prepared) for a lot of rain. That’s why, during a rainstorm, the news is full of stories about streets that are flooded (with too much water) and collisions or car accidents.

Notice that we use the verbs “bring + to” and “come + to” with “standstill.” We bring things TO a standstill, or things may come TO a standstill.

To bring something to a standstill means that you (or someone/something else) cause it. I bring traffic to a standstill if I have an accident.

To come to a standstill means that it just happens, perhaps for reasons we don’t understand. Traffic came to a standstill, perhaps because of bad weather or the police.

These are the two most common verbs used with “standstill.” Note that you canNOT “make” a standstill or “do” a standstill.

I have to confess that I’m just like all Angelenos: I stayed home on these rainy days to avoid any problems.

Yes, I’m from Minnesota where it snows a lot in the winter, and yes, I let (allowed) a little rain keep me indoors (inside).

After nearly 30 years of living here, I guess I’ve become a true Angeleno!


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