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While law enforcement officials condemn the activities as dangerous – and often illegal – experts say people are turning to video as they search for answers to the madness on the roads. “Los Angeles has some of the worst traffic in the world,” said James David Ballard, a sociology professor at California State University, Northridge. “It’s in response to that particular reality. It’s people coming to grips with their circumstances.” Encountering a bottleneck on the Sepulveda Pass, for instance, Eric Swiss pulled out his camera and recorded the scene around him. He called it the quintessential Los Angeles movie – one that goes on for miles. “If you get frustrated about it, it’s going to get you,” said Swiss, 32. “It’s part of life in L.A. You might as well turn it into something useful.” Given that nearly everyone in Los Angeles is an aspiring filmmaker, it’s not surprising that self-expression comes in the form of clever camera work. Video after video shows life on the jam-packed Ventura, San Diego and Hollywood freeways, along with a commentary about dealing with it. In a weird juxtaposition of L.A.’s notorious traffic and its legendary filmmakers, hundreds of motorists are videotaping their experiences on the region’s roadways and posting them online. In one video posted on YouTube.com, two buddies duel with toy swords as their cars sit side by side in a jam on the 405 Freeway. Another motorist created a two-minute monologue comparing the experience of sitting in traffic to the five stages of grief. One motorist’s frustration is palpable as she holds up her camera cell phone while driving, creating a six-second clip and saying, “Los Angeles traffic, it’s as bad as you ever heard.” In one short, a guy gets up on the hood of his car and dances. In another, two hipsters with long dangling earrings ignore the traffic whizzing by on the Ventura Freeway as they sing and shimmy in their seats to a popular tune. Making the videos is a healthy way to alleviate stress, particularly the type that develops in traffic jams, where motorists have no way to deal with pumping adrenaline, said Martha Beck, a Phoenix-based life coach, adding that tension levels drop if drivers can focus on something else. “It’s not the traffic that’s causing the frustration so much as your interpretation of it,” she said. “Your mind is telling you, `I’m going to be late.’ “If you can shift that storytelling of the mind – such as making a YouTube movie – immediately your stress level will go down.” Still, while some are busy making these videos, there’s also a solid audience watching, responding and connecting to them. They are armchair critics of an experience they know all too well. Beck said viewers are drawn to the videos because traffic remains an unsolved problem for them. Attention is naturally drawn to situations that are not resolved, because people are looking for answers. “Traffic is a problem people don’t feel capable of solving on their own,” Beck said. “They want to commiserate and pay attention to it wherever they see it.” firstname.lastname@example.org (818) 713-3746 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!