The real trick is to know when to drive north and what freeways. Of course checking your GPS on your smartphone through Google Maps for Green, Yellow and Red places in your route is important first. But, generally speaking you don't want to travel up 405 unless you are visiting some place on that route. So, if for example, you are heading straight for Santa Barbara going up Interstate 15 the 210 and then traveling west is usually the best outcome. We were able (by leaving the San Diego coast about 11 am to get to Oxnard by 3 or 4 pm (which is okay if you stop several times for bathrooms and at a Subway for a 12 inch to eat while you are driving and getting there as fast as you safely can before traffic messes you up especially on a Friday like yesterday.
Usually, I don't like driving anywhere on a Friday long distance because Friday is one of the worst days of the week to do this sort of like Sunday Afternoon where everyone is coming home from their weekends everywhere across the U.S.
But, luckily we made it to Las Virgenes Canyon Rd (malibu Canyon road to ocean) on the Ventura Freeway and we knew we had survived pretty well the traffic by about 3 pm. There were no complete stops on the freeway even though we did slow down to 30 or 40 miles per hour in several sections along the way which is still faster than being on side streets with signals.
However, there is also something called WAZE that will get you anywhere the fastest way possible over side streets during bad or moderately bad traffic anywhere in the U.S.that my daughters like to use to avoid heavy traffic jams.