California's Highway 17 is a wonderful, stress-free commute; provided you are not driving during rush hour, or have prepared, at minimum, the following:
  1. Radar detector. Passive (non-transmitting) radar detectors are legal in California, ever since a 1998 California Supreme Court decision bitchslapped the legislature. :-)
  2. Full tank. It's a good (or a terrible) 30 miles from San Jose to Santa Cruz. Fill up!
  3. Good tires, and excellent brakes.
  4. An up-to-date, notarized, Last Will and Testament, to aid your next-of-kin in divvying up what swag you can't take with you.
There is but one constant on this road: no matter how recklessly you drive, everyone on the road will be doing their damndest to outdo you. Indeed, it often seems like a contest for the title of "World's Nastiest Driver", and the competition is decidedly world-class.

The key to survival on Highway 17, is this: take Highway 9, instead.