First Car Bought and a Tale of Car Karma

When Grabeel was 16, his dad bought him a 1989 Nissan Maxima for $5000 and he'd only had it for three months when he parked it outside a friend's house and someone drove into it.

"So then I drove the family van, the Toyota Previa," he says. "Which made me really popular at school and I drove that until later in high school. When I was a senior I got a 2008 Corolla and I drove that out to Los Angeles and a year or two after I had it parked on the side of the road and someone ran into that and totaled it."

And he owned a third car that got plowed into as well, on another L.A. street.

Grabeel had a used 1997 Acura CL, but when he got booked on "High School Musical" he had some more money and bought a newer car, the 2004 Acura TL. "I really liked that and that was parked on the side on the road on Ventura Boulevard in Sherman Oaks and someone ran into it and totaled that."

"So it's happened to me three times and I loved all three of those cars. The Maxima, it's your first car, so you love it. The Corolla was the car I moved out to Los Angeles with and the Acura was the first nice car I bought for myself. All three of them unexpectedly destroyed," he says.

Two of the cars were hit by drunk drivers, and the third incident was a taxi cab driver who fell asleep at the wheel at 3 in the morning.

Favorite road trip

Grabeel's favorite road trip is Los Angeles to Salt Lake City on I-15.

"It's so peaceful and you get 11 hours to just vacate your mind a little bit. It's just you and the road," he says. "You're not here, you're not there; you're in between. You get to think about things and relax. That's what I love about road trips."

In Los Angeles, Grabeel's favorite strip of road when driving his Infiniti is Kanan Road from the 101 Freeway to Pacific Coast Highway.

"You see the mountains and eventually you turn the corner and see the beach and the ocean. It's just beautiful," he says. "Every time I drive that drive, I can't believe this is California, this is L.A. You get so used to driving the streets and the freeways and the traffic. You have this open road that's full of nature. It's pretty cool."


ABC Family's "Switched At Birth"

Grabeel appears on ABC Family's "Switched at Birth," which also stars Katie LeClerc, Vanessa Marano, Lea Thompson, Marlee Matlin, and Gilles Marini. Season 2 premiered on Jan. 7.

"I think our show has increasingly gotten better. I thought the pilot was amazing and I've been continually surprised at the level of creativeness and all of the things involved with the show," Grabeel says. "It's always surprising me and it just keeps getting better and I'm really, really proud to be a part of it."

A large part of the show highlights deaf culture and educates people about what it's like being deaf. "That's something that's never been on television. It's a fantastic show to be a part of," he says. "We have several deaf characters and hard-of-hearing characters."

While the main character is hard of hearing, everybody else who is portrayed as deaf on the show is deaf in real life, he says. Sign language is used on the show quite often.

"There are a lot of scenes that are completely silent and just subtitled and all in sign, which is another thing I've never seen on a TV show," Grabeel says. "It's really amazing because you'll be watching the show and suddenly it'll just get quiet and you'll hear the sound of the birds and passing cars and you really listen. It's funny, you listen to a deaf conversation and it forces you to pay more attention to their facial expressions and how they express what they're saying. Sign language is a really beautiful language so it's very interesting to watch those scenes."