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Author Topic: Bickering about bicycles, now with occasional tips about motorised vehicles  (Read 137205 times)

calenlass

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Ok, Americans, lots of you drive cars, yes? What I would like to talk about is driving well. Do you really know what you are doing with that 3000lb killing machine? I would really like for you to stop and think about it for a minute. Are you afraid of the other drivers around you? Do you sort of zone out and let auto-pilot get you from point A to point B? Do you yell at everyone else on the road and try to get back at them when they do a maneuver that is offensive?

I think a lot of people have forgotten a lot of things since their assessments at 16, and that is pretty bad. I also think that a lot of people forget that there are other people rushing to work, just trying to drag themselves home, or whatever, just like them all around them on the road. There are a lot of other people you need to watch out for! Here are some of the things I think just about everyone I ever see around Atlanta doing that are wrong, bad, or even potentially dangerous. Do you remember all of these? Do you do them?

Roundabouts, Rotaries, Traffic Circles: These are pretty sparse on this side of the pond, so I think lack of exposure leads people to just bumble through them. Did you know that their entire purpose is to keep the traffic in the circle moving? This means that if traffic outside the exit you want to take is stopped and backing up into the circle, you should probably not enter the roundabout until the way is clear. Do not stop in the roundabout. Remember that there are other people trying to get through the rotary too! When you approach a roundabout, stop before entering and check to make sure you will not cut someone off. When exiting the roundabout, use your blinker to indicate your exit.

The Far Left Lane: You might be surprised to know that the leftmost lane on the interstate is not, in fact, the "fast lane". It is true that traffic speed is supposed to increase by increments with each lane you add on the left (although if you are surprised by that, we need to talk). However, moving into the leftmost lane and cruising there, especially so that you don't have to worry about all those other drivers passing you, will only lead to you getting passed on the right, which is actually more dangerous! The left lane is for passing. And for all you guys who decide that you are going 15 over the speed limit and that is damn well fast enough so that guy trying to pass you can just suck a dick? You are making the problem worse. I promise that no one will ever ever hold you responsible if that guy gets himself a speeding ticket. Stopping him is not your responsibility, so don't.

The Far Right Lane: Slow traffic goes in the right lane. People entering and merging, or exiting go in the right lane. If you are neither, move over. Your riding that guy's ass to let him know just how slow you think he is going is not going to make him go faster; in fact, it might make him nervous, and thus inclined to go slower!

Turning Left through an intersection: Use your blinker. Turn into the leftmost lane. I don't know about most states, but here, if the cops are itchin' for it, they can and will pull you over for turning into the wrong lane. Don't be a douchebag by blocking those guys turning right! You'll all get there, I promise.

Changing Lanes in Intersections: I am guessing most states have laws like this on the books somewhere, so this probably applies in some aspects to everyone. In the state of Georgia, it is illegal to change lanes within 100 ft of an intersection. It causes accidents. Don't do it.

Turn signals: No one uses these enough. Do people think they are just for fun? Do people just not want anyone else on the road to know what they are thinking? The average human brain reacts to events with a 1.5 second processing delay. Think about how much time that is when you are driving, and think about how much most people space out when they drive. Using your blinker/indicator/turn signal gives other drivers enough time to react and save yourself a fender-bender.


Driving is dangerous: my dad was killed in a car crash, and I was almost killed by a drunk driver once. But it can be fun too! I love driving, and it really upsets me when someone shits it all up for everyone else. It is really not that hard to be a good driver, guys! You just have to engage your brain.
« Last Edit: 30 Jan 2011, 02:28 by calenlass »
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Re: Some things about driving
« Reply #1 on: 24 Jan 2011, 21:47 »

Nice little bit of advice


But man, fuck roundabouts.  They put in a few in north of my city and nobody gets how to use them. More often then not traffic is jammed an extra mile cause of those fuckers.
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Dazed

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Re: Some things about driving
« Reply #2 on: 24 Jan 2011, 21:59 »

If I tried to drive in Boston the way they taught me in driver's ed at 16 I would die 28 times daily. I break several traffic laws on a daily basis, and have never been in an accident or been ticketed. In fact, being conditioned into a somewhat hilariously aggressive driver (at times) has helped me avoid several accidents.
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Re: Some things about driving
« Reply #3 on: 24 Jan 2011, 22:14 »

they are jamming a bunch unnecessary roundabouts into my tiny ass town and it's fucking stupid

they're awkwardly shaped (and small!) so you can't really smoothly drive through them. one of them also shares an entrance/exit with the fucking highschool, so good luck going through there at 2:30 on a weekday!


i hate them
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Re: Some things about driving
« Reply #4 on: 24 Jan 2011, 22:26 »

For being young, I am a pretty decent, rule-abiding yet defensive and anticipatory driver. And I just want to drive more to get better! And now I just miss my fucking car. Five more months I guess
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Re: Some things about driving
« Reply #5 on: 24 Jan 2011, 22:42 »

For being a little less young, I am a pretty decent, rule-abiding yet defensive and anticipatory driver. And I just want to drive more to get better! And now I just miss having access to any fucking car whatsoever, regardless of ownership. If I knew how to hot-wire one I would do so! Two more months I guess
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Re: Some things about driving
« Reply #6 on: 24 Jan 2011, 22:51 »

they're awkwardly shaped (and small!) so you can't really smoothly drive through them.

This is half the point!
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Re: Some things about driving
« Reply #7 on: 24 Jan 2011, 23:26 »

uh yeah man i can't drive a car at all. i have to resort to public transit

let me tell you, though, these bus drivers got some MAD skillz. they have those dimensions memorized like their body is the bus, all snakin through the narrow streets and shit
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Re: Some things about driving
« Reply #8 on: 24 Jan 2011, 23:31 »

#1 thing, guys - Check your fucking blind spots (basically the spot in the middle of your car on either side that mirrors don't easily pick up). Make a habit of turning around and glancing into your blind spot immediately after activating your turn signal to change lanes. They absolutely positively beat this into you if you go to an actual driving class and a lot of people don't learn to do this otherwise (if they even learn to use turn signals). Cars enter your blind spots fairly often, especially when driving in the city, where lots of people drive at variable speeds.

Not doing this is a great way to get in a really bad accident you will be faulted for.
« Last Edit: 24 Jan 2011, 23:34 by KvP »
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Re: Some things about driving
« Reply #9 on: 24 Jan 2011, 23:46 »

the term is "shoulder check." do shoulder checks.
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Re: Some things about driving
« Reply #10 on: 25 Jan 2011, 00:24 »

I am so much in agreement with the turn signals thing. Just crossing the road in Paris is life-threatening because no one indicates (and they have that stupid thing that you guys have too, where it's legal to turn a corner even if you are at a red light, even if there are pedestrians crossing the road you are turning into. And no one indicates! They just blithely turn without looking and almost mow down a one year old child in a pushchair.
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Re: Some things about driving
« Reply #11 on: 25 Jan 2011, 00:47 »

This is why I am generally terrified that I am going to get into a car accident and die whenever I get behind the wheel of a car. My big issues I have (maybe had? I haven't driven regularly since i moved to Sydney, thank god) were changing lanes and merging onto roads. I just have huge troubles with recognising gaps that are big enough to fit my car, and also seem to just not see cars when I am doing the checks as I come up to the merging spot. I have nearly merged into the middle of a car on more than one occasion.

 That being said, once I got used to the areas I drove around a lot I knew when I would need to double check my blind spots and worked out how the areas' roads worked and I would cruise around with the terror of dying just humming nicely at the back of my brain. The few times I had to drive in Sydney had me freaking out and making sure ben gave me plenty of warnings for when I would need to change lanes or turn at certain streets. I would also get him to double check that it was ok to change lanes. I never had an accident though, so I am keeping that good record!
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Re: Some things about driving
« Reply #12 on: 25 Jan 2011, 00:55 »

Dear Americans, so you think roundabouts are a bit odd?

Try this little gem on for size:



No photoshop was required to bring you this picture and, despite the seeming insanity of it's design, it kind of works. As least for the locals. A local driving instructor says he really likes it because it teaches new drivers to think in 360 degrees.

I still contend that cars are Faraday Cages for common sense and decency. Two people that I met last year have been killed this month due to basic motorised idiocy.
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Re: Some things about driving
« Reply #13 on: 25 Jan 2011, 01:00 »

that's not a roundabout it's a fucking celtic knot for cars

jesus
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Re: Some things about driving
« Reply #14 on: 25 Jan 2011, 01:06 »

There is one of those in Hemel Hempstead, which is quite near where I used to live, and every time I went on it I thought I was going to die. Nobody knows how to traverse the magic roundabout, once you enter you are lucky if you escape, never mind leaving via the exit you actually want.
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Re: Some things about driving
« Reply #15 on: 25 Jan 2011, 01:25 »

Looks easy enough to me!



See, no problem.

Bet lane discipline is a total bitch on this thing though. I don't drive, but I do know about lane discipline because one of the dudes I do re-enactment with is really bad at and terrified by driving and constantly has to narrate everything he's doing as a sort of mantra in order to help achieve maximum concentration whilst negotiating difficult bids of road.
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Re: Some things about driving
« Reply #16 on: 25 Jan 2011, 01:32 »

This is the magic roundabout at Hemel. To me it's a bit easier to drive around than the Swindon one because there's typically a bit more of a gap between each mini roundabout making it easier to negotiate each one on it's own.

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Re: Some things about driving
« Reply #17 on: 25 Jan 2011, 01:35 »

one of the dudes I do re-enactment with is really bad at and terrified by driving

I have to ask the question. If he's terrified by driving, why was he given a license in the first place. It seems a bit negligent to issue one to someone who's approach to driving increases their risk to other road users.
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Re: Some things about driving
« Reply #18 on: 25 Jan 2011, 01:48 »

There are magic roundabouts elsewhere, to.  High Wycombe, for example, though that's still more spread out than the Hemel Hemstead one. 

The scary thing about the Swindon one is having so few physical features to orientate oneself by - I seem to remember it used to have none.  There are a couple of videos of it on this site (though the YouTube one seems seriously broken at present).
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Re: Some things about driving
« Reply #19 on: 25 Jan 2011, 02:27 »

See, I see the logic behind the magic roundabout, but to my young American mind it just looked like non-euclidean civil engineering at first.

I... have not done anything terribly stupid in a car in the 5 years I've had my license, but I do tend to zone out when I'm driving and just go on autopilot. I kinda think I make up for it by my compulsive over-use of turn signals and shoulder checks, because that's what my instructors drilled into me.

Also I don't know if anyone else has this problem, but I cannot help but use a turn signal on any 90-degree turn. Even if it's not actually an intersection and the road just goes around a corner. Primary example, this little lovely:



I saw the guy ahead of me do it one time and rejoiced that I was not the only one.
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Re: Some things about driving
« Reply #20 on: 25 Jan 2011, 02:35 »

Hey Katie I've got one to add to your list:

KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR BICYCLES.

Seriously. Okay so this really cuts both ways because cyclists, IF YOU'RE GOING TO RIDE ON THE ROAD THEN DAMN WELL OBEY THE RULES OF THE ROAD, but often (especially at night) drivers aren't even thinking that there might be anything smaller than a car using the same road as them. I've been doored twice and cut off abruptly more times than I care to remember, both during broad daylight and at night when I have flashing lights and reflective strips everywhere.
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Re: Some things about driving
« Reply #21 on: 25 Jan 2011, 03:48 »

I am learning to drive and recently went round that magic roundabout at Hemel (I live pretty near there). Here is my transcript from inside the car as I was doing it:

SSSSSSSHHHHHHHHHIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIITTTTTTTTTTT phew
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Re: Some things about driving
« Reply #22 on: 25 Jan 2011, 04:06 »

I'm pretty good at driving which is handy because I find myself having to do it more and more. On the drive down to Melbourne though I did something silly and allowed my brain to be distracted and nearly drove off the road. We were travelling at about 90km/h (because that's as fast as I'm legally allowed to go) down a highway with the aircon off. I noticed that a light breeze was still coming out of the vents and my brain instantly went "fuck driving, let's puzzle this one out instead" and I stopped paying attention to anything but this weird ghost aircon.

Yay driving!
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Re: Some things about driving
« Reply #23 on: 25 Jan 2011, 04:12 »

C'mon, the roundabout at Hemel isn't that bad (or the one at Swindon for that matter). Don't look on it as a whole, just take each short section as it comes. I used to live near Swindon and the magic roundabout was on my commute home every day. I'm a cyclist and not once did I have a problem in 18 months. If I can do that sort of thing on a bike, a huge all encompassing automotive vehicle with safety restraints, roll cages, air bags and many other safety features cannot be that bad.

And on the subject of cyclists; cycling is on the increase, for a variety of reasons and motivations and for both leisure and general transport. It's time to start driving like you expect there to be cyclists on the road.
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Re: Some things about driving
« Reply #24 on: 25 Jan 2011, 04:14 »

roundabouts are weird and scary! i had never even seen one until i was like 20.

also one time i got in a fight with someone because they didn't believe me when i told them that changing lanes in an intersection was illegal. but I WAS RIGHT
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Re: Some things about driving
« Reply #25 on: 25 Jan 2011, 04:21 »

roundabouts are weird and scary! i had never even seen one until i was like 20.

I just don't understand how this is possible. Are roundabouts only common in britain?
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Re: Some things about driving
« Reply #26 on: 25 Jan 2011, 04:23 »

there are a couple in the charleston area, which is where i first saw them. where i grew up, where i went to school, and where i live now, there are zero roundabouts. i think calenlass mentioned they are pretty sparse over here in the OP as well.
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Re: Some things about driving
« Reply #27 on: 25 Jan 2011, 04:25 »

It's time to start driving like you expect there to be cyclists on the road.

In places like Oxford, it's always been that time!  Even so, I've known drivers lock eyes with me and then drive at me as if I wasn't there, which leads on to:

I cycle a lot, and while I prefer to abide by the letter of the law, I have no hesitation in abandoning that when behaving in a manner that is adapted to the view that every vehicle on the road is out to get me.  Ride by that rule, and you can be quite safe; I've even cycled round Hyde Park Corner, which admittedly was probably the scariest thing in my life.

Are roundabouts only common in britain?

They're very common in Britain, but not so uncommon in the parts of Europe that I've driven around.  The universal rule in Britain is that traffic already on the roundabout has priority; but in France, until recently, at least, the default rule (which could be over-ridden by a sign) was Priorité à Droite - which had the opposite effect, leading very easily to gridlock.  This difference in rules may be why they have been better accepted here than elsewhere.

In Britain, you also get roundabouts which have traffic lights at some of their junctions (not necessarily all!) to break up traffic flows which can lead to one stream of traffic blocking out all others - sometimes these lights are only active during rush hour.  There are also roundabouts with a road through the middle for some traffic - only possible with lights, of course - like this one in Oxford (which works very well indeed):

« Last Edit: 25 Jan 2011, 04:35 by pwhodges »
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Re: Some things about driving
« Reply #28 on: 25 Jan 2011, 04:29 »

roundabouts are weird and scary! i had never even seen one until i was like 20.

I just don't understand how this is possible. Are roundabouts only common in britain?

Outside of Europe I think they're very few and far between.

I hit one somewhere in the Maritimes when I was on a road trip and I think I freaked out a few people by driving it European style.
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Re: Some things about driving
« Reply #29 on: 25 Jan 2011, 04:40 »

i've been driving almost daily for about 8 years now. i have broken many rules and i drive very aggressively, yet i've never been in an accident or caused one. i think the key is not suprising anybody even when you're gonna do something stupid. just make it clear that you'll be cutting'em or whatever, and everything will be alright.

my biggest problem is speed, i just can't keep myself from speeding, and usually scare people that drive with me. thing is the line where it starts to be scary instead of mischievous is not clear to me so i just keep pushing on and on and on.

driving distance is the other thing i can't keep for the life of me, for that i find it so easy to synchronise my driving style to the driver i'm following. i can go for miles at any speed behind almost anybody, being just 2-3 meters apart - and that includes sudden-out-of-nowhere braking etc too.

i think i should get one track and one slow shitbox car before i grow old and my reflexes get slower, or i'll surely kill myself.
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Re: Some things about driving
« Reply #30 on: 25 Jan 2011, 05:16 »

Ok, Americans, lots of you drive cars, yes? What I would like to talk about is driving well. Do you really know what you are doing with that 3000lb killing machine? I would really like for you to stop and think about it for a minute. Are you afraid of the other drivers around you? Do you sort of zone out and let auto-pilot get you from point A to point B? Do you yell at everyone else on the road and try to get back at them when they do a maneuver that is offensive?

There are a lot of people who think being a good driver means driving fast. Apparently these people have mistaken city streets for the Daytona Speedway. My attitude about good driving revolves around what I call "the short game." Precision stuff like being able to park and handle yourself in traffic and change lanes. And by that measure I am a very good driver, mostly because of being around my fiancee a lot while she drives. When people assume I'm a bad driver because I don't have a car, I like to bring up two anecdotes: the time I drove out of Boston immediately after the fireworks, and the time I drove a UHaul truck from NYC into Chicago during morning rush hour.

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Re: Some things about driving
« Reply #31 on: 25 Jan 2011, 05:20 »

"Don't judge me":
My tactic on driving is to assume all other drivers have a good reason for what they are doing, but to judge them and shake my fist anyways.  The theory is, if they have no reason of drive like an idiot, then maybe the social shame will encourage them to stop (I know it won't), but believing they might have a reason keeps me from being angry, so that I am not an angry driver.  For instance if I am doing 15 over and a guy behind me is riding my ass to get by, I think "maybe his wife is in labor in the back seat."  I don't know. And wouldn't I feel like a dick if I held them up because I think I control how much people are allowed to speed.   
Lane changes:
When you change lanes make sure you have enough room to do so.  I am forever cringing on the highway when I see someone get in front of an 18-wheeler with 4 feet of room to spare.  You know that truck will kill you right?  My brother was a trucker for a while and he complained about this a lot.  In the accident the truck will be at fault for not keeping adequate distance, but he said it is impossible to do.  As soon as you get enough distance a car changes lanes into that space and you are too close again.  This is also dangerous if the truck is in the center lane,  the one spot you cannot see while you pass it is the other side of it.  I have also seen a lot of near misses as a car from the right and a car from the left attempt to change into the spot in front of a truck because they couldn't see each other.   When you are riding my ass in the fast lane, and we are passing a row of traffic, give me time to get over when we reach a gap before flooring it around me on the right.  I will not cut off the car on the right so that you can get by faster, but frequently as I go to change lanes I find that you are already there, because you couldn't wait 10 more seconds for me to change lanes safely. 

Blind Spots:
I never look behind my shoulder, because it disorients me to whip my head around while I drive. I have only driven one car that had true blind spots.  Most people just don't know how to properly adjust and use their mirrors.   For one thing you should be looking before you start to change lanes,  When you see something is there you should be able to keep driving, not have to jerk back into your lane.  That said, if you have any doubt what is there, turn and look, I still do if it is very busy, or I am in an unfamiliar car.  Not looking is a great way to kill a biker. 
Also be aware of other's blind spots, particularly trucks.  If you are going to pass a truck hurry up and do it already, don't just sit there half way back, because after 3 miles he is likely to forget he saw you go in there, and should he have to swerve or change lanes you are crrrrushed.

Traffic Jams:
When driving in slowed traffic there is no need to speed up to the next car and then stop.  This makes the traffic jam worse.  You may have noticed that when the car in front of you hits it's breaks, you also hit yours.  This has a chain reaction.  You know you are going slow, just slowly cruise forward, this helps the traffic behind you flow smoother, helping to clear up the traffic jam quicker. 

Boston Driving:
I drove in Boston when I had my licence for only a year.  It took the training wheels off.  It made me more confident and it re-assured me that I know how big my car is.  I think success driving there (or in Manhattan from my experience) is not to be a dick, and break the rules, but to assume that everyone else will, so when your time comes take it, just push on in, cause you have the right of way.  People breaking the rules of the right of way and say, forcing their way into an intersection, blocking it when the light changes, is the way city traffic jams are caused, and get worse. 
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Re: Some things about driving
« Reply #32 on: 25 Jan 2011, 05:49 »

Roundabouts are the best, especially when there are three drunk people in the back of the car and the driver just keeps going around and around and around and around and around and around.
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Re: Some things about driving
« Reply #33 on: 25 Jan 2011, 06:02 »

My family went to England when I was in high school and my poor mother drove.  She couldn't get the hang of roundabouts.  Not the right of way or anything, but if we missed our exit she would panic and take the next one instead of just going around again. 
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Re: Some things about driving
« Reply #34 on: 25 Jan 2011, 06:04 »

Roundabouts are a standard road feature in Australia, though not anything like the crazy Super Mario platform gaming secret level ones depicted above. Canberra in particular is infamous for being infested with roundabouts.
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Re: Some things about driving
« Reply #35 on: 25 Jan 2011, 06:22 »

About left turns: can you please tell the local DOT's and such to actually MAKE IT POSSIBLE to turn into the correct lane? Sometimes the lane markings can be atrocious, especially at intersections at the end of on/off ramps from a freeway. You turn left to go under the freeway and realize that you're in the left-turn lane to go back ON the freeway, not on down the road!
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Re: Some things about driving
« Reply #36 on: 25 Jan 2011, 06:31 »

I like simple roundabouts. (Read: One circle on non-busy streets.) I do not like that picture of that gigantic clusterfuck that is posted above. It looks terrifying.

Re turning right on red: May, I ALWAYS look out for pedestrians. It pisses me off when people try to turn when I or others are crossing the street, especially if the people behind them also want to turn, because then they want to turn as well. But usually people around here at least are pretty ok about looking. But then you have those douchebags who think it's cool to turn right from the lefthand lane and cut off the person in the righthand lane.

My number one rule for driving is DON'T BE STUPID. Don't run red lights, don't cut people off, don't drive below the speed limit on a highway in normal traffic, don't speed 10+ miles over the speed limit, don't be intoxicated while driving, use your signals, look where you're going, etc. etc.
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Re: Some things about driving
« Reply #37 on: 25 Jan 2011, 06:36 »

if we missed our exit she would panic and take the next one instead of just going around again. 

That is exactly the correct thing to do if you do a roundabout wrong, otherwise you risk being in the wrong land, which is dangerous.
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Re: Some things about driving
« Reply #38 on: 25 Jan 2011, 06:53 »

Over the past couple of years I adopted the Let Them Win attitude to driving and I've definitely become a safer driver as a result. I only came to this conclusion when I got a SatNav some years ago. Regardless of where I was going, I'd punch in my destination (usually my office 50 minutes away) and it would tell me the time I would arrive. First of all I'd try to race against that time, trying to see if I could get it down. However, eventually traffic and traffic lights would unavoidably slow me down and the count would return to the original time of arrival. Sometimes I'd rush like an absolute asshat and arrive about two minutes earlier.

Two minutes. What's the point? Is it worth driving like an aggressive idiot for the sake of gaining one hundred and twenty seconds? Of course it isn't. Now I drive carefully and consistently instead. If some guy wants to race for the right to have those two minutes, let him have it. I don't care that much.
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Re: Some things about driving
« Reply #39 on: 25 Jan 2011, 07:08 »

There have been a couple of studies that have shown that on non-motorway journeys that speeding and aggressive driving very rarely ever delivers the benefits that the driver imagines that they do for these reasons. In addition to that, you just waste a stack of fuel trying to do so.

Actually there was a study that I saw info on that modelled driving techniques on motorways. Although all theoretical, it demonstrated that if everyone abided by good lane discipline, everyone was able to travel faster, even if no other driving habits changed. Hard to guarantee it in practice, but the thinking behind it seemed pretty sound. Seems like being a lane hog offers no benefits at all.
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Re: Some things about driving
« Reply #40 on: 25 Jan 2011, 07:21 »

I have to ask the question. If he's terrified by driving, why was he given a license in the first place.

I suppose it's inaccurate to describe him as a bad driver, in the sense that he's dangerous to other road users. He's bad in the sense that he literally can't do anything except drive and mutter under his breath. He doesn't seem to be able to treat driving as in any way a natural action, in marked contrast to pretty much everyone else I've ever observed driving. Actually, the fact that his attention is constantly riveted on everything he's doing means he's probably actually a very safe driver.
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Re: Some things about driving
« Reply #41 on: 25 Jan 2011, 07:25 »

i've been driving almost daily for about 8 years now. i have broken many rules and i drive very aggressively, yet i've never been in an accident or caused one. i think the key is not suprising anybody even when you're gonna do something stupid. just make it clear that you'll be cutting'em or whatever, and everything will be alright.

my biggest problem is speed, i just can't keep myself from speeding, and usually scare people that drive with me. thing is the line where it starts to be scary instead of mischievous is not clear to me so i just keep pushing on and on and on.

driving distance is the other thing i can't keep for the life of me, for that i find it so easy to synchronise my driving style to the driver i'm following. i can go for miles at any speed behind almost anybody, being just 2-3 meters apart - and that includes sudden-out-of-nowhere braking etc too.

i think i should get one track and one slow shitbox car before i grow old and my reflexes get slower, or i'll surely kill myself.

I am glad we're on different continents.
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Re: Some things about driving
« Reply #42 on: 25 Jan 2011, 07:42 »

I suppose it's inaccurate to describe him as a bad driver, in the sense that he's dangerous to other road users. He's bad in the sense that he literally can't do anything except drive and mutter under his breath. He doesn't seem to be able to treat driving as in any way a natural action, in marked contrast to pretty much everyone else I've ever observed driving. Actually, the fact that his attention is constantly riveted on everything he's doing means he's probably actually a very safe driver.

As a cyclist, I find that I experience greater threat to my safety from people who lack confidence and comfort in driving than I do from aggressive drivers. Being constantly riveted on what you're doing suggests a narrow focus that means that some "out of the ordinary" things can be missed or ill prepared for. On some occaisions I am that "out of the ordinary" thing. Unlike Mr. Hodges, I don't cycle like every vehicle on the road is out to get me. However I do assume that every driver is too stupid to drive approriately around me until proven otherwise. It's a little less cynical but achieves much the same effect.
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Re: Some things about driving
« Reply #43 on: 25 Jan 2011, 10:28 »

I'm that Masshole they always warn you about
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Re: Some things about driving
« Reply #44 on: 25 Jan 2011, 10:34 »

I hate driving so much. I would never ever do it except I work 2 hours away from where I live.


I am that asshole who turns into lanes which are not the closest one, because I assure you it is much more dangerous to have me merging near you.
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Re: Some things about driving
« Reply #45 on: 25 Jan 2011, 10:51 »

Blind Spots:
I never look behind my shoulder, because it disorients me to whip my head around while I drive. I have only driven one car that had true blind spots.  Most people just don't know how to properly adjust and use their mirrors.   For one thing you should be looking before you start to change lanes,  When you see something is there you should be able to keep driving, not have to jerk back into your lane.

I have never been in a 2- or 4-door car that actually had a blind spot when the mirrors were set properly. There is a pretty simple way to do this! Get someone (friend, family member) to slowly walk all the way around your car, starting next to your driver's side-view mirror and ending at the passenger side mirror. You'll notice two things: 1) You can no longer see the back end of your car in your mirrors, but you generally shouldn't need to see that anyway since you should know how big your car is; 2) When the person moves beyond your peripheral vision, they should appear in your mirror! When they are no longer in your side mirror, they should appear in the rear-view mirror! Like magic!
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Re: Some things about driving
« Reply #46 on: 25 Jan 2011, 11:58 »

oh and assume every driver is an idiot and will kill you if no one said that yet

Yes yes definitely this. I get routinely chastised for waiting extra-long for other cars to stop at stop-signs or to walk at crosswalks because I have right-of-way or a "walk" signal or whatever, and so I should definitely just go. My opinion is that just because it is the rules that other cars have to let me go, or that cars have to stop to let me cross the street, doesn't mean I am ever going to take for granted that people are going to obey those rules. In the end, it's an extra few seconds to make sure it's all clear. No biggie.

Also it makes me laugh when American-types talk about how crazy and scary roundabouts are, considering I have experienced the hell of a four-way stop sign, and let me tell you brothers and sisters, roundabouts are far more sane. (Given that the people operating them know what to do)

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Re: Some things about driving
« Reply #47 on: 25 Jan 2011, 12:06 »

I love roundabouts, they seem so much easier and smoother. The problem is I'm one of only like 127 Americans who "gets" them, and when everyone else drives through one like they've never seen such a thing before, of course it doesn't go as smoothly so they assume that roundabouts suck.


Here's a (maybe?) strange thing I've been trying to get used to in Alabama - it's the first place I've lived where I've ever seen people do this: When someone is turning, EVERYONE behind them puts on their turn signal also. I'm not just talking about the person directly behind them, I'm talking about a line of ten people, only one of whom is turning, but they all have their signals on. I asked someone about it and they said, "Well, that way someone farther back knows that someone is turning up ahead."

This makes absolutely no sense to me. If I see a blinker on, I judge my actions on the idea that they are turning. To have a blinker on but not be turning isn't QUITE as dangerous as turning without a blinker, but it seems foolish to me. Is this a normal occurrence that I just have never encountered before? Thoughts?


Also, what is the generally accepted rule on how to inform someone their lights are off at night? In Illinois, you flash your lights at them. Here, you flash your lights and it's like they think you're coming to kill them or something. They'll swerve off into another lane and try to avoid you - and with no lights on, that means inevitably they almost cause a wreck because the people in that lane can't see them. Someone tried to tell me about the urban legend where it'll get you shot, but... come on.
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Re: Some things about driving
« Reply #48 on: 25 Jan 2011, 12:21 »

Also, what is the generally accepted rule on how to inform someone their lights are off at night?

For lights, I tend to blink mine off  a couple of times - sometimes it works.  But I guess that as the commonest car in Britain (Ford Focus) has a lights setting that you can just leave it switched to and it turns the lights on and off when required (well, mine has this, anyhow), this may be less of an issue as time passes.

Of course flashing headlights can also mean: "Please come through, I'm holding back for you", and "Stay back, I'm coming through, damn you", and also "Where's the bloody wiper switch in this car?".
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Re: Some things about driving
« Reply #49 on: 25 Jan 2011, 12:26 »

It can also mean "cops/speed trap ahead, slow down and watch out".

As a chronic lights-leaver-oner I'm pretty stoked with Canadian cars having constantly-on headlights that engage when you take the car out of park (and more importantly, disengage when you put it in park, making it impossible to leave them on). Even if it does look pretty goofy driving around in broad daylight and clear conditions in summer with yur lights on.
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