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Old 05-14-02, 09:18 PM   #1
LittleBigMan
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Get off the freeway

More and more people are feeling the pressure of freeway driving.
If they're not frustrated by the slow-moving traffic, they are afraid of the dangerous driving and accidents reported daily.

Get a clue. When some greenhorn (no offense to you, responsible teens) flys by you at 85, or climbs up your A55, this is your wake up call. "Freeways" are "accidents" waiting to happen.

I have held back too long because of my loyalty to hard-working, life-risking, underpaid law enforcement officers. But I place the blame squarely upon the shoulders of law enforcement. That's what they are paid to do, damn it.

Of course, let's not blame the shift-cop. It's higher up than that.
What are we paying you folks behind the desk to do? Play politics for money? Computer solitaire?

:irritated

(I am safer on the local 35 with my two-wheeler! :thumbup: )
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Old 05-14-02, 09:34 PM   #2
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Can anyone think of a more ironic name for these things than 'freeway'?
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Old 05-15-02, 02:48 AM   #3
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while i agree that people often drive too fast and too close (tailgating) and wrecklessly, but i'm not sure that stricter police action will really help much. although i'm not sure exactly what would - one possible idea is "designing roads for appropriate speed" which i describe lower...

i grew up and learned to drive in car-happy "always speeding" Dallas TX and although i almost always drove slowly in residential areas (it just felt wrong going so fast where someone MIGHT actually be walking - a rarity in Dallas) i "learned" to drive at least 15mph over the speed limit - e.g. 60-70mph when 45mph -- and usually as fast as traffic would allow. i had a radar detector and even though i was pretty poor i got a bunch of speeding tickets (at one point i got 17 in 18 months when i had a motorcycle and i became a favorite target for cops)... (i now drive slowly, patiently and safely and without stress in the city on the few occaisions i do drive -- although going fast on the autobahn is quite OK i think)

sure, maybe if the police action were REALLY strict, we could force everyone to slow down, but i'm not sure. The attitude is still "i can do it safely, so as long as i don't get busted..."

in Germany, the police are VERY strict and the penalties for infractions are very expensive. When a cop is around or where there is often a speed trap people behave, but then in other sections that are almost never monitored, people drive way faster than the speed limit (30kmh is the standard residential speed which is quite slow, but 45 or 50kmh is a big difference)

i personally believe high speeds on the interstate of autobahn are no problem (just speeding on city or residential streets or small sountry roads). yes, i think the US should have more rules about passing like the German system (illegal to pass on the right and you must move right if you can and both strictly inforced) - OK, maybe a top speed limit of like 180kmh (110mph) would be better than the NO LIMIT in Germany...

i'm much more a believer in the "design speed" of a road rather than just setting speed limits. basically, in the last 50 years or so traffic engineers have "learned" how to make roads safer by trying to make roads as straight as possible (curves are danger spots), as wide as possible (increases visibility for greater safety) and remove any potential hazzards. The problem is that people have an internal subjective feel for what's a safe speed on a road. So build a wide straigt "safe" road where the "design" speed is 60mph and then put up a 30mph sign and it just doesn't work - people still are inclined to go 60mph. I find this the biggest problem with most of the suburbs in the US. The road is designed for a high speed but then you're not supposed to. anyway, there has been a fair amount of interesting research on this topic and it has been found "creating design featueres to 'suggest' an appropriate speed" can be very effective at creating both a safe and reduced-speed road. this is done by building narrower streets with frequent mild curves and side obstacles like trees or lane-narrowing sections or traffic circles to give the impression that reduced speed is appropriate (there are many other 'best practices'). This seems to be far more effictive then trying to reduce speed by "after-additions" like speed limits or road humps or speed bumps... these design changes also make for a more pleasant and more aesthetic place as well as also increasing safety for pedestrians and cyclists (mainly by reducing car speeds). Basically the idea is make it so the driver himself decides he should drive more slowly, rather than forcing him to adjust his own decision artificially with a posted speed limit. i hope this idea will become more popular instead of the generic 'engineering only' safety design
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Old 05-15-02, 05:07 AM   #4
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What's the "A55"? Is that a highway around London?
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Old 05-15-02, 07:43 AM   #5
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Nathank's observations regarding traffic calming are spot-on. What I particularly detest are regular streets designed with freeway-style merges, diverges, turns, and other high-speed cues. I also strongly support enforcement against "undertaking" (passing on the outside), which I encounter EVERY time I drive on I-5.
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Old 05-15-02, 09:47 AM   #6
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nathank is right on except for one point. Passing on the right on a multi lane road can be safe - that according to the Mass. DOT they did a study and made it legal bassed on that study. I think it would be better to have drivers keep right except to pass, but the study shows it can work either way.
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Old 05-15-02, 09:48 AM   #7
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I also love when I am already over the speed limit (let's say going around 80 MPH, with the flow of traffic) and I still get people trying to drive up my arss. They get so close that I can't see their headlights. Always a good time on the highway (freeway, depending on where you're from).
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Old 05-15-02, 12:10 PM   #8
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Originally posted by Stor Mand
I also love when I am already over the speed limit (let's say going around 80 MPH, with the flow of traffic) and I still get people trying to drive up my arss. They get so close that I can't see their headlights. Always a good time on the highway (freeway, depending on where you're from).
That's when I slow down. When on the freeway, I may go a little over the speed limit but that is rare. My good truck ('96 S-10) can easily do 90+MPH but I don't like taking it over 70MPH (guzzles gas at high speeds). I have actually slowed to 60MPH when somebody did that to me. I held them back there for a few minutes before they got a break in passing traffic.

Typically when I am in town, I will do the speed limit. If I get somebody right on my back bumper, I will slow to 5 MPH under the speed limit. I am never in a hurry when driving.

If I am ever in my farm truck when that happens, I get the urge to slow slightly and then tap the brakes. If I am lucky, they will nail the back of the truck and delay them even longer! My old truck can take a 20MPH difference hit and still drive away with only a few scratches and small dents (my dad proved it when he accidently hit it hard with the farm tractor). Can newer cars take that much of a hit?

(A 21 year old driving under the speed limit? No, I've never received a speeding ticket. I just want to be a law abiding, careful driver!)
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Old 05-15-02, 07:35 PM   #9
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I would like to see the "stocks and pillary" reintroduced for dweebs who endanger my life on the road.

Imagine some goof with his head and arms locked in plain sight of passers-by...

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Old 05-16-02, 01:52 AM   #10
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nathank is right on except for one point. Passing on the right on a multi lane road can be safe - that according to the Mass. DOT they did a study and made it legal bassed on that study. I think it would be better to have drivers keep right except to pass, but the study shows it can work either way.
Joe

after seeing the efficiency of the German system, the US Interstate is complete chaos!

i'm not sure of my stats, but i believe per-distance the autobahn has fewer accidents than the US Interstate and almost the same # of fatalities -- autobahn has higher speed, so higher % of accidents fatal, but FEWER accidents in all.

the only other 2 significant factors different: Germany has higher driver training statdards and higher standards for automobile maintenance (tires, brakes, etc)

but the interesting thing is that the US interstate is (in my opinion) better designed for high-speed than the Autobahn with fewer turns, wider shoulders, longer less-curvy entrance and exits, better visibility, etc.

now, while there are some major arseholes on the Autobahn who believe they should be able to drive 210kmh+ at all times regardless of other traffic, the system works really well ---- if there's a space open to the right, then you signal and pull over. if you need to pass, you look left, signal and get over. you watch the rear-view in your lane to see if someone's coming fast... and if you come up to someone in your lane and can't go left to pass (either already in left-most lane or left-lane is for SUPER fast) then you can't pass right, so you flash your lights to "remind" the driver to get over. you always know that the cars on your left are going faster than you and those on the right slower (otherwise you should get over). --- note: in heavy traffic it's then OK to pass on the right (i.e. if the left lane brakes significantly due to traffic you don't have to stop too soas not to pass on the right)

compare this to the US: some people say "i'm going the speed limit" and drive in the left lane. thus, others who want to speed will swerve around and pass on the right, then on the left, then the right, who knows! you end up with adjacent lanes on both sides with cars going all kinds of speeds, let's say anywhere from 55/60mph to 100mph === dangerous! and you have to watch for varying speed vehicles in all directions!

IF the US were to implement and enforce a "no-undertaking" system, the US Interstate system would probably be the safest freeway system in the world... as well as the most efficient

Since the US seems to be sooo concerned with safety (main reason for speed limit now that 'efficiency' is 'out' after the 70s), i just don't understand why we can't take the steps to make our freeways safer and more efficient (there are basically no negatives other than re-educating the drivers and police)

Last edited by nathank; 05-16-02 at 05:28 AM.
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Old 05-16-02, 05:00 AM   #11
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Originally posted by nathank
(there are basically no negatives other than re-educating the drivers and police)
Then again, could re-educating motorists and police really be considered a negative? Sounds like a big positive to me and well worth the effort (the effort to bring it about being the reason you think it's a negative, presumably)

Sorry to bring up the SUV thing again, but can you imagine one of those big, top heavy, sloppy suspensioned vehicles being pushed along the freeway at 180km/h 'because they can'?
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Old 05-16-02, 05:33 AM   #12
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Sorry to bring up the SUV thing again, but can you imagine one of those big, top heavy, sloppy suspensioned vehicles being pushed along the freeway at 180km/h 'because they can'?
Allister

not sure exactly what you mean by IMAGINE... i've seen such speeds or close to them in the US (180kmh is 112mph) quite often in Suburbans, Lincoln Navigators, Grand Cherokees and the like... i suggest visiting Dallas TX where about half of the vehicles are SUVs or large Pickups and almost everyone drives as fast as possible -- usually not so fast b/c of traffic, but if nobody's in front of you on the freeway... 'hit that durn ekcellerator man!'
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Old 05-16-02, 05:43 AM   #13
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Forget the SUV's-I remember regularly being passed by "large car" 18-wheelers (usually pulling reefer trailers) on certain western interstates that were going nearly that fast-at least 160km/hr.

I personally once hit 140 mi/hr (approx 185 km/hr) in an Audi Quattro Coupe that I was delivering to a dealer (back when I worked at a Porche/Audi dealership), but that was a fairly extreme speed for the highways around here.
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Old 05-16-02, 06:00 AM   #14
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So do we still think the German system would work in the States (or Australia for that matter)?
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Old 05-16-02, 08:44 AM   #15
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Originally posted by Allister
So do we still think the German system would work in the States (or Australia for that matter)?
Worth a try
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Old 05-16-02, 09:47 AM   #16
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Originally posted by Allister
So do we still think the German system would work in the States (or Australia for that matter)?
Not a chance here in the U.S. Collectively as a society we Americans don't know how to drive well enough to travel safely at high speeds.

We tailgate, we hog the left lane while blocking faster traffic, we refuse to move to the right lane after passing slower vehicles, we pass in the right lanes, we don't signal our intentions, we don't check our mirrors, we zig and zag from right lane to left lane and back, we drive like we wear blinders on the side of our heads, we make no attempts to predict what the other guy is going (or might do) to do, when traffic gets heavy we're more apt to not let the other guy onto the road in front of us. We think we own the road, we think we're individually great drivers, we have no patience with other traffic....

Ironically we have some of the best road systems in the world.

What we Americans have and have not concerning driving practices could make a thread all its own!

For our own good we aren't allowed to go faster (legally). We tried it in Montana....it didn't work.

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Old 05-17-02, 02:02 AM   #17
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Collectively as a society we Americans don't know how to drive well enough to travel safely at high speeds.
Gus

you're right on. the only way it would work is IF Americans as a whole accepted and learned some rules, but most Americans follow the 'I do whatever i want and nobody muchless the government better tell me what to do with MY car...' and accepted more controls on the vehicles we drive (e.g. uniform bumber height for SUVs as has been discussed here in the forum) and driver licensing...

i suppose if it were possible to convince people that they would be able to driver faster and more safely it might work... but who would pay for all the advertising or head the grass-roots movement?? - i guess it would work if the car companies decided to support it and threw big dollars in --- although not so far-fetched b/c Ford, GM, BMW, Audi, Porsche and Daimler-Benz would all LIKE to have a new market for all their big-engine, high-performance cars that nobody can really use in the US right now: "look at my cool Corvette that can go 170mph but i can only legally drive 70mph..." so the could see more high-dollar cars... (not that i really support/endorse that side-effect)
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Old 05-17-02, 09:37 AM   #18
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I think part of the reason people drive side by side at 60mph is because we are taught in school that the left lane is the "fast lane" which encourages drivers to stay in that lane. Changing the terminology to "passing lane" might be an improvement.
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Old 05-17-02, 11:40 AM   #19
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Public Policy Fantasy Time: My town has a large Russian immigrant community, around 12,000 at this time. It might be just the ticket to recruit in that group of people for ex-KGB and ex-Red Army military police to work traffic duty for our city, state, and county. Methinks that red light running, speed-limit-sign-illiterate, phone-to-the-ear drivers need the same treatment that political dissidents used to get in the basement of Lubyanka Prison.
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