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Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by RedShark, Jul 17, 2013.
Where ought they be?
What do you consider the correct distance between stopped cars to be?
Lots of truck traffic on the urban 2-laners around here.
People have learned to lay back from the white line in the left turn lane for exactly this reason.
I don't count to three, but I do look.
Lots of red light runners here over the past few years.
Incredibly inconvenient when you are behind him at a light and a tad overdoing it IMHO, but certainly not an idiot. The first 3 seconds of green light are when the red light runners from the crossing direction come racing through.
I have started pausing before I go, I use the time to double check for red light runners. Amazingly I have had 3 or 4 of them zip through the light since I started doing this, not sure there would have been an impact had I not waited, but I am glad that I did. If you can't wait the 1.5 seconds it takes me to count to three, check , and start moving you need to leave earlier...
I didn't read all the responses so, if 205 I deserve it.....
It is because of the insurance industry. They preach to all that it is safe practice to stop at a point where you can still see the rear tires of the vehicle ahead of you. The reason is so that if someone rear ends you while you are stopped you won't roll forward enough to hit the vehicle ahead of you, increasing the damage to the vehicle and exacerbating the whiplash potential of the incident.
My mother was required to take an insurance mandated driving course a couple years ago in order to drive her husbands company owned vehicle. "Minding the gap" was one of the key points she started to practice after the course.
I have also heard/read of this same thing in other insurance company driving safety publications.
Respectfully, This is a bunch of bullshit. There is no Good place to do "it" at all!
PAYING ATTENTION TO ALL AROUND YOU IS IMPERATIVE TO DRIVING A VEHICLE. AND.....if you insist on going slower than traffic MOVE THE FUCK OVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
As I and others have stated - I always just understood it to be about the distance you need to not be 'trapped' - so in GENERAL traffic about 6 feet back, plus or minus 1 standard deviation. Which is to say, fuck, I dunno - but 20 feet in commuter traffic seems excess and I see it regularly.
I was just wondering if I missed the memo.
As for those tuned-out folks doing 50-55 in a center lane with heavy traffic sailing past at speed on both sides - yeah, you see that in SoCAL, a lot on the 5 - where everyone else is doing 70+, You have to wonder what the Hell they are thinking in that vehicle with this maelstrom of steel, rubber and glass wizzing past them like a rushing tumult. I'd be terrified myself. I once had a rented F650 that developed an electrical issue between Garda and Firenze, and wouldn't go over about 80kph, so I got the heck OFF the AutoStrada (Italian turnpike) and completed the trip on back roads.
Had one of the best rides of the trip.
I was taught in driver's ed over 30-years ago to stop far enough back to see the bottom of the bumper of the car in front of you. The reason was so you weren't trapped if the car ahead broke down, or if someone tried to carjack you. It allows room to escape, if needed.
Around 20 years ago I was taught to do the same, not for the carjacking reason though. For that, we were taught to use the door locks.
However, for safety reasons and to aid in extraction in case of a wreck, once you are up to freeway speed, you unlock the doors.
Seeing the bumper vs. contact patch of the tires (insurance industry recommendation) is quite a different thing and really adds up if everyone is doing it.
The turning radius of cars has dramatically changed since then though. With some of todays cars you could stop in the gap once left by others and still maneuver around the car in front of you. Not so much with those boats, without power steering, you old fuckers once drove....
Hey, watch it pal. or I'll flash my high-beams at you with the switch on the floor...
Why did they get rid of those? They were cool!
Those disappeared on their own. The switch went thru the floor onto the highway when the floor boards rusted thru.
Keep in mind that many a modern stoplight and vehicle don't mix well with where the white line is painted.
I'm guessing that it may be something more than ineptitude... it may be that drivers have finally figured out that the neck strain, or just not seeing the light, isn't worth the hassle vs. stopping back a ways to be able to see the light from a normal driver's position.
It may be, too, that too many have seen accidents at crossing and just want to sit the hell back from it all.
I know I learned something else that I'm sure annoys the shit out of some younger drivers when I was commuting home from work one day... yeah, that's now me who waits about 3 seconds before starting off through a green light. I've seen what red-light runners can do to a car just ahead of me, so on the bike I'll wait for the fools to run that red, and take the time to look both ways as I'm waiting.
Being able to move out of the way isn't just a car jacking thing, I've seen, on countless occasions, a lane of traffic 20 + cars long that can't move because the car at the front has stalled inexplicably and nobody has left sufficient room to go around.
I'll admit that there are times when it is annoying that people leave so much room, especially when there isn't much room between lights, and they are timed poorly so that people can't go through more than one light, and people get a green and can't go because there is no room on the other side for them.
And here's something to really grind everyone's gears. I used to drive a tow truck for a living, and we used to have a contract with one of the big utility companies, so I had opportunity to talk to a lot of the meter readers. Turns out that when they get hired they go through a training course about safe driving practices, a large company that apparently trains a large number of companies around the country.
Anyway, in this class they teach that because the right lane is the lane where a lot of people are getting on and off, and a number of people will realize that they are at their exit and slam on their brakes, the "Safe Driving Practice" is to never drive in the right hand lane, no matter their speed. That's right, with most of the freeways around here being 2 lane, they are required to drive in the left hand lane, and the company is very strict about speeding. So, most of the time, they are doing less than the speed limit, in the left lane. Company policy.
I always stay WAY back when at lights. Actually I try to slow far before the light so I spend as little time stopped as possible. There are far too many texters and I do lots of things to keep from being rammed. Staying WAY back allows me to move forward once they finally wake up and slam on the brakes. I also flash my brake lights. Only once one or two cars are stopped behind me will I move forward. My practice does not reduce the number of cars that can make it through a light because on green I accelerate at the SAME TIME as the cars before me.
As for driving slowly in the left lane, sometimes I do it. I often have a 4 second gap in from of me but my forward progress is stalled by a multi lane multi car deep slug of traffic and solid traffic beside me. In that case there is no reason for me to "move over" just so someone can try and thread/tailgate the way through while eliminating my safety gap in the process. The driver(s)/semi(s) causing the slug should move out of left lane but just because they are pacing us and someone wants to tailgate them does not mean I should move over causing a reduction in my safety cushion.
Additionally, there is no good reason for me to move right when it means taking the safety gap from the car in the right lane next to me. I wait to move over until the car beside me is at least as far back as the one behind me AND I will be at least 2 seconds ahead of the car in the right lane. I hate when folks pass me going one mile an hour faster then me then IMMEDIATELY clear the left lane while cutting my safety cushion from 4 seconds to 1/2 a second. In the rain that behavior becomes especially obnoxious and dangerous.
Yes, move over when safe. Yes stay right as much as is safe. But moving over is often less safe when done too soon or when the traffic ahead is blocked.
I get to split lanes legally, this lets me see into the cars to see what is causing all of this poor driving...98% of the cars that do something crazy... slow to 40 mph suddenly on the freeway, stop short at lights, come flying down the road and suddenly match my speed...you've seen them...they're all texting, solid 98%...the other 2% are Asian.