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A cure for slow drivers? The Left Lane Drivers want to sell you a sticker.

 
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 Dec, 2008 05:16 pm
@ossobuco,
I have big gripes about departments of transportation - very aggressive about moving traffic through cities, above all other considerations, in my view, but.. I figure speed limits are fine tuned, calibrated.

Of course 55 was never really tested, as CA never went down to 45...


I have some small, well, tiny, ok, miniscule, experience re working out horizontal and vertical curves in highway design - enough to know this isn't my design area of choice. Interesting subject in general though (to me).


0 Replies
 
maporsche
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 Dec, 2008 06:51 pm
This whole thread really pissed me off today, but hopefully it will get me off my ass and doing something about it.

I set up a group on Facebook that will hopefully help organize like minded people to speak/write/petition their local governments to clamp down hard on speeders and hopefully lower speed limits in general.

I don't know if I'm really up to organizing/managing something like this. I don't know if there are enough people who agree with me. I don't know a lot about getting laws changed or enforced. But dammit, I'm pissed off that speeding kills 20,000+ people annually each year and everyone seems to shrug it off and laugh about it.

Enough is enough.

If you're so inclined, join the group and let's see if we can make the world a little safer for all of us.
( http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/group.php?gid=43386176119&ref=mf )
0 Replies
 
OCCOM BILL
 
  0  
Reply Wed 10 Dec, 2008 08:14 pm
Unlike Setanta and Map; most states have enough common sense to recognize that driver’s comfort speeds will vary wildly, in various conditions, regardless of what the posted speed limit is. Rather than idiotically pretending this isn't so (like Setanta in his idiotic rant); his much touted "traffic engineers" decided the highways would run smoother if ALL drivers, regardless of their comfort speed followed a simple protocol that makes the highways safer for everyone, regardless of how fast they drive. This can be summed up for any rational person with 5 simple words "slower traffic please keep right".

Even if every driver pegged their cruise control at the posted speed limit (a flat out idiotically idealistic fantasy that only an idiot would endorse); they would still be traveling at different speeds because speedometers are just not that accurate. However; by treating the passing lane like what it is; A PASSING LANE not only will these law abiding citizens be safer; but so too will the pokey people and those who choose to exceed the speed limit alike.

IF all people obeyed this simple courtesy (the Law in most states I've lived in), the roads would be a hell of a lot safer than they are with a bunch of self-righteous A-holes blocking traffic and being as responsible as those that are left with no choice but to pass on the wrong side if they don't wish to bow to the vigilante idiot in front of them.

A line of cars in a lane going a steady 80 mph are a hell of a lot safer than two lanes going 55 with the occasional irate person weaving in and out at 60. This situation requires both the speeder and the selfish A-hole that doesn't have the good sense to get the **** out of the passing lane when there's faster traffic coming from behind.

Since people with any sense at all know speeding isn’t going to suddenly cease; if they really wish to do their part in making the highway safer (listen up, Map), they should follow the commonsense courtesy of passing slower traffic in the PASSING LANE and allowing faster traffic to do the same. This is the best way for an individual to increase the safety of highway travel. Being the self-righteous A-hole who irritates faster drivers into passing on the Right accomplishes quite the opposite. Idea
ossobuco
 
  2  
Reply Wed 10 Dec, 2008 08:27 pm
@OCCOM BILL,
Still, Bill, speed of impact can kill more. I like speed in open space, but get the need for slowing urban traffic down. Not least that some of us can't even begin to walk across the street. (Last time I crossed Coors, I jogged, and didn't quite make it.)

The avarice for speed feeds on itself, and cuts down sanity in urban life, can cut down 'community', as in severing it.


OCCOM BILL
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 Dec, 2008 08:34 pm
@maporsche,
maporsche wrote:

Works best for who?

I doubt you're suggesting that higher speeds work fine for people who get into an accident? Or how about pedestrians? Bicyclists?

I guess the only people I can think of who it works fine for are oil companies, and people who value the 2 minutes extra time they gain at work.
You're not really trying here. Your commute isn't the benchmark highways are designed around. Consider this:

Well designed cities have major arteries to move commuters in and out of the city in VERY high volume. The closer you are to the city, obviously, the more congested the traffic becomes, right?

Next time you're on "The Loop"; take notice of the signs that read, "Minimum Speed 45mph" and ask yourself why they're there? They are there because the slower the traffic moves; the more traffic is occupying a limited amount of space. The faster the traffic moves; the faster the congestion is dispersed onto a greater number of roads (because people aren't all going to the same place.)

Now it doesn't take a genius to figure out what happens when some self righteous A-hole decides to slow the literally thousands of cars behind him down by refusing to show some etiquette and yield the right of way to faster traffic: THE ENTIRE ROAD BECOMES MORE CONGESTED, compounding whatever shortcomings it already has.

Ps. Since you're a Flatlander; I can almost understand that you don't really understand basic driving etiquette. The demented moonscape you folks call a highway system must not be considered worthy (almost understandably so) of teaching Drivers Ed to those who will pay through the nose to use the absurdly neglected thoroughfares. I pity you.
Mame
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 Dec, 2008 08:37 pm
When I moved to West Vancouver and had to cross the Lions Gate Bridge I noticed a phenomenon I've never had explained to me satisfactorily.

You get to the the causeway and there's at least a 5 min bottleneck, often more. But once you get ON the bridge, you can see there's nobody ahead for blocks and blocks. Where did all the bottlenecked cars go?

How does this happen or why?
ossobuco
 
  2  
Reply Wed 10 Dec, 2008 08:38 pm
@ossobuco,
What happens is that the need for moving traffic supercedes all else, certainly including community. I may be older but I'm not the worst jogger. My not being able to cross the road in a timely manner was not from my lag. They f/king presume there will be no pedestrians. What is on one side, to the west, are growing amoebae of track housing, near infinitum... with the odd shopping plaza on the river side. (I've no idea how this will work, one grocery store for a zillion houses?) Meantime, those people in all those tract houses must have cars to cross the stupid street.

Meantime, traffic speed on the road is primary.


0 Replies
 
OCCOM BILL
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 Dec, 2008 08:42 pm
@ossobuco,
ossobuco wrote:

Still, Bill, speed of impact can kill more. I like speed in open space, but get the need for slowing urban traffic down. Not least that some of us can't even begin to walk across the street. (Last time I crossed Coors, I jogged, and didn't quite make it.)

The avarice for speed feeds on itself, and cuts down sanity in urban life, can cut down 'community', as in severing it.
You make a very compelling point for taking steps to slow down urban traffic. I am mostly commenting on places where passing lanes exist and exist for good reason. Doesn’t really apply on the urban city street.
CalamityJane
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 Dec, 2008 08:43 pm
@ossobuco,
ossobuco wrote:

Still, Bill, speed of impact can kill more.


I think drunk drivers generate more of an ugly statistic than speeders on a highway.

Maposche, if anything I would put an effort into raising the eligible driving
age to 18 and pleat for better drivers education. 30 traffic questions and driving around the block just don't prepare anyone for the road.
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 Dec, 2008 08:51 pm
@OCCOM BILL,
Then we probably agree.

I'm sort of beside myself re the blindness of albuquerque traffic engineers/urban planners. Beyond bizarre, past traffic issues. I could go on, but never mind.
I should just dress up one day and show up at their offices.

LA had this highway thing, to some extent - I lived by Lincoln Blvd, a state highway to LAX that bisected neighborhoods, but it wasn't anything like trying to get across Coors.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  2  
Reply Wed 10 Dec, 2008 09:00 pm
@CalamityJane,
I disagree with that, respectfully, CJane. If you cannot cross the street, you cut off whole neighborhoods.

Something more than a year ago, I left my car at Discount Tire (I'm a fan, but never mind) and while I waited, decided to make my way to the shopping plaza across the road. On my way to the plaza, I (jogging) was frightened. On my way back across the road after visiting the shops, the crossing looked shorter at that end of the shopping plaza, so I jogged at the signal to get to ... nowhere. No sidewalk.

F. So I went back to the signal at the other end with the run for hell lights.


The need for highway speed affects a lot of decisions, and much of it is stupid, re any kind of progression for anyone.

I suppose it is too late for me to be appointed head of traffic design.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 Dec, 2008 09:29 pm
@OCCOM BILL,
When I used to drive from, say, Sonoma to Arcata - it was luxurious, although of course dangerous in December, but never mind... luxurious, in that it was mostly only you. There were two mile segments of only two lane roads, two including both ways. You knew that going in, and accommodated. Plenty of passing lanes, and plenty of turn offs. Maybe the best highway design I've ever seen, except of course for whachacallit hill, Confusion Hill.

Why do I post this? I think there was sharp highway design going on there, even with the problems with hanging roads on cliffs.

The road plans alleviated some of the natural blow up points - to me. Someone knew what they were doing with the pacing of the turnouts and lane changes.

I may dump on Abq road designers, but I'm not against all a'them.



0 Replies
 
shewolfnm
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 Dec, 2008 09:34 pm
@OCCOM BILL,
OCCOM BILL wrote:

Consider this:
Well designed cities have major arteries to move commuters in and out of the city in VERY high volume. The closer you are to the city, obviously, the more congested the traffic becomes, right?
Next time you're on "The Loop"; take notice of the signs that read, "Minimum Speed 45mph" and ask yourself why they're there? They are there because the slower the traffic moves; the more traffic is occupying a limited amount of space. The faster the traffic moves; the faster the congestion is dispersed onto a greater number of roads (because people aren't all going to the same place.)


Im chuckling to myself here.
I -honestly- never knew that. And now that I think about it.. it makes perfect freaking sense.

And it also answers the questions of the phantom stops on the highway.
It is like dropping a stone into a quiet creek.
That ripple goes back for a loooong time. Someone has to tap on their breaks to stay safe from someone in the wrong lane.. everyone behind him for several minutes will be doing the same thing to slow down.


**** it.
Im walking. Laughing
0 Replies
 
Wy
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 Dec, 2008 01:21 am
@DrewDad,
DD, I've heard that people are taught to stop at the end of the onramp in Denver. That was years ago, though, they may have wised up by now.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 Dec, 2008 06:37 am
@OCCOM BILL,
When it comes to idiotic, there is no doubt that given your natural proclivity, you are the expert. However, you are certainly no expert in determining what people's attitudes are. At no time has what i have written in this thread been a rant, and in fact, i have mostly been having fun here with people, pulling legs and taking the piss.

I don't expect you to understand that though, because in terms of your omnibus comprehension (so you would have us believe), you are a legend in your own mind.
Bella Dea
 
  0  
Reply Thu 11 Dec, 2008 07:17 am
@maporsche,
Quote:
Works best for who?

I doubt you're suggesting that higher speeds work fine for people who get into an accident? Or how about pedestrians? Bicyclists?

I guess the only people I can think of who it works fine for are oil companies, and people who value the 2 minutes extra time they gain at work.


For everyone on the road (minus bicyclists and pedistrians who are not on express ways any way)

If everyone is going 80 and you are going 70, it screws with the flow of traffic and can CAUSE accidents.
0 Replies
 
curtis73
 
  3  
Reply Fri 12 Dec, 2008 11:25 am
@Mame,
Quote:
When I moved to West Vancouver and had to cross the Lions Gate Bridge I noticed a phenomenon I've never had explained to me satisfactorily.

You get to the the causeway and there's at least a 5 min bottleneck, often more. But once you get ON the bridge, you can see there's nobody ahead for blocks and blocks. Where did all the bottlenecked cars go?

How does this happen or why


As a former traffic helicopter co-pilot, I feel qualified to answer that one.

Heavy traffic moves much like a caterpillar. Imagine an entire string of cars like toy cars connected with a little rubber bands. Pull on the front car and it moves a couple inches before moving the second car, and likewise on down the line. A moving line of cars is 3 times longer than a stopped line of cars.

So, in moving traffic, something causes a bottle neck. An entrance to a bridge, a tunnel, someone touches their brakes which causes the car behind them to slow down, a cardboard box in the road... whatever. It starts the caterpillar effect. Cars back up before the restriction, then spread out after it.

When on car taps its brakes, the car behind slows down, which causes the car behind THAT car to slow down. I've seen it thousands of times from above. One person taps their brakes in moving rush hour traffic, its enough to cause a bottleneck right there for the next hour. You've described the same thing; you're driving along in stop and go, then for no reason, traffic just starts moving at a certain point. That's why.

Here's the bottom line and there is no getting around this because its fact. Scientists, mathematicians, and statisticians have known this since the 40s and it is undisputable. Maporsche, Setanta, and others on the "slow-down" bandwagon are making incorrect assumptions based on their own vigilante ignorance. OccomBill has the best grasp on this topic so far.

Moving traffic uses the hourglass principle. If every grain of sand were identical, it wouldn't work. They would find a way to clog up the hole in the hourglass. Every grain of sand is different, and therefore they move at different speeds, different patterns, and different success rates.

To say that there is one magic safe speed is just hilarious. How about the 18-year old girl breaking up with her boyfriend on the cell phone in the left lane in daddy's new SUV that she's only driven twice? Compare that with the focused 40-year old in a 2007 Camry in the next lane, and the 80-year old in a 1965 pickup with manual drum brakes and bad ball joints. Do you really think they are all capable of safely travelling the same speed? And what gives you the right to enforce the law?

You are confusing legality with morality. Its not your right to tell me how to drive. If the law enforcement agency wants to disagree, they can write me a ticket. You, on the other hand, do not have the right to clog traffic, prevent me from getting to the hospital when my wife is in labor, or tell me to slow down. Not only do you not have the right, ITS ILLEGAL IN 39 STATES. It is illegal to travel in the left lane UNLESS you are passing a vehicle. That means you must be actively engaged in going faster than another vehicle in the lane to your right, and then you have the LEGAL OBLIGATION to clear the left lane once you have put a safe distance between you and the vehicle you passed. Its the law. Another thing you don't realize is that ITS ILLEGAL TO PASS ON THE RIGHT in most states, so when you refuse to get your fat-ass SUV out of the left lane because you're talking to Gladys about her meatloaf recipe on the cell phone, you are forcing me to pass on the right and simply break another law.

So, while I'm participating in safely driving 65 in a 65, and you're in the left lane doing 63 for no reason and you see me come up behind you, consider that the LAW is on my side, YOU are breaking the law, and you are congesting traffic and possibly creating accident hazzards.

Slow doesn't prevent accidents. The way to prevent accidents is to drive so that you don't ever cause another driver to have to alter their driving. Don't merge into a lane if it would cause the driver behind you to slow down. Don't change lanes unless you have to. DON'T DRIVE IN THE LEFT LANE. Of course the traffic pattern has to change for wildlife in the road, stop lights, weather, etc, but if the traffic pattern never changed... if you never caused anyone to change their speed or alter their course and if everyone else did the same, there would be no traffic collisions.

That is fact, it has been tested, proven, and reproven over 70 years of traffic study, and its why those 39 states have made it illegal to travel in the left lane. It shocks me how little people remember from their driver training and testing. That fact is IN THE DRIVER'S MANUAL of almost every state. For Maporsche and Setanta to argue to the contrary is pretty laughable.
maporsche
 
  2  
Reply Fri 12 Dec, 2008 11:42 am
@curtis73,
Curtis, you're not reading what I've written very carefully.

I'm not advocating going below the speed limit in the fast lane. I'm saying that IF I'm going the speed limit than I'm allowed to be in the fast lane.

Those that are going ABOVE the speed limit are in the wrong.

If I'm going 65 in a 65 and you roll up behind me going 70 the law is on MY side.


I agree that if someone is going 35 in a 65 they are more likely to cause an accident.

However, if someone is going 95 in a 65 they are just as likely to cause an accident, AND that accident would be MUCH more deadly.
curtis73
 
  1  
Reply Fri 12 Dec, 2008 11:46 am
Oh... and by the way...

Speed limits are not arbitrary, their purpose is twofold. First, its politically correct to make it appear as though the municipality is limiting speed to protect its citizens. It has become immoral to speed thanks to the legal system's ability to confuse legality and morality. Second, it was originally designed in the 30's as a means of municipal income, not as a safety measure.

To the engineers, we kinda laugh at municipalities. They put great thought into what speeds they want and what would be safe for all the little children. We stand back, let them do the work, try to tell them the folly of their ways, and then just end up doing what they want anyway. Not having speed limits implies that there would be more accidents, and that wouldn't be a politically correct thing for a governing body to do.

And, for the record... the deadliest highway in the US is the 405 freeway in Los Angeles with a speed limit of 55. The safest highway in the WORLD is the Autobahn with no speed limit. Why? Driver training. It takes nearly $16,000 and months of training before you can get your license in some European countries, and the penalties are VERY stiff if you cause an accident.

The penalty for driving in the left lane on the Autobahn? $5500 and the loss of your license. And its the safest road in the world.
CalamityJane
 
  1  
Reply Fri 12 Dec, 2008 12:09 pm
@curtis73,
Quote:
And, for the record... the deadliest highway in the US is the 405 freeway in Los Angeles with a speed limit of 55. The safest highway in the WORLD is the Autobahn with no speed limit. Why? Driver training. It takes nearly $16,000 and months of training before you can get your license in some European countries, and the penalties are VERY stiff if you cause an accident.

The penalty for driving in the left lane on the Autobahn? $5500 and the loss of your license. And its the safest road in the world.


I can attest to that, having gotten my driver license in Germany, besides
having additional driver training offered by the German AAA where you're
taught how to drive in icy conditions, avoiding sudden objects on the road,
and so on....

As I said before, a more extensive driver education is much needed in this
country. This is even more important than enforcing the speed limit.
 

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