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Idle musings on car safety.

Passion, instruction, buying, care, maintenance and more, any form of vehicle discussion is welcome here
DrFfybes
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Idle musings on car safety.

#273869

Postby DrFfybes » December 29th, 2019, 5:16 pm

After arriving back from 800+ miles over the last week with no ABS, airbags, traction control, auto braking, lane stray warning, cruise control, or any of the other driver "aids" developed over the last 30 years, it seems it is possible to drive without them. Obviously this requires some restraint, and a gentle 60-70 in the inside lane is more relaxing having largely only to concentrate on vehicles on one side (although incredibly tedious).

We managed this despite the best efforts of the girl in the French registered Peugeot in lanes 1 and 2 of the M5 applying lipstick, or the Gregory's HGV in the long 50 limit from Birmingham to Manchester who figured 3 feet was a reasonable following distance (even though we were in lane 1), or the alarming number of people who went past and then desperately cut back in to lane 1 in front of us about 4 car lengths away, often then braking, which usually turned out to be their safe way of checking their phones when we went back past again. etc etc.

However it did make me think about modern vehicles with their features, and the data logging and telematics available.

I propose that all new vehicles are fitted with dataloggers, which record when any safety features kick in and save the driver. These are added up and scored, so regular users of these features get points and insurance premium hikes as if they had had the accident that was avoided. Distance cruise control could measure when following too close, the possibilities are endless.

there does seem to be a large element of "my car has XYZ to get me out of a pickle" so let's discourage people from relying on these features.

FWIW I had ABS kick in once, about 20 years ago, when someone decided that going straight ahead on a dual carraigeway meant entering the roundabout in lane 2 and exiting in lane 1.

Paul

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Re: Idle musings on car safety.

#273877

Postby PrincessB » December 29th, 2019, 6:21 pm

I agree with your sentiment.

Most new drivers locally need to have a black box fitted in order to get somewhere nearing affording their insurance.

I've never looked too far into the details of devices recording parameters, it clearly knows where you are, the speed limit of the road you're on and how hard you are braking and cornering.

Essentially, you start each month with a score of something like 1000 points, and each time you do something weird, you'll lose points - Should your driving standard be poor enough, the insurance company have the options of increasing the monthly payment or cancelling your insurance.

It is an odd experience to drive the kids car with the knowledge that you're being rated on your driving with no regard to the road conditions - I've heard stories of the parents needing to borrow the kids car and driving in the manner they are used to. The next day, the child is complaining as their driver rating has gone down dramatically after mum took their car to the supermarket.

These are added up and scored, so regular users of these features get points and insurance premium hikes as if they had had the accident that was avoided.


Great point,

One of the companies I deal with does a lot of business with the high risk drivers. Even with the black box fitted, these are the kind of people who drive with little regard for anything and the staff say that they have to phone weekly to increase the premium and ask why they can't calm down - The response is that they really don't care.

After arriving back from 800+ miles over the last week with no ABS, airbags, traction control, auto braking, lane stray warning, cruise control, or any of the other driver "aids" developed over the last 30 years, it seems it is possible to drive without them.


I prefer discrete systems within the car - I have huge reservations on running the entire cars systems on something that might as well be a PC.

I've got my required features on my car - Anti lock brakes, air-con and power steering - These are things I'd not live without, the rest are a bonus. As my next new car will be electric, I'm guessing that the car also knows this and will crack 150,000 miles before giving up.

Regards,

B.

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Re: Idle musings on car safety.

#273942

Postby bungeejumper » December 30th, 2019, 9:43 am

Not a bad idea at all. It would clear all the Impreza drivers off the roads in a couple of weeks. :lol:

FWIW I had ABS kick in once, about 20 years ago, when someone decided that going straight ahead on a dual carraigeway meant entering the roundabout in lane 2 and exiting in lane 1.

Okay, I might disagree with you on that one, if only because ABS is capable of saving you in situations when the roads have unreasonably taken against you. (It doesn't need to be black ice or spilled diesel, either, neither of which is visible at night.) I remember having to cross a daily set of traffic lights in High Wycombe where the surface was glassy-smooth and cratered with potholes, and where any attempt to touch the brakes in even vaguely damp weather would send at least one wheel into skid mode and the thud-ud-ud-ud-ud-ud would kick in . You could, of course, have traversed the crossroads at a dead-safe 5 mph, but your ears would soon be ringing with the sound of abusive horn-blowing. :D (High Wycombe is that kind of a place.)

I've also had to use ABS perhaps twice in serious accident-evasion mode. Once because some go-faster eejit had carved me up on the M25 so that he could then brake hard and take the next exit, 20 yards down the road. And the second time when a huge great overtaking campervan on the M5 suddenly flipped over in the outside lane and then skidded its way across to the hard shoulder on its side, showering sparks and scattering bicycles and automotive debris all the way. It was an impressive light-show while it lasted. More importantly, though, the fact that nobody had been hurt was a tribute to all the safety construction features that we take for granted in modern vehicles. Fifty years ago, when my mates and I drove across southern Europe in a 1967 VW campervan, that sort of a mishap might not have been survivable. :(

BJ

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Re: Idle musings on car safety.

#274036

Postby sg31 » December 30th, 2019, 4:53 pm

My car is 3 years old and has automatic handbrake, hill start, cruise control, automatic lights , traction control and ABS. It might also have a few others I can't remember.

I'd be much happier without most of them. ABS and traction control are probably ok but I never had them in the past and didn't feel I needed them. I hate the automatic handbrake, it means I have to be really careful if I drive my wifes car, which has a manual handbrake, incase I forget to apply it when I park. Automatic lights, why, I can turn the lights on when it gets dark.

I do use cruise control occasionally but I am quite capable of driving within the speed limit without it.

I worry about losing the skills I've learned in over 45 years of driving. I'd rather have a car without all the 'extras' but I don't want the unreliability of an older car.

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Re: Idle musings on car safety.

#274045

Postby staffordian » December 30th, 2019, 5:48 pm

The one item I never thought I'd find useful but actually use quite regularly is the speed limiter. Very handy on motorways with roadworks, especially those with 50mph limits and average speed cameras, as well as for urban areas with speed cameras.

I also tend to use it on A roads, to set my cruising speed around 65mph max, which suits me fine and is more economical than pushing 70, as it's all too easy in a modern car to creep up to 70+ almost without realising.

On the other hand, cruise control, which I always thought would be handy, I almost never use.

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Re: Idle musings on car safety.

#274048

Postby bungeejumper » December 30th, 2019, 5:57 pm

sg31 wrote:I hate the automatic handbrake, it means I have to be really careful if I drive my wifes car, which has a manual handbrake, incase I forget to apply it when I park. Automatic lights, why, I can turn the lights on when it gets dark.

I do use cruise control occasionally but I am quite capable of driving within the speed limit without it.

Agreed. ABS and traction control are probably saving too many lives to be easily consigned to the realms of "lazy man's go-faster gadget". Most of their good work goes unrecognised, because, well, you just drive away after your death-defying escape and nobody ever records it. :roll: Which is why Dr F's idea of docking a microscopic portion of a licence point for each usage would probably be useful as long as it didn't penalise high-mileage drivers too inappropriately.

Electronic handbrakes are the work of Satan himself, and iffy hill-starts are just about the only thing I don't miss about my old Passat - which did indeed dump me on an alien road with a seized electronic caliper. (In the rain, at night, with a small child on board who needed a wee.) Yes, I get it that the fair sex find the old-style ratchet handbrakes too heavy to use, but surely to god, somebody must have invented something better by now?

Automatic headlights, automatic wipers - toys for the terminally incompetent. Automatic lane-following devices might have their uses, but maybe we'd be better off if they wound down the windows and turned on the aircon at super-chill for half an hour to wake up the dozy drivers?

Living in the busy south of England, I have repeatedly failed to find any situation in which cruise control has been useful for more than half a minute or so. I set the motorway speed to 50 at the contraflow, and within a quarter of a mile the traffic is bunching and jostling and I need to touch it up or down. Only on the continent do I ever get to engage cruise for any meaningful length of time. :(

And another thing. Why is it that every car I've owned recently has a different set of button/stalk operations for cruise control? So if I want to increase my CC speed by 5 mph, do I (a) press the lever up once, or (b) five times), or (c) down once, or (d) five times? Or will one of those actions cancel the CC altogether? There seems to be know way of knowing in advance.

In short, I'm another person like sg31 who would be asking myself some serious questions as to whether I was fit to drive if I needed to rely on these gizmos on any kind of a day-in/day-out basis. Do we want our drivers to be conscious and alert, or don't we?

BJ

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Re: Idle musings on car safety.

#274056

Postby AF62 » December 30th, 2019, 6:54 pm

sg31 wrote:My car is 3 years old and has automatic handbrake, hill start, cruise control, automatic lights , traction control and ABS. It might also have a few others I can't remember.

I'd be much happier without most of them. ABS and traction control are probably ok but I never had them in the past and didn't feel I needed them. I hate the automatic handbrake, it means I have to be really careful if I drive my wifes car, which has a manual handbrake, incase I forget to apply it when I park. Automatic lights, why, I can turn the lights on when it gets dark.

I do use cruise control occasionally but I am quite capable of driving within the speed limit without it.

I worry about losing the skills I've learned in over 45 years of driving. I'd rather have a car without all the 'extras' but I don't want the unreliability of an older car.


Completely disagree.

ABS and ESP have been mandated by law on new cars for some years because they save so many lives.

Automatic handbrake - quite happy with the one on my car, and it does have some benefits over the manual version.

Automatic lights - you might turn yours on, but why do I always manage to see someone who forgot if it is so easy? Disliking the front only DRLs I reprogrammed my car to the Scandinavian setting so the rear lights are on during the day as well as the DRLs.

Automatic wipers - on a wet motorway I can place all concentration on the road, rather than constantly increasing and decreasing the speed of the wipers.

Cruise control - I use it all the time as the version on my car is adaptive cruise control so uses radar to keep an appropriate distance with the car in front, speeding up or slowing down as required. It is particularly good in average speed zones in motorway roadworks - dial up the speed and sit back and relax.

Speed limiter - again, dial up the speed limit in town and now I can concentrate fully on the road.

Front and rear parking sensors - I can park without, but it makes life easier. Same as the nearside door mirror which automatically tilts down when reversing - it just helps. And again automatic dipping rear view mirror - saves me needing to bother flicking a switch.

I do remember driving when it was drum brakes all around with no servo assistance, headlights which were like two candles, ineffective heaters which wouldn't demist the car, fixed seatbelts in the front (if you were lucky), etc, etc. I find it far far more enjoyable driving now, knowing that if there is a hidden patch of water around the next corner, it will not trouble me at all instead of it putting me in a ditch as it would have done in the past.

bungeejumper wrote:Living in the busy south of England, I have repeatedly failed to find any situation in which cruise control has been useful for more than half a minute or so. I set the motorway speed to 50 at the contraflow, and within a quarter of a mile the traffic is bunching and jostling and I need to touch it up or down. Only on the continent do I ever get to engage cruise for any meaningful length of time. :(


Standard cruise control I would agree with you. But with adaptive cruise control you set 50 in the contraflow and if the traffic bunches then the car slows down maintaining a safe distance (which you can change to be larger of smaller), and then when the traffic speeds up the car automatically speeds back up.

I drove 150 miles on Saturday mostly on motorways with lots of roadworks and traffic. Cruise control was on from the moment I joined on the slip road until I left, with speed only being tweaked according to the speed limit and not the traffic.

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Re: Idle musings on car safety.

#274151

Postby bungeejumper » December 31st, 2019, 9:28 am

Some sobering, and I suspect realistic, reservations on the subject from Thatcham and Euro NCAP. The problems are not so much that the technology is iffy (although adaptive cruise control can get it hideously wrong in some traffic situations) - rather, it's that drivers are stupid enough to let the technology do the driving. And that manufacturers are over-egging their claims about what the cars can do, and who's responsible if they mess it up.

https://www.autoexpress.co.uk/car-news/ ... rous-false

I'd have believed all this of the United States - I still remember the reports about the driver who crashed her motorhome because she was out at the back of the van making a cup of coffee when she ran out of road :shock: - but to find the UK research bodies agreeing was a bit of a surprise. Looks like we're back to driver education, then?

BJ

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Re: Idle musings on car safety.

#274181

Postby jfgw » December 31st, 2019, 11:31 am

AF62 wrote:Automatic lights - you might turn yours on, but why do I always manage to see someone who forgot if it is so easy?

Because idiot designers have come up with the stupid idea of having the dashboard lights come on as soon as the door is unlocked, and they stay on all the time the car is being driven. Every car that I had driven in the past had the dashboard lights linked to the side light circuit so, if the side lights were off, the dashboard lights would be off. This provided a very clear indication of whether or not my lights were on. Years of conditioning went down the pan when I bought my current car in which I could happily drive at night with my lights off but my brain would think that they were on. There is a green symbol which lights up but this is not as obvious as the entire dashboard. I think it is a case of adding complication "because they can", like those aweful, annoying "bargraph" type indicators.

Julian F. G. W.

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Re: Idle musings on car safety.

#274193

Postby Lanark » December 31st, 2019, 12:25 pm

All of these new gizmos are very good but another aspect is that cars are getting larger and heavier every year.

ABS brakes are brilliant, but if the car weighs twice as much then some basic physics are still going to dictate the stopping distance.

In an accident between a larger and a smaller vehicle, then all other things being equal the occupants of the larger vehicle will come out better off.

SUVs do a great job of protecting their occupants but its not such a pretty picture for pedestrians and cyclists.

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Re: Idle musings on car safety.

#274214

Postby Lootman » December 31st, 2019, 1:51 pm

DrFfybes wrote: a gentle 60-70 in the inside lane is more relaxing having largely only to concentrate on vehicles on one side

The most relaxing way to drive is actually to do 60-70 in the middle lane, as you don't have to worry about traffic on either side. It just doesn't make you very popular with people who want to break the speed limit without changing lane.

I learned decades ago that if I drive at a moderate speed, I would not need a rest stop, and so my average speed actually increased, whilst my blood pressure decreased.
Lanark wrote:SUVs do a great job of protecting their occupants but its not such a pretty picture for pedestrians and cyclists.

Yes, they sell partly on greater safety and visibility for the driver and passengers. They definitely do more damage in impacts with cyclists and pedestrians. But then most people care about their own safety more than that of strangers. Size is a safety feature and I never feel totally safe in a small car.

The other most useful safety device is audio satnav. It means I don't try and read a map or catch a street name whilst I should be paying attention to the road.

Otherwise I prefer to avoid vehicles with too many gimmicks and devices. Which means I usually drive old vehicles.

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Re: Idle musings on car safety.

#274238

Postby swill453 » December 31st, 2019, 3:42 pm

Lootman wrote:The most relaxing way to drive is actually to do 60-70 in the middle lane, as you don't have to worry about traffic on either side. It just doesn't make you very popular with people who want to break the speed limit without changing lane.

If you're doing 60 in the middle lane when lane 1 is clear, you're inconveniencing anyone who wants to overtake you. You've reduced the available overtaking space by half. If two or three overtakers are approaching you've actually caused congestion needlessly.

(I know you fully expected someone to take this bait, happy to oblige. Hopefully a careless driving ticket or two will come back at you :-) )

Scott.

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Re: Idle musings on car safety.

#274242

Postby Lootman » December 31st, 2019, 4:01 pm

swill453 wrote:
Lootman wrote:The most relaxing way to drive is actually to do 60-70 in the middle lane, as you don't have to worry about traffic on either side. It just doesn't make you very popular with people who want to break the speed limit without changing lane.

If you're doing 60 in the middle lane when lane 1 is clear, you're inconveniencing anyone who wants to overtake you. You've reduced the available overtaking space by half. If two or three overtakers are approaching you've actually caused congestion needlessly.

(I know you fully expected someone to take this bait, happy to oblige. Hopefully a careless driving ticket or two will come back at you :-) )

I did say it would not make you popular. My point was restricted to "relaxation".

Anyway in practice someone would only do that if the "slow" lane was full of trucks, which it often is, at least where I drive. So there ends up being a truck lane, a cruising lane and a "fast" lane. That said I prefer the American system where you can "pass either side".

I've only had one non-parking ticket in my life - for going the wrong way down a one-way street, and that was 40 years ago. And only one accident, minor. There's nothing wrong with my driving.

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Re: Idle musings on car safety.

#274245

Postby AsleepInYorkshire » December 31st, 2019, 4:10 pm

DrFfybes wrote:After arriving back from 800+ miles over the last week with no ABS, airbags, traction control, auto braking, lane stray warning, cruise control, or any of the other driver "aids" developed over the last 30 years, it seems it is possible to drive without them. Obviously this requires some restraint, and a gentle 60-70 in the inside lane is more relaxing having largely only to concentrate on vehicles on one side (although incredibly tedious).

We managed this despite the best efforts of the girl in the French registered Peugeot in lanes 1 and 2 of the M5 applying lipstick, or the Gregory's HGV in the long 50 limit from Birmingham to Manchester who figured 3 feet was a reasonable following distance (even though we were in lane 1), or the alarming number of people who went past and then desperately cut back in to lane 1 in front of us about 4 car lengths away, often then braking, which usually turned out to be their safe way of checking their phones when we went back past again. etc etc.

However it did make me think about modern vehicles with their features, and the data logging and telematics available.

I propose that all new vehicles are fitted with dataloggers, which record when any safety features kick in and save the driver. These are added up and scored, so regular users of these features get points and insurance premium hikes as if they had had the accident that was avoided. Distance cruise control could measure when following too close, the possibilities are endless.

there does seem to be a large element of "my car has XYZ to get me out of a pickle" so let's discourage people from relying on these features.

FWIW I had ABS kick in once, about 20 years ago, when someone decided that going straight ahead on a dual carraigeway meant entering the roundabout in lane 2 and exiting in lane 1.

Paul

Could we wish for a black box which records tailgaters and sends the information directly to the police please?

Also undertaking & speeding please.

AiYn'U (Really fed up (but not the point of swearing :lol: - suffering succotash ) of tailgaters

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Re: Idle musings on car safety.

#274249

Postby Lootman » December 31st, 2019, 4:32 pm

AsleepInYorkshire wrote:Could we wish for a black box which records tailgaters and sends the information directly to the police please?

Also undertaking & speeding please.

AiYn'U (Really fed up (but not the point of swearing :lol: - suffering succotash ) of tailgaters

Tailgating is the quid pro quo for what we were discussing above - those driving below the limit who don't keep left. The one engenders the other.

On the other hand undertaking doesn't bother me at all. It's perfectly legal in some jurisdictions without undue problems. I think the issue in the UK is more that we are not used to it, rather than any intrinsic risk.

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Re: Idle musings on car safety.

#274255

Postby Dod101 » December 31st, 2019, 4:52 pm

For car equipment, I take ABS and the like for granted. I have an auto switch for my lights, and it just stays at auto. Problem re lights on or off solved. What I could not do without is my cruise control. I live in semi rural Scotland where on the whole the traffic is not very heavy so it works very well.

On the subject of lane discipline, I use the A9 regularly and it has average speed cameras. On my stretch the speed limit is 70 mph and I can certainly set my cruise control at 72/3 mph with no problems, until that is, I come across a car in the outside lane (there are only two lanes in each direction) doing 68/9 mph, content that they are within the speed limit and oblivious to the fact that the inside lane is more or less empty. If they will not move over I take up a position in the inside lane and undertake them. Sometimes there is no reaction from the other driver but sometimes it seems to enrage them with much flashing of lights etc. I just carry on at my usual 72/3 and they usually fall back into the distance. They I think are committing an offence but then I suppose so am I but there are seldom any police around anyway. Even Lootman should be in the nearside lane if it is available,

Dod

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Re: Idle musings on car safety.

#274278

Postby Lootman » December 31st, 2019, 5:57 pm

Dod101 wrote:On the subject of lane discipline, I use the A9 regularly and it has average speed cameras. On my stretch the speed limit is 70 mph and I can certainly set my cruise control at 72/3 mph with no problems, until that is, I come across a car in the outside lane (there are only two lanes in each direction) doing 68/9 mph, content that they are within the speed limit and oblivious to the fact that the inside lane is more or less empty. If they will not move over I take up a position in the inside lane and undertake them. Sometimes there is no reaction from the other driver but sometimes it seems to enrage them with much flashing of lights etc. I just carry on at my usual 72/3 and they usually fall back into the distance. They I think are committing an offence but then I suppose so am I but there are seldom any police around anyway. Even Lootman should be in the nearside lane if it is available,

With only 2 lanes in the direction of travel, lane discipline becomes more important.

With 3/4 lanes less so. There is a section of the M25 with 6 lanes and it's not unusual there for the "fast" lane to not be the fastest.

Taken to an extreme, freeways in LA can be 6 lanes or more. At that point there is no need for lane discipline. You just take whatever lane you want, drive at whatever speed you want, and everyone else just deals with it. Passing either side is routine and the entire problem evaporates.

I'm with you on undertaking. Entirely reasonable in my view, whether technically illegal or not.

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Re: Idle musings on car safety.

#274308

Postby Dod101 » December 31st, 2019, 8:41 pm

Thanks Lootman. I have never driven in LA but I understand what you mean. I remember some years ago in Toronto being exposed to about six lanes of traffic and after being completely terrified at first, it soon sorts itself out and actually most people seem very relaxed about it. I had to do the same to fit in.

Dod

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Re: Idle musings on car safety.

#274310

Postby jfgw » December 31st, 2019, 9:14 pm

Just don't get caught and get a CD10,

https://www.driving.co.uk/news/the-wron ... the-crime/

Julian F. G. W.

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Re: Idle musings on car safety.

#274312

Postby Dod101 » December 31st, 2019, 9:29 pm

Thanks for that Julian. Maybe I should rethink my actions, but it is the lane hogger that is wrong not the undertaker. I do not though want a careless driving conviction, although I would not see it as careless driving. In fact any undertaker is likely to be a very careful driver, alert to the possibility of the lane hogger suddenly changing his mind.

As for the speed limit, I have always thought that if the limit is 70 mph it should mean that. Why on earth they allow another 10% plus 2 mph I have no idea. Take away the plus 10% and leave it as plus 2 mph would make sense to me to allow for slight variations in readings. These days I have no wish to be the fastest car on the road, but I do not like to hang around either.

Dod


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