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Let's talk about cars

Let's talk about cars

Old Jan 24th 2019, 8:17 am
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Default Re: Let's talk about cars

Originally Posted by Cape Blue
Certainly not my experience of California driving.
Considering the density and the amount of traffic on the average So Cal freeway I think drivers are remarkably patient and self controlled. Compare to New York where leaning on the car horn is supposed to get traffic moving again.

British driving standards are pretty high but there seems to be a bit of an attitude to slowing down or stopping at pedestrian crossings from my experience
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Old Jan 24th 2019, 12:27 pm
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Default Re: Let's talk about cars

Originally Posted by chawkins99
On the whole, UK drivers have always been better and more considerate than US drivers. Think lane discipline. Non-existent in the US.

Much to do with the driving test and training requirements.
I agree that the absolute 'skill level' of the average UK driver is way higher than that of the average US driver, and this can be attributed in part to the much higher test standards in the UK. But I would also note that the level of difficulty of driving in the UK is also way higher; narrower roads, complex intersections, more traffic, difficult / tight parking, etc etc. The net result of these two factors means, at least for me, that I feel much safer driving in CA than I do in UK despite knowing that the drivers "aren't as good".

The lack of lane discipline is, to me, a 'feature' to be taken advantage of rather than something to complain about these days. I happily use whatever lane is least busy to further my cause of getting to my destination in one piece. Also, lane discipline is appropriate when you are on a 2- or 3-lane 'inter-city' section of road that is relatively un-congested, but it's not really appropriate when you get into the 4+ lane urban freeways that are very prevalent in US urban areas. Nor is it appropriate once traffic flow is reduced due to congestion - you have to 'fill up' all lanes once things get busy. Also, at least on US freeways, the 'inside lane' is often torn up and bumpy while the 'fast lane' is relatively smooth, so I'm quite happy to cruse along in the 'fast lane' without any cars in the 'slow lane' because the ride is much smoother. I know that's heresy to a Brit
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Old Jan 24th 2019, 3:47 pm
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Default Re: Let's talk about cars

Originally Posted by Steerpike
I agree that the absolute 'skill level' of the average UK driver is way higher than that of the average US driver, and this can be attributed in part to the much higher test standards in the UK. But I would also note that the level of difficulty of driving in the UK is also way higher; narrower roads, complex intersections, more traffic, difficult / tight parking, etc etc. The net result of these two factors means, at least for me, that I feel much safer driving in CA than I do in UK despite knowing that the drivers "aren't as good". ….
Maybe its different in California, but in my experience the extra room the roads and junctions allows for sloppy driving techniques but that is more than offset by the extraordinary sloppiness of the driving. I don't recall "just driving off the side of the road" being much, if any, of a problem in the UK, whereas here in my neck of the woods every week or two since I moved here 16 years ago, more or less the same accident report has run in the local media - the report is of a car driving off the side of the road, then either (i) hitting a tree, or (ii) the driver over-corrected, and came back onto the road then either (i) went off the other side of the road, and hit a tree, or (ii) went head-on into on-coming traffic. The result is always the same, and the reason that a very run-of-the-mill wreck made it into the daily news - the driver, or at least somebody, was killed.

A former colleague and ex-police officer from Florida told me that it is pretty much the same in Florida, except that the fatal hazard is water - a pond, lake, canal, drainage ditch, river, etc, not a tree.
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Old Jan 24th 2019, 6:24 pm
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Default Re: Let's talk about cars

To claim that the standard of driving in one country is superior to that of another makes little sense. Much of how a driver behaves behind the wheel is based on temperament and attitude and no country has the monopoly on being superior on that score. The number of miles a driver clocks up without an accident or traffic ticket over a number of years is the determining factor in deciding which drivers are desirable to insurance companies and which are not.

I would guess that the average driver in Britain uses his or her car about a fifth of that of the American driver. The sheer cost of 4 litres of gas in the UK alone is probably one reason that most car owners are weekend drivers. The odd shopping trip, a weekend jaunt to the seaside or an occasional visit to friends or relatives more than likely accounts for most of the driving and with the excellent public transportation system in the UK why would anyone in their right senses prefer driving a small stick shift vehicle in inclement weather on a busy motorway on a daily basis.

It's not unusual for drivers in my part of the world to clock up 40,000 miles a year in their vehicles through having to use them for traveling to/from work since public transportation is nowhere near on par with that in the UK. Another fact is that the great majority of people here take care when driving as gaining too many points on their permits could mean a ban and losing a license can mean a disaster. There are people I know who travel around a hundred miles a day in the course of going to and from work.

I consider myself a very good driver. Two tickets in 40 years and yes I sometimes drive faster than the speed limit since going with the flow of the rest of the traffic means that other drivers are not having to change lanes to get around me and which occurs when some dope decides to enter the fast lane and chug along at 60 when the speed limit is 65 and on a good day most of the traffic is doing around 70
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Old Jan 25th 2019, 3:07 am
  #7190  
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Default Re: Let's talk about cars

Originally Posted by Pulaski
I do most of my passing on the right these days, as I long since gave up lining up behind grandma or grandpa in the left lane doing exactly the speed limit. I don't live in CA.

I don't see many police on the interstate, certainly a lot fewer than when I first came here, and those I do see are mostly busy with wrecks, or on their way to somewhere else, not interested in enforcing traffic laws.
It's funny you say this as I've been thinking this recently. I barely see them anymore, and if I do they're in the exact same spot of the freeway 'hiding' as they always do. Anyone that drives US-36 to and from work knows exactly where they are and at what times. As you said, if I ever see them they're usually on their way to something else or just can't be bothered. I went past one a couple of weeks ago at about 78-80mph in a 65mph. There was no one else on the road so if they wanted to pull me over it wouldn't have taken much effort but I guess they couldn't be bothered.

It is strange though, as when I first moved to the US they were everywhere and actively pulling people over. Budget cuts or something along those lines?
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Old Jan 25th 2019, 3:29 am
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Default Re: Let's talk about cars

Originally Posted by BenK91
It's funny you say this as I've been thinking this recently. I barely see them anymore, and if I do they're in the exact same spot of the freeway 'hiding' as they always do. Anyone that drives US-36 to and from work knows exactly where they are and at what times. As you said, if I ever see them they're usually on their way to something else or just can't be bothered. I went past one a couple of weeks ago at about 78-80mph in a 65mph. There was no one else on the road so if they wanted to pull me over it wouldn't have taken much effort but I guess they couldn't be bothered.

It is strange though, as when I first moved to the US they were everywhere and actively pulling people over. Budget cuts or something along those lines?
On interstates in particular, they don't seem to 'patrol' any more. They seem to prefer the blitz approach and just hit a section for a few hours. You'll see 4 or 5 cars within a few miles handing out speeding tickets.

On my commute to/from work, there's a 10 mile stretch leading to a toll bridge where I will regularly pass 3 or 4 cops (local police, sheriff and state troopers). The limit is 55 and I'm normally doing 60-65 and they don't care. Probably starting or ending their shift.

They do like to hang out at the toll booth to catch people speeding through the auto-tolls. Limit is 25mph through the toll booth. I was pulled over once but got away with a warning.
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Old Jan 25th 2019, 3:33 am
  #7192  
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Default Re: Let's talk about cars

The limit is 55 and I'm normally doing 60-65 and they don't care. Probably starting or ending their shift.
In my County it is stated Sheriff Department policy that they will not pull you over for doing less than 10mph over the posted limit.

You can tell a driver who is not 'from around these parts' by the speed they are travelling on the main artery through the county.
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Old Jan 25th 2019, 9:44 am
  #7193  
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Default Re: Let's talk about cars

Originally Posted by dc koop
Considering the density and the amount of traffic on the average So Cal freeway I think drivers are remarkably patient and self controlled. Compare to New York where leaning on the car horn is supposed to get traffic moving again.

British driving standards are pretty high but there seems to be a bit of an attitude to slowing down or stopping at pedestrian crossings from my experience
Oh most certainly Californian driving wrt pedestrians is miles more civilised than the UK, but when it comes to crossing solid white lines, solid yellow lines, solid double yellow lines, crossing chevrons, late turns from lane 4 all the way across the freeway and the chevrons to make the junction, an inability to read the road ahead and prepare for a turn appropriately etc etc it's like driving with the Flintstones.
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Old Jan 25th 2019, 5:10 pm
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Default Re: Let's talk about cars

Originally Posted by Cape Blue
Oh most certainly Californian driving wrt pedestrians is miles more civilised than the UK, but when it comes to crossing solid white lines, solid yellow lines, solid double yellow lines, crossing chevrons, late turns from lane 4 all the way across the freeway and the chevrons to make the junction, an inability to read the road ahead and prepare for a turn appropriately etc etc it's like driving with the Flintstones.
I would be interested to know where in California you've driven and for how long a period. I drive 15 miles each way on the same freeway each day and have done so for over 10 years. I've never yet seen any car or truck cross the solid white line where the freeway inter connects with another. In my over 40 years of driving a few times a year up a 30 mile twisting mountain road to Big Bear Lake which is mostly a single lane each way with an occasional passing lane here and there I've never seem any vehicle ahead of me or approaching me cross that single or double yellow lane, Road courtesy is observed also. Slower vehicles pull over to the turn ins to let other vehicles pass. I've driven on mountain roads in other parts of the world and seen bad attitudes from drivers of slower vehicles who end up leading a whole convoy of vehicles because they don't bother to yield and let pass.

There's nothing wrong when entering a freeway to cross from the slow lane to the fast lane right away if traffic conditions permit. The only crime is being in the fast lane and failing to yield to vehicles approaching from behind going at a faster speed. Yes there are bad drivers who do stupid things as there are everywhere else but on the whole from my experience the standard of driving in this state is pretty good overall. If you want to see bad driving, bad attitudes and total ignorance take a trip up to Canada and drive around the city of Montreal for a few days. I lived there for seven years. I survived.
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Old Jan 26th 2019, 2:02 am
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Default Re: Let's talk about cars

I've seen large regional variations in driving in the US. New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts: no patience, extreme aggression, flexible understanding of traffic laws but at least they keep moving and are able to parallel park. Midwest: calmer, less aggressive but sleepy. Midwesterners don't GO when the light turns green and are lazy on the highway resulting in large and dangerous speed differentials. Florida: terrible tailgating and lack of attention, Floridians make a wide, straight highway on a sunny day with minimal traffic extraordinarily dangerous because they drive like idiots (no offense). Rural / mountainous areas like Utah/Colorado or Vermont/New Hampshire: fearless drivers with a much higher standard of skill than elsewhere. In these areas, you'll find 18 year old girls who blast down a gravel roads at 50 mph in a four wheel drift, are able to rock crawl, have a winch mounted and know how to use it. I've never driven on the West Coast.
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Old Jan 26th 2019, 3:02 am
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Default Re: Let's talk about cars

Originally Posted by civilservant
In my County it is stated Sheriff Department policy that they will not pull you over for doing less than 10mph over the posted limit.

You can tell a driver who is not 'from around these parts' by the speed they are travelling on the main artery through the county.
Actually they can't. In Georgia, at least, you must be doing 11 over or more before a deputy or police officer can give you a ticket. State Troopers, on the other hand, can cite you for as little as 1 over, although it's unlikely.

At the county level, it's not until a ticket is issued for 15+ or more that it is sent to Atlanta and recorded as points on you license. Then, you are required to inform your insurance company, which is why they will almost always offer to 'give you a break' and reduce the ticket to under 15 (provided you accept it and agree to pay the fine for whatever speed you were actually doing). This way, they can write as many tickets as they like without drawing attention to themselves from the State!

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Old Jan 26th 2019, 8:06 am
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Default Re: Let's talk about cars

Originally Posted by dc koop
I would be interested to know where in California you've driven and for how long a period. I drive 15 miles each way on the same freeway each day and have done so for over 10 years. I've never yet seen any car or truck cross the solid white line where the freeway inter connects with another. In my over 40 years of driving a few times a year up a 30 mile twisting mountain road to Big Bear Lake which is mostly a single lane each way with an occasional passing lane here and there I've never seem any vehicle ahead of me or approaching me cross that single or double yellow lane, Road courtesy is observed also. Slower vehicles pull over to the turn ins to let other vehicles pass. I've driven on mountain roads in other parts of the world and seen bad attitudes from drivers of slower vehicles who end up leading a whole convoy of vehicles because they don't bother to yield and let pass.

There's nothing wrong when entering a freeway to cross from the slow lane to the fast lane right away if traffic conditions permit. The only crime is being in the fast lane and failing to yield to vehicles approaching from behind going at a faster speed. Yes there are bad drivers who do stupid things as there are everywhere else but on the whole from my experience the standard of driving in this state is pretty good overall. If you want to see bad driving, bad attitudes and total ignorance take a trip up to Canada and drive around the city of Montreal for a few days. I lived there for seven years. I survived.
All over CA - lived in NorCal for >10 years, currently spending a couple of months in OC.

I see cars crossing solid lines every single day, mostly from the passenger seat
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Old Jan 26th 2019, 8:13 am
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Default Re: Let's talk about cars

Happens all the time here, my definition of summer is when I get over taken 3x between here and the local town, last year one of the vehicles was a semi with a full load double solid lines and just before a crest. Couple of weeks ago coming back in a blizzard slow because of the conditions and was passed by a Supermarket Semi, did not think he would make the s bend just ahead, somehow he did, noticed he slowed down a lot after that.
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Old Jan 26th 2019, 1:08 pm
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Default Re: Let's talk about cars

Originally Posted by Cape Blue
All over CA - lived in NorCal for >10 years, currently spending a couple of months in OC.

I see cars crossing solid lines every single day, mostly from the passenger seat
If OC means Orange County, from my knowledge the streets are two lanes each way. Why would anyone driving on a such a street feel the necessity to cross a solid line (Yellow)? Are you driving around in the sticks by any chance?
If switching from one freeway to another you'd have to be stupid to cross the solid white line. There's adequate length in the transition lane to safely filter in with the traffic already on the freeway. Cutting across the solid white line is an invitation to get rear ended.
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Old Jan 26th 2019, 4:17 pm
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Default Re: Let's talk about cars

Is anyone watching the new Grand Tour series. For some reason, the third series has, at last turned into Top Gear. Three episodes in and this is the best that Clarkson, Hammond, and May have done, by far since they left the BBC. The second and third episodes comprised an entirely on-location trek across Colombia, and IMO it rivaled specials like Vietnam, Burma, and India.
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