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Police Forum Police Head Mod: Skidmark
Questions & info about the Motor Vehicle Act. Mature discussion only.

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Old 12-04-2010, 11:00 AM   #1
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DriveSmartBC - Building in a Safety Margin

Most of us expect a reasonable margin of safety in our lives, especially if what we are involved in is only partially under or is beyond our control. Woe to anyone who would presume to reduce this margin without our knowledge and consent! Why then is it acceptable to minimize or disregard this for both ourselves and others when we get behind the wheel?

In my view, reasonable speed is the first casualty when it comes to safety margins. Most drivers on the roads today seem to be quite content to drive nearer to the edge of control rather than choose a more moderate speed for the conditions we drive in. Darkness or poor weather seldom seems to bring about a speed reduction unless we are forced to slow by congestion or near loss of control.

Failing to leave a space cushion around our vehicle, front, rear and sides, is probably almost as common. This dynamic task is never ending, especially when traffic is congested. Managing this space wisely gives you both the time and place to react if you or someone else makes a mistake or willfully disobeys safe driving practices.

Do you come to a full stop at intersections, then carefully scan and process what is going on around you before you decide to proceed? No one likes to waste time, but if you are going to pause for a few seconds, this is probably the place to do it. Intersections are places of conflict by their very nature and deserve careful consideration.

Have you ever stopped to wonder why we are seeing safety systems on new vehicles that take over the task of maintaining a margin of safety for us? Is it necessary that our vehicles have to watch over us and force us not to make a bad decision? It is another way of increasing our safety margin...

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Old 12-04-2010, 05:17 PM   #2
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When I saw the TV commercial for whatever new car that has a blind spot warning system and another that will apply your brakes when you tailgate, it finally hit me how stupid were are permitting drivers to be.
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Old 12-04-2010, 09:11 PM   #3
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Failing to leave a space cushion around our vehicle, front, rear and sides, is probably almost as common. This dynamic task is never ending, especially when traffic is congested. Managing this space wisely gives you both the time and place to react if you or someone else makes a mistake or willfully disobeys safe driving practices.
This is why I use "Go with the flow" driving. It's much easier to keep pace with a clear spot in the next lane which I can swerve into should my lane become suddenly obstructed.

I think of it like teeth on a zipper. When you zip the zipper up, the teeth mesh. If I'm driving in the right lane and there is a sudden obstruction ahead, I can move easily into the left lane without hitting another car. If the cars in each lane are aligned like teeth on a zipper, they can all mesh into the clear lane quickly and safely as they approach the obstruction.

Unfortunately this only works well if all cars are travelling at the same speed, and unfortunately the majority of cars are exceeding the speed limit. This means for me to safely react to a situation, I may have to match the speed of the speeding cars.
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Old 12-04-2010, 09:13 PM   #4
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When I saw the TV commercial for whatever new car that has a blind spot warning system and another that will apply your brakes when you tailgate, it finally hit me how stupid were are permitting drivers to be.
I was thinking the same thing.

There's also the minivan with the cross-path obstruction detection. I have that on my car.. it's called "turning and looking out the back window at where you are going".
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Old 12-05-2010, 09:00 AM   #5
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My other (un) favourite TV ad was Zack Spencer from his TV driving show days. It was a "safety" ad where he said that you should not do a blind spot check in traffic because you had to take your eyes off traffic ahead to do it. Whoever wrote that script for him to read should be side slammed by a vehicle in his blind spot on his way home from shooting the ad.
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Old 12-05-2010, 10:45 AM   #6
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My other (un) favourite TV ad was Zack Spencer from his TV driving show days. It was a "safety" ad where he said that you should not do a blind spot check in traffic because you had to take your eyes off traffic ahead to do it. Whoever wrote that script for him to read should be side slammed by a vehicle in his blind spot on his way home from shooting the ad.
If making a lane change in busy traffic where your following distance is less than ideal, one should increase their following distance first before doing their blind spot checks. This way if for whatever reason the traffic ahead does come to an abrupt stop, you can still stop safely.

The other thing about lane changes is that you cannot always move over into a spot that will automatically provide you with adequate following distance. In the case of moving from the right lane to the left, I like to straddle the dividing line for a moment as I increase the distance between myself and the car I will be following in the left lane to an acceptable level.

This does two things: 1) I can see what's happening further down the left lane. If there is a sudden slow-down of the left lane, I have preserved my former space in the right lane and can move over quickly if needed. 2) If the car behind the spot I am moving into decides to move forwards quickly, I still have my old spot in the right lane to move back into.

It works every time, preserves the safety margins around my car and when the lane change is completed I am not following too closely and I have had a really good look at what's happening in the lane ahead.
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Old 12-05-2010, 01:54 PM   #7
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one of the things I hated about driving with my L back then was having to adhere to the 50km/h limit. Don't get me wrong, I don't think driving 70 in city streets is smart either but in my L stage and when I was taking my road test I found my attention was more focused on the speedometer than the road. I would always look because I did not want to exceed 50 too much or be too slow (my dad failed once for mistaking the 45km/h line for the 50km/h line).

Driving without having to worry about the speed limit (but still at a reasonable speed, no excessive) is IMO the safest way to drive.
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Old 12-05-2010, 04:55 PM   #8
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Going with the flow is the only way to control the space to the sides of your car.

Keeping large space cushions around your car effectively increases reaction time and reduces the chance you will hit another car.

Is it really fair that a driver who drives according to the prevailing traffic conditions is subject to speed fines, points and insurance rate increases?
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Old 12-05-2010, 08:59 PM   #9
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i dont know about you but theres always some jackass behind you tail gating so you try to make a safe buffer up front and another jackass cuts in front of you etc. etc.

people think they are the only important one on the road. no one wants to let anyone merge when you HAVE to merge in...

they really should make licensing focus more on these parts than just basic driving skills.
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Old 12-06-2010, 12:19 AM   #10
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One of the worst things I've noticed lately is the solid block of 30 cars merging onto the highway 5' apart, forcing every driver already on the highway to change lanes or cause an accident.
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Old 12-06-2010, 12:37 AM   #11
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One of the worst things I've noticed lately is the solid block of 30 cars merging onto the highway 5' apart, forcing every driver already on the highway to change lanes or cause an accident.
Well if you're on the highway, why not move over a lane well before the merging cars? I know, you'll have to do the speed limit in the left lane until after the merge lane, but then you can move back over.
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Old 12-06-2010, 01:08 AM   #12
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I always drive the speed limit in the right lane actually and I don't mind changing lanes one bit, I always do whether I'm driving my truck or car. The issue comes in heavy traffic when everyone in the left lane is tailgating, no one wants to let you in and it becomes difficult if not dangerous trying to change lanes to make room for the merging block. If people left space, then other drivers could stay in the right lane if the aren't able to safely change lanes.

I may have a different perspective than other drivers on this issue than most people on the board, I drive a 5 ton at work so changing lanes isn't simple or easy in traffic.
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Old 12-06-2010, 09:18 AM   #13
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I find that whenever I leave a safety margin on the highway for myself, some idiot will take that safety margin by changing lanes into it.
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Old 12-06-2010, 10:02 AM   #14
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^^ I find that even worse in the south of the Border. Everyone follows each other so closely.
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Old 12-06-2010, 02:02 PM   #15
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I agree that going with the flow, traveling at the speed the majority of traffic is going, is usually a good idea. I also find that police are very unlikely to pull you over or give you a ticket if you're going with the flow, even if it does exceed the speed limit by 10 or 20km/h. However, in my daily driving around Vancouver, I rarely see any of this. I see traffic going 50 or 60km/h, with a sprinkle of bmw's, civics, accords and the odd benz going just a bit faster and changing lanes constantly to get ahead.

It is almost impossible to maintain a safety buffer around my car going from False Creek to Willingdon/Lougheed at rush hour. Without being incredibly frustrated and angry at cars merging left and right at any possible gap, that is.

Despite all this, I agree with the original post - people need to slow down and build themselves a safety zone. Maybe our lives are too boring and driving a car close to the limit is most people's only form of excitement. Instead, maybe we should all have more sex and slow the heck down, for everyone's sake.
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Old 12-07-2010, 01:19 PM   #16
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I find that whenever I leave a safety margin on the highway for myself, some idiot will take that safety margin by changing lanes into it.
lol exactly what i said a couple posts above..

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^^ I find that even worse in the south of the Border. Everyone follows each other so closely.

atleast in the states when you want to switch lanes they let you.

even when there 6 (thats right 6 lanes) lanes of traffic people will let you switch lanes with no problem.
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Old 12-07-2010, 01:29 PM   #17
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atleast in the states when you want to switch lanes they let you.

even when there 6 (thats right 6 lanes) lanes of traffic people will let you switch lanes with no problem.
That's what comes of not having gun control
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Old 12-07-2010, 04:56 PM   #18
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"Gun control" in the U.S. = a tight grouping in the "CX".
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