Sunday, April 21, 2013

SAFE AT ANY SPEED:  I did not realize just how close were to having self-driving cars reach the market.


  1. Jason Carlin10:23 AM

    I'm not happy to see that . Reliance on devices and self-driving cars leads to deterioration of driver skills and judgement. A friend recently had a loaner car that had cameras and alert systems, and after a while she found she wasn't checking her blind spot as much because the car, in theory, would be doing that. Sure enough, she had a near miss because she didn't shoulder check.

    Also, this is how we get Skynet.

  2. GPS autopiloted copter for under $700. I bet we're technologically* about 75% there to Dominoes being able to fly a pizza to your front door, but we'll see caravans of car-drones before the FAA allows a UAV for commercial use.

    *Pizza drones -- navigation software and battery range are probably the biggest obstacles, and maybe payload. GPS and following street maps gets you from point A to point B, just need to be able to avoid power lines and tree limbs. Battery instead of fuel cuts down the risk of accidental explosions.

  3. The Pathetic Earthling12:35 PM

    Although I like driving in almost any circumstance, the fact is that by 2050 or so my kids will probably want to take the car keys away from me. That's probably now an eventuality I can avoid.

  4. Oh yeah, I saw that last month. Tabled at some point since there's apparently already a law saying that you can't drive less than the speed limit in the left lane. So.....I'm good to go there!

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  6. The Pathetic Earthling8:11 PM

    If you are trolling, forgive me for taking the bait. But. Really? Driving at the speed limit in the left hand lane is an appallingly anti-social act. Sure, folks shouldn't tailgate you, but it forces folks who are behaving according to a perfectly reasonable and accepted custom -- say, 75 in a 65 -- to overtake you on the right, which causes a bigger speed differential than would happen in the absence of such an act. Speed limits are *not* set with the expectation that everyone will comply with the limit and traffic engineering doesn't work this way.

    And it's speed differential, not speed, that causes highway accidents. So don't do this.

  7. The Pathetic Earthling11:13 PM

    A modest overage of the speed limit isn't speeding by any measure of how traffic engineering works. It's the law, but only in an effort to get to the desire result of keeping traffic to something about 10 mph over the posted limit.

    You aren't special. This behavior gets people killed. Don't do this.


  8. Speeding gets people killed, not following the law. There's no evidence that following the law and not speeding gets people killed. It's people who try to create some mythical "flow of traffic" as an excuse for speeding that get people killed, because they're driving recklessly and probably violating the rules of the road in a myriad of other ways.

    Doing the speed limit in the left lane, staying nice and steady in your driving, is not endangering anyone.

  9. The Pathetic Earthling12:25 AM

    I'm letting myself get trolled. I hope so. Because no other solution to this is comprehensible.

  10. Adam B.12:47 AM

    Yes it is, for precisely the reasons stated: you're forcing other drivers who are engaging in perfectly acceptable (by other drivers, and the police) behavior to engage in riskier behavior to get past you.

    Drive on the right, pass on the left. If you're not passing other cars, don't be in the left lane. Period.

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  12. Speeding is not perfectly acceptable behavior. It's speeding and disrupting the flow of traffic that we all agree to as law-abiding citizens. You might as well claim that jaywalking is perfectly acceptable because "some people do it." Well, those some people are the nitwits disrupting traffic by dashing across where car drivers are quite reasonably not expecting them, causing a safety hazard.

  13. I love how following the law and advocating driving the speed limit is considered "trolling."

  14. victoria9:36 AM

    Speaking of driving the speed limit in Georgia, this video is incredible:

  15. Sophietje10:06 AM

    Make sure you're not the one breaking the law. :) For most states, it's against the law to drive slower than the usual (not the _posted_, but the _usual_) speed of traffic.

  16. isaac_spaceman10:33 AM

    Well, you live in the world that exists outside your head, not in the world that exists inside it. It doesn't really matter whether you think that people should go 10 mph (or more) over the speed limit; the objective fact is that a significant number of people do. If you think it makes sense for you to put yourself in the left lane at 55 mph, not because the left lane is easier or better for you (it's obviously not), but because you want to be some kind of passive-aggressive freeway vigilante enforcing a speed limit that other people don't believe in, I suppose that's your business. But it seems to me that what you really want is to piss other people off, to invite people to honk and flash their lights and shout at you and give you the finger, because that's what seems to get you off. That pretty much is the definition of a troll. And if freeway-trolling (that is, intentionally putting yourself in front of traffic that would otherwise move faster than you're going) gets you in a confrontation or an accident, I surmise that that's what you would love most of all.

  17. The Pathetic Earthling10:36 AM

    Let's accept your premise that people should drive the speed limit -- and no more -- it still leaves the problem that with operator error, the need to pay attention to the road and not the speed gauge, instrumentation error, etc., we get drift of +/-5% -- so, 68 to 62 even under the best attempt to maintain the posted speed limit.

    Is there some reason that the peson behind you should trust your judgement that you've got it right? To his eyes, you are going lower than the speed limit and he has every right to overtake, but is forced to go to another lane. Even if you think you've got it right. No one is going to pause for self-reflection and say, "oh, golly by gosh, the guy in front of me must know more, must have a better maintained car, must be doing it right while I am wrong." They are going to move into the right hand lane to overtake.

    Complex systems work better with play in the joints. You seem intent on removing it. That's not your place.

  18. andrewraff1:07 PM

    Unless you're passing another car or about to exit to the left, you should never be in the left lane. Drive on the right, pass on the left. Period. That's the social contract in highway driving.

  19. Joe, if you're serious then you're nuts and, more importantly, a hazard to navigation. I am reminded of Dan Aykroyd's character in "Dragnet". Mostly though, I'm hoping we live in different states.

  20. Chuck2:09 PM

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  21. Sophietje4:31 PM

    On April Fool Day, I read an article about these google cars and someone was quoted as saying that there were up to 15 of them on the road at any point in time. I thought for sure it was a joke until I saw the date of the article.

  22. Jenn.6:13 PM

    You might think that you're good to go there, but you'd be wrong. There are two different issues here: obeying the letter of the law, and putting your life (and/or the lives of others) at risk. People in Atlanta (and elsewhere in Georgia, but I'll stick with Atlanta for now) do some crazy things when faced with someone going at or below the speed limit in the fast lane. (Hell, I've seen serious tailgating of people driving above the speed limit in the SLOW lane.) You pull the "go in the speed limit in the left lane because, hey, I want to make a show of obeying the speed limit!" thing in Georgia, I think that you put at risk not only your own life, but a lot of other people's lives as well.

    Ultimately, I think that you're ignoring the difference between "could" and "should." Even if it is legal for you to insist on driving in the left lane (generally known as the "fast lane") at the speed limit, that doesn't mean that you *should* do so, as you are putting yourself and other people at risk. The day that your insistence on going the speed limit in the fast lane (when you could have gone that same speed in another lane) causes a serious accident, you might feel like, hey, I didn't violate any law by what I did! But it wouldn't change the fact that people's lives were put at risk, and that you knew that your behavior created that risk.

  23. Heather K9:09 PM

    It's against the law for drivers not to stop for pedestrians in a crosswalk in Illinois, but I don't think I will be applying your train of thought to crossing Ashland at George anytime soon.

  24. stephanwhite5:09 AM

    That's custom for speeders, not the law which the rest of us follow. Speeding is the anti-social act.

    Glyn Willmoth