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Monday, December 31, 2012

Random Road Thoughts...

Just some random ideas from recent excursions...
  • Folks, you know what's a tremendously bad idea? Slamming on your brakes when going downhill in the snow. You're much better off downshifting (and yes, you can do this in an automatic transmission vehicle) or just letting the engine brake for you). Just because your car might have the fanciest traction control system doesn't mean everyone does, and while you might not be at fault of the guy behind you slams into you, you might also be dead.
  • Dear plow operators: Die in a fire. Seriously. You know who likes those foot+ tall snow bumps you leave when you plow a driveway straight out? NO ONE. Don't be a dick, jack@$$ - take five seconds and clear that s**t from the roadway when you're done. I don't snowblow my driveway into the road. Don't plow into the road. Also, I know I post this every year, but just because you have a plow on the front of your truck doesn't mean you are immune from traffic laws. Backing out into the street without looking or stopping is a pure jerk move, and is going to lead to bad, bad things someday.
  • I'm still trying to figure out why some people are utterly incapable of utilizing a rotary. It's very simple. If you are IN the rotary, you have the right-of-way. If you are ENTERING the rotary, you do not and must yield. Stopping IN the rotary just brings EVERYTHING to a standstill. This is not a difficult concept, yet I watch people fail to understand it every damn day...
  • Tailgating. Look, if I'm going 10 MPH over the speed limit and you're tailgating me, it will only accomplish one thing: I will drop my speed down to exactly the speed limit. If I'm going slow because someone in front of me is going slow, riding my bumper isn't going to make them go any faster. All tailgating me is going to do is piss me off, and I'll make sure I continue going slow just to piss you off. And if you try to pass me, I've got 350 horsepower that says you don't make it...
  • Lastly... I am almost ashamed to admit this, but I finally, after almost six years of owning my truck, put some weight in the back for the winter. I went to Home Despot, bought four five gallon buckets and four 50 lb. bags of rocksalt, and for under $50 had 200 pounds of weight in the back of the truck. Makes starting and stopping on slippery terrain a LOT easier. Previously, I had relied on the 4WD, which works great, mind you - but it's not always needed all the time.
More random observations as they come...

That is all.

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

I believe in DC traffic entering the circle has the right of way.

In NJ everybody believes they always have the right way.

If you make eye contact, you give up the right of way. This is true in Italy, Mexico and most Middle Eastern countries.

Gerry

ZerCool said...

I hate to tell you this, but you could've gotten tube sand from Lowes or Home Depot for a third the price. They're 70lb each and cost about $4. I just tossed three in the back of my truck for the winter as well. :)

Chris said...

Drivers in Maryland don't seem to understand traffic circles, either, but I got the surprise of the year last autumn from this incident.

I was approaching a traffic circle outside UMBC (http://www.umbc.edu/) that I pass through nearly every day on the way home from work. It looked a bit congested as I came up to the circle. The reason was that a woman in a minivan was BACKING UP in the circle because she had missed the road she wanted to turn on to. I was slightly tempted to follow her to explain how traffic circles work, but then figured that someone stupid enough to pull that stunt wouldn't understand anyway.

Jay G said...

Zercool,

The sand - which I got seven bags of for the new portable basketball pole - was only $3 per bag cheaper.

I opted for rocksalt because we can use it at the house - rotate it - rather than just sand that will sit there...

Mopar said...

Buckets of rocksalt might make stopping and starting easier in 2wd, but that's 4 50lb missles ya got in the back of the truck if you get in an accident. And make sure you don't spill any of that salt in the bed of the truck. Man that stuff EATS sheet metal.

Jay G said...

I've got a bar across the back holding them in place for now; I'm going to swap it out for a 2X6.

also, it's why I opted for the Home Depot buckets. The rocksalt is safely sealed inside a plastic bucket...

acairfearann said...

Learning to drive in New England, I had always assumed that rotaries were just standard practice; that they could get exciting didn't cross my mind until an encounter with one outside Edinburgh Scotland: an intersection between a highway and a bypass, four lanes total going around the rotary. Nothing unsual for the UK, except it was the first thing that any tourist who had just rented a car at the airport would encounter. And the traffic was always heavily weighted towards taxis and lorries, which show no mercy in any country. Many a tourist got stuck forlornly circling in the inner lane. They eventually installed traffic lights.

Ancient Woodsman said...

Be careful if you ever go north and pass through Stratham, NH then...for that rotary where NH Route 108 meets the start of NH Route 33, the people entering have the ROW, not the folks in the rotary.

It might have something to do with the house & business in the center of the traffic circle, it might not. I don't know of too many other traffic circles in New England that have a house in the middle.

Glenn B said...

I have exoereinced mot of what you said except owning the big truck. As for the rotaries, I am guessing you mean what we here in NY call traffic circles (much more appropriate I think because they cause traffic). I think that the people in government are absoute morons for putting them in. A regular intersection with a light would be much better in every case where I have seen one.

Happy New Year to you and yours.

All the best,
Glenn B

doubletrouble said...

Damn. I coulda sold you a HALF TON of genuine NH granite for the incredibly low price of only $25!!
;-)

bluesun said...

200 pounds? Pshaw.

Old NFO said...

LOL, I wuz gonna harass you, but I see that is already being done! Re the rotaries, I always thought the law of gross tonnage applied!!! :-D

B said...

Hint:

Put the buckets in FRONT of the wheels until you need more traction.

Then move them to BEHIND the wheels/in front of tailgate.

This simple step can get you out of bad places when you are stuck.

You'd be surprised how much more traction you get when you move 200 pounds backwards a few feet.

Just make an "H" out of 2x6 in front of and behind the wheel wells.

Ken O said...

If you are what is known as a "left lane cruiser" expect to be tailgated. We believe in that whole "lead, follow or get the hell out of my way" thing.

Dave H said...

I actually prefer rotaries/traffic circles because the alternative is either a traffic light or a 4-way stop, both of which slow things down unnecessarily when traffic is light. But they do require that everybody knows how they work.

The first time I ever traversed a rotary (as a passenger) was at about 120 km/h on the way to a meeting with some utility engineers in England. I swear the guy driving didn't turn the wheel at all. It looked like he just drove straight across the rotary, although we didn't jump the curb or leave tracks in the grass in the center. I suppose we could have been airborne at that point.

Ed said...

Clay based kitty litter makes great portable ballast for traction and can be spread on a sidewalk or driveway without burning the grass and other vegetation.

Cormac said...

For the love of [deity], just because you're on a bicycle, doesn't mean you're immune to traffic dangers!!!
And keep your pedal-mobile out of the Damn rotary!!

Angus McThag said...

Awwwwww, he thinks 350 is a lot of horsepower.

It's so cute!

Ancient Woodsman said...

Old NFO made me go "heh!"

I learned that 'law' as the "Rule of lugnuts" when driving a Thermodyne B-model Mack ladder truck (as in fire department laddeer truck) that was still in active service in the 80s - the Chief figured if you could drive that in small-town New England, you could drive anything. The rule being he with the most lug nuts has the right-of-way.

Never mind that an old Mack ladder truck with power-assist steering maneuvers about like the Queen Mary, only with more noise (siren & air horn) and less deck chairs.

And the sure cure for obnoxious tailgating is to flip on the rear blues - too many folks don't figure an F150 as being a law enforcment vehicle and will tailgate it, even when it's (I would think, anyway) clearly marked. And even that doesn't work sometimes.

Every area of the world has driving challenges; it just seems like New England has an interesting combinaiton, and is creative enough to make some of them vary from season to season.

Anonymous said...

We called them [redacted] roundabouts and the geniuses put them in the middle of residential intersections in the student quarter at Flat State U. The guys with F-350s/Tundras/ et cetra called them challenges. I'd go walking in the mornings and find the street signs in the middle of the island flattened, with black tire tracks leading from the cross street, straight over the hump, and continuing merrily on their way.

LittleRed1

Roy said...

Yeah, rotaries actually do speed up traffic through and intersection if:

As Dave said, traffic is light, and...

Everyone knows how that particular rotary works.

Not all rotaries are yield-to-traffic-already in. Some are just the opposite and some are mixed, depending on where you are.

Near where I live, it is common for towns that are county seats to have a rotary that goes around the courthouse in the center. As often as not, these rotaries are a mixed bag depending on what street you are on when entering. For example, in Bardstown, KY, if you enter from US 31e, you must yield to traffic already in, while if you enter from US 62, they must yield to you. The signage is very clear, but still...

As for tailgating, I try not to do that to anyone, no matter what. But when you are on a two lane country road and stuck behind some moron going 35 in a 55, it's hard, very hard.