How is your driving skills?

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  • How is your driving skills?

    I drive 30+ miles one way 4 days a week on a divided highway 4 lane that was built back in the late '90s, and the speed limit is 65, meaning most people do 70 MPH. It is in great condition, but it lacks one thing - Those knobby edges that warn the driver when they are too close to the edge. Outside of the pavement is gravel. It is graded about every other month to keep the gravel level with the highway. However in a weeks time after grading there is about a 2" drop off and then after a couple of weeks the drop on the edge is about 4 inches. That is where the problem comes in.

    IN my drive 4 days a week, every week, I can see where someone dropped off the edge and then JERKED the steering wheel hard left to get back on the road, and then the front tires catch on the pavement with the hard left direction of the tires and spins around, usually over into the median. Black tire marks tell the tale! Occasionally someone will almost correct and then overcorrect and end up back off the road of the outside lane. A few times I could see where a car or vehicle rolled over in the overcorrection.

    I have told my daughters and my wife numerous times, if your wheel drops off the pavement, DO NOT JERK the Steering wheel. Let Off the Gas, and let the rocks make their noise and gently steer the car onto the road, But DO Not Jerk the steering wheel.

    After warning one daughter once, she asked me: Dad, what do you do when you are in a panic moment like that? ME: "Just as I said. Yes I have run off before. But I had enough presence of mind to do just as I told you. No problem, just a lot of loud noise, but safely moving back onto the road"

    I realize that some people panic in situations like that.

    How is your driving skills in sudden situations?

    (I wish the highway department would put those bumps on the edge to warn people when they are too close.

    Hank Lee

    Experience is what you get when you don't get what you wanted!

  • #2
    Yeah, I'm 75 now and we live in an area that is populated with retirement developments that surround our subdivision. I follow so many drivers that are obviously declining in ability every time I venture out. I drive about 20 miles one way every day to pick up our Granddaughter from school and take her to volleyball practice. It's almost all freeway, six lanes wide, and I have become a real defensive driver. I am all over the mirrors and the traffic ahead constantly. I have had very few panic instances, mostly because of the diligence of my surroundings. The Granddaughter will get her temps. this summer and I'm terrified to put it mildly.
    Jim Frye
    The Nut in the Cellar.
    ”Sawdust Is Man Glitter”

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    • #3
      In my cantankerous way, I always have an issue with "safety" systems geared toward people who aren't being safe that inconvenience or reduce safety for others. If you are paying attention to your driving you shouldn't need an audible alert that you are about to go off the road, and if you do go off the road, as a competent driver, you should have the presence of mind to recover from your error safely.

      I personally hate the bumps on the side of the roads that warn you that you are going off the road. As a bicycle rider, they are dangerous, especially when wet. I frequently need to cross into the traffic lanes because there is debris on the shoulder. In MN, unless there is a dedicated bike lane, it is illegal to ride on the shoulder, but explaining the law to someone who just ran you over is no fun, so I ride on the shoulder when it is clean.

      In Minnesota, we don't have bumps, we cut grooves perpendicular to the direction of traffic (rumble strips) since anything that is proud of the surface of the pavement will get sheared off by a snowplow. They've started adding them to all rural roads here in the last 10 years or so. Our old house was on a state highway that had them on the sides as well as in the middle to let you know you were crossing the center line. Traffic noise was never a problem other than the occasional truck compression braking down the hill or after the rumble strips were add, when someone went over the line.

      Chr's
      __________
      An ethical man knows the right thing to do.
      A moral man does it.

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      • #4
        I've been driving, if you include off road / on logging roads since 1982. Yes I have had accidents. Notably other drivers not paying attention to my vehicle properly stopped at a stop light, or the last one a sudden stop when I was turning left when a plumbing van went around a stopped vehicle to blow the red light...

        I have had one wreck that was flat out my fault due to inexperience. I tossed my pickup into a guardrail in my late teens as I had NEVER driven on snow or ice before, and had no clue what to do...

        I flatly admit since I have lived in the Desert Southwest or gulf coast since then, I still have no clue how to drive on snow or ice. But I sure can drive muddy two track with the best of them.

        When I lived in Arizona, I drove my little Toyota Celica easily 50 miles down gravel roads and Jeep trails to get to camp sites... No damage at all to my car.
        Please like and subscribe to my YouTube channel. Please check out and subscribe to my Workshop Blog.

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        • #5
          They just installed really aggressive rumble strips on our state road. These were applied by heating the road and rolling a huge weighted wheel with slots in it. They are noisy enough to wake you up when you hit them, and noisy enough to wake you up if you live near the road no one of the red neck pickups with large mud grip tires hit them. They will really keep you from crossing the center line!

          I’m still confident in my driving, it’s the road bandits that scare me. I can identify them from behind because they are going 10 mph below the speed limit and weaving across 2 lanes. When I finally get around them I point out to my passenger that those people are wearing their mask too tight!

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          • #6
            Last summer when they were resurfacing a section of interstate 90 that I drove daily they moved one lane over to about 10' wide with most on the paved shoulder. Beyond the shoulder was gravel at the same level. More than once I left the pavement at speeds over 50 MPH with my big truck (89 feet long bumper to rear of back trailer) and then just eased back on to the pavement. Panic behind the wheel is just something that I have trained myself not to do. I have had my share of close calls where most less experienced drivers would have wrecked. Still I respect the laws of physics and the limits of the vehicles I drive. Driving is more than a skill, it IMHO is a whole host of different skills many applied at the same time.
            just another brick in the wall...

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            • #7
              I've been driving since I was 17 (1963). Those first two years I had an old 56 Mercury and banged up twice, going a bit fast in winter weather. In 1970, I had a car pull into the side of me when I was passing, messed up my 68 Valiant rather badly but I never lost control, the other driver got the ticket. Over the years, I've received only one speeding ticket (70 in a 55 zone), but I confess to driving about ten miles faster than the limit when I'm on the highway. I put 93K on my first new car in three years; a 65 VW and never received a single ticket or had an accident. When I started my work at the Rand in 1973, I drove 150 miles roundtrip every day for six months in all kinds of weather. I've taken trips out to Chicago, down into the Carolinas, and everywhere in between; and, up until August of last year, I drove to Painted Post and back every two or three weeks for the last 17 years, without incident.

              I like to drive and I drive slightly faster than the posted speed limit on the highway, but never in the city. I think most drivers are totally unaware, I've seen everything from people reading to drunk or falling asleep or just plain idiocy. I cannot begin to count the number of accidents I've avoided over my almost 60 years as a driver, because I pay attention! When behind the wheel, I don't play the radio or do anything else but pay attention to the road and the car. I watch the traffic around me and constantly rotate my vision from what's in front of me to what's behind me and on the sides. Here on the highway, you also have to watch for deer, people and other critters, road debris, and an assortment of hazards. I also keep my car in decent shape, properly inflated tires with good tread.

              I also take note of road hazards like poorly maintained road surfaces and neglect like the shoulders you describe; and, I don't hesitate to call whoever is necessary when I see something like the dropped shoulders that you describe. Those kind of things kill people and I wouldn't hesitate to complain to anyone that I could. The state or county should be held liable for that kind of thing and everyone should speak up.

              CWS
              Last edited by cwsmith; 03-23-2022, 06:46 PM. Reason: Two mispellings corrected.
              Think it Through Before You Do!

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              • #8
                CWS:I like to drive and I drive slightly faster than the posted speed limit on the highway, but never in the city. I think most drivers are totally unaware, I've seen everything from people reading to drunk or falling asleep or just plain idiocy. I cannot begin to count the number of accidents I've avoided over my almost 60 years as a driver, because I pay attention! When behind the wheel, I don't play the radio or do anything else but pay attention to the road and the car. I watch the traffic around me and constantly rotate my vision from what's in front of me to what's behind me and on the sides. Here on the highway, you also have to watch for dear, people and other critters, road debris, and an assortment of hazards. I also keep my car in decent shape, properly inflated tires with good tread.
                And as other have mentioned - defensive driver, alert to the situation around me.
                I am a defensive driver also. I am constantly watching those around me, in front and behind. I also do not like listening to the radio although LOML does and insists on the "noise". But we have an agreement, when in a city, street or interstate, with moderate traffic or heavier, Rain or light snow, the radio goes off.

                In snow conditions that were not expected, I am always looking for an out in the event of speeding driver. That has saved me on several occasions over the years. About 5 years ago, we started back home from Dallas, knowing that we would hit snow in Little Rock and icy roads between LR and Memphis. There is a back road half way between LR and Memphis that I can take with a bridge in Helena, AR over the river. LOML was in constant contact with 3 daughters that were giving her traffic updates. I decided to take the back road from Brinkley and told all three after passing through LR that I would. All three said I should stray on the interstate to Memphis. I told them through LOML that I would rather run into the ditch on a back road than get caught between 18 wheelers in a wreck. Sure enough, about 20 miles out of LR, two 18wheelers in front of us jackknifed but didn't wreck. Two 18 wheelers behind us jackknifed without wrecking, but the way that all 4 trucks jackknifed, each needed a wrecker to get them straightened out. When I got to Brinkley, I took the back roads, and got home safely.

                Hank Lee

                Experience is what you get when you don't get what you wanted!

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                • #9
                  Way to go Lee.

                  It's always best to err on the side of caution and use your experience and instincts and of course, do your best to never get distracted.

                  In past postings I've mentioned some of interests and experience. When I was in early high school (14 yearsf old) I joined Civil Air Patrol as a cadet. One of the primary reasons was that just prior to that time a local young guy took a hike around his home (much like I loved doing in my youthful exploring of the woods and hills around me). He didn't return home and I joined the many people who joined the search for him. The fellow was in his early twenties. There were many groups including the Sheriff's and local Volunteers that joined in, we never found him. Several years later they built a new highway (now route 86) in the area and they discovered what was left of his remains, mostly an corroded old shotgun and boots. He was only a quarter mille or so from his home, but completely opposite in the direction he told his mother he was going. No confirmation was ever made or how he died at that point in time.

                  I joined CAP because they were one of the search groups and I loved the SAR and airplane part of it and we used to get SAR and FAA reports from across the country. I have a number of tales from that experience of people tragically losing their lives. One happend on that very same highway just prior to the construction being finished, and only a few miles from where the young fellow was lost. Construction along the old Route 17 had a few twists and turns, temporary barricades etc. One night two young college girls from the area decided to drive up from college in NYC. Not paying attention, they crashed through a barricade went down into a field where the old road used to go, but not turned sharply. They were injured, but not deathly so. They froze to death in the middle of night and weren't discovered until the following day. No one apparently paid attention to the smashed barricade or noticed enough to call the state police; and the parent to whom they were travelling never expected them... it was a surprise visit!

                  I have always emphasized to my son and to other people.... IF you travel, make sure you tell people. As we used to say, "File a flight plan!" and don't deviate! Also, make sure you dress properly and carry water, some food, blankets in the winter and whatever else you might need should you get stuck on the road. Despite such precautions, I still have a proble getting that through my son. He thinks the car heater is enough and he often travels in the winter in his shirt sleeves ("Coats to bulky Dad"... he keeps it in the back seat or the trunk.) Thankfully today, there's the cell phone, which offers some measure of contact and on his recent trip up here from New Orleans, I was able to track him on Goggle Maps (but that scary at times too.)

                  People and driving is too often a scary combination and I think there isn't enough caution and training directed at it. Probably a waste of time in most cases, but I sure wish people were more aware.

                  CWS
                  Think it Through Before You Do!

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                  • #10
                    Today, I was bringing our Granddaughter and one of her friends from school to volleyball practice and had a really frightening driving experience. We were on a four lane expressway in the second lane from the right. I came upon a semi doing the speed limit (65). Other traffic was moving a bit faster in the other lanes, at this point. Before I could get around the truck in front of me, I got boxed in by a semi on either side. Another semi was coming up behind me in my lane, so I couldn't back down enough to change lanes. The 9 year old Civic was getting tossed around pretty good by the turbulence from these behemoths. I banged on the four way flashers and tapped my brakes several times to hopefully alert the trucker behind me. It worked and he backed off letting me escape. I need new shorts. The girls were oblivious to all of this, engrossed in their precious iPhones (thank goodness). They aren't allowed to use them during school hours.
                    Jim Frye
                    The Nut in the Cellar.
                    ”Sawdust Is Man Glitter”

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                    • leehljp
                      leehljp commented
                      Editing a comment
                      "Flashiers" - That was quick thinking. Glad you got out of the jam safely.

                    • cwsmith
                      cwsmith commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Jim,

                      That must have been scary! That's the kind of excitement I don't need. Fortunately most of my driving across the southern tier have been just four lane highways, except here in the Binghamton area where we have three and four lanes in the bypass and except in short stints I avoid that.

                      A few years ago I had an incident with a trucker who tried to run me off a bridge. I don't know if he was drunk or just peeved about something, Fortunately, I saw him moving over as I was trying to pass him and I hit the brakes. First I thought it was just that he hadn't noticed me, but when I tried to pass him again, he moved to block me a second and then a third time. At that point I just took off, passing him and caught a Stated Trooper a few miles down the road and notified him of the incident. When the truck came by, the trooper pulled him over. Though I left contact information, I never heard anything more, so I don't know if the driver got ticketed or what. (Probably was just let go.)

                      CWS

                  • #11
                    I'm the kind of driver that needs to be driving or in the shotgun seat otherwise, I get car sick.

                    Before we went overseas, my wife and I had to take a course that everyone jokingly calls "Crash Bang". For one week, security contractors showed us different survival techniques, first aid, self-defense, they had different instructors tail students throughout the town to see if they could be spotted, escape a smoke-filled building with 0 visibility, and there was a behind the wheel day where 3 of us got paired up with an instructor and drove Crown Vics around their course. We got to ram cars, pushed a "dead" driver out of the way to take over the wheel, practiced high-speed braking, performed crazy 180 deg direction changes, drove an armored Suburban (literally felt like what I imagined driving a tank is like), tried to do laps around a circular course coated in a slippery gel sprayed with water, and the part where I still absolutely suck--driving in reverse at high speed while someone is shooting at you. It felt like half the time we were in the classroom, all you could hear were other classes screeching and crunching out on the course.

                    They had an unlimited supply of ginger candy for nausea but I should have taken the Dramamine in the morning. I was in the backseat 50% of the day, and our instructor, a retired secret service agent and now part-time race car driver and driving instructor loved showing off his skill--which he had plenty. The helmets we had to wear also smelled like the sweat of all the previous inhabitants. It was a nauseating day. I was all shades of green by the end of the day, but I made it through--until my wife and I had dinner in the hotel room, and I started thinking about the day in the shower. Let's just say it all came flooding back to me.

                    Anyway, it's really quite amazing how little of a car's capability we use.

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                    • leehljp
                      leehljp commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Growing up on a farm in the flat MS delta area, My dad let me and my friends do donuts (spinouts) and driving through our own courses in the edges of a field in the fall or early spring before farming started. That was excellent training, learning how to kick the rear end out a just few degrees and apply gas to push us through a turn quicker. That, and back country paved roads taught us the "feel" of the tires on the road. It is not much different than driving high powered go carts. When learned at an early age, those instincts don't go away. And back then, late '50s through the mid 60's, we had numerous snows of 6 - 10 inches in which I learned to drive on snow and get the "feel" of tire traction on snow in different situations and speeds. VERY helpful training. LOML says she won't go anywhere with anyone in snow or ice except me.

                    • cwsmith
                      cwsmith commented
                      Editing a comment
                      atgc paul,

                      Wow! It's hard to imagine having to be prepped like that for a job in some foreign land. All I ever had to do was put up with was self-centered executives and on rare occasions a crabby engineer.

                      CWS

                    • atgcpaul
                      atgcpaul commented
                      Editing a comment
                      CWS, luckily I get to deal with the crabby engineers back in the US because I could not deal with the self-centered execs my wife has to deal with!

                  • #12
                    Talking about controlling your fear and not jerking the wheel, back in the day when you could still buy small British sports cars from a dealership here in the US, my cousin had an Austin Healey Sprite, boy that’s a small car. (Same thing as a MG Midget) he was traveling on a 2 lane road and semi passed him and probably lost sight of him in his right mirrors, and pulled over on him with his trailer! He wound up somewhere between his spare tire rack and the rear axles, traveling at the same speed as the truck. He couldn’t get out from under the trailer on the right because of telephone poles, ditches etc, and the right side had oncoming traffic. The truck driver pulled over when someone behind the truck saw that happened, passed and motioned for the truck to stop. My cousin was able too drive out from under the trailer unscathed, but the Sprite had several scuffs from various hangy down trailer parts. I’m sure he had to clean out his pants, and probably throw away the drivers seat.

                    Several years later I bought a used MG Midget, my parents had a fit! One of my tricks on my friends, using the knowledge of my cousins near death experience, was to drive under the parked semi trailers that were dropped off in our supermarket parking lot. With the top off there was about 2” to spare! The results were always breathtaking. In later years I wondered what would have happened if one of these trailers had been loaded and set lower than my windshield. I think I will go try it in my Miata.

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                  • #13
                    nice i like it i needed it thnaks for sharing

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                    • #14
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ID:	850337 I’m better on two wheels.

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