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  #26  
Old 08-10-2011, 04:11 PM
ecalcagnino ecalcagnino is offline
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I personally think it comes down to a problem that persists well beyond the roads - these people believe they are more important than you (and the law, the rules, social mores, your kid, your well being, your place in line, etc.). On the road it's easier for people to act like this because it's far more anonymous. No one is having yelling matches, it's a one-way argument. It's far easier to do or say something to someone if you know there are really no consequences to speak of.
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  #27  
Old 08-10-2011, 09:11 PM
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I agree there were poor drivers in all the countries I visited. However, on the whole, driver's are more vigilant about their surroundings and the traffic flow. I guess you have to be to negotiate all the round abouts and tight roads and congestion, which is a good thing. If we all just paid more attention to driving, I am sure we could do the same. That's why I refused to get the BMW Apps for my car even though I got the Nav. I can't imagine facebook, twitter and all the other useless, mindless crap we indulge in being available to people driving 4000lb plus vehicles at all times. BTW, I am also an avid cyclist and I prefer to cycle in twisty, narrow roads rather than straight wide lane roads as I know the drivers have to actually focus in the act of driving and are less likely to veer off to the side and kill me. The one big accident I had was due to a careless weekend cyclist who U turned in front of me on a 5 mile stretch of wide open road by the beach. Needless to say, I never bike there anymore.
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  #28  
Old 08-10-2011, 09:27 PM
jsleemd jsleemd is offline
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One more post, about Europe. I have to say the Germans are either all wannabe race car drivers or maybe they actually are. It sure felt that way in the mountain roads near Eagle's nest. The speed and passing maneuvers of these guys is truly awesome. I actually had to appreciate their skill and respectfully let them pass me when they came up fast on my rear view mirror on the one lane roads. And the guys driving Porsche turbos actually are the craziest drivers unlike the US version who cruise barely above the limit. I guess if you paid nearly $200k for that car ( with the higher taxes I figure), you spent the money to flog it.
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  #29  
Old 08-10-2011, 09:29 PM
Fuenfer Fuenfer is offline
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Originally Posted by SD 335is View Post
I saw this in Europe too. I also experienced people that wouldn't pull over on a two lane stretch of Autobahn because they had just passed a truck and there was another truck 500 meters past that and another truck 500 meters past that. They were driving maybe 100 km/h. They could easily have pulled over, let me pass, and then pulled out to pass each successive truck without slowing down. German drivers are definitely better than US drivers but there are bonehead drivers everywhere.
+1. I had the pleasure of traveling at about 200 kmh / 120 mph in the left lane in an unrestricted section of the German Autobahn when a car going at about 100 kmh / 60 mph decided to pull in front of me to pass a truck. I had to brake fairly firmly to avoid an accident. I thought only clueless American drivers did that, but as SD335is says, there are boneheads everywhere.
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  #30  
Old 08-10-2011, 09:32 PM
Fuenfer Fuenfer is offline
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One more post, about Europe. I have to say the Germans are either all wannabe race car drivers or maybe they actually are. It sure felt that way in the mountain roads near Eagle's nest. The speed and passing maneuvers of these guys is truly awesome. I actually had to appreciate their skill and respectfully let them pass me when they came up fast on my rear view mirror on the one lane roads. And the guys driving Porsche turbos actually are the craziest drivers unlike the US version who cruise barely above the limit. I guess if you paid nearly $200k for that car ( with the higher taxes I figure), you spent the money to flog it.
I don't know about the Germans, but I have to say, I had the most pleasant experience riding as a passenger in a taxi cab in Rome. He took the twisties on the hill behind the Vatican extremely smoothly, in a very controlled manner, while going fast enough to "make the tires talk," al the while executing perfect heel-and-toe shifts. I've yet to have a student at an HPDE drive as smoothly or as quick without any drama, and had to say that I was extremely impressed.
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  #31  
Old 08-10-2011, 09:44 PM
ravenbirmingham ravenbirmingham is offline
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I do believe some americans are excellent drivers. most just dont care. texas is not a good place to judge u.s. driving skills. or extremely busy.cities just because people dont care and think its okay to push people off of the road. I dont live in a place like that. I live in a small city with normal drivers.

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  #32  
Old 08-11-2011, 04:36 PM
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Thanks for starting this thread. Some observations:

- Italians are, I strongly believe, the most competent drivers in Europe that I've seen. Generally speaking, of course. Granted, you will bump into somebody who shouldn't be on the road in Italy, but the ratio of criminally incompetent/competent drivers is very favorable. I estimate that ratio to be 1/1 here in U.S. - meaning half of the people holding drivers license should have it revoked today.


- Don't confuse "competence" with "being nice". Driving has nothing to do with being nice, but with respecting the rules of the road. And if you decide to break those rules, make sure you are not making it somebody else's problem. Above all, do NOT stop or slow flow of traffic.


- Passing on two lane roads is something I rarely see here. In E9X forum I posted once that I hardly ever see anybody passing on two lane roads here in U.S, from comments it looked like people thought I was exaggerating, but I'm not. Seemingly most (almost all) of the people driving here want to pass a vehicle on two lane road like if it was an Interstate - at steady cruise control set speed, 2-5 mph higher than vehicle they want to pass.

No, you downshift and slam it passing the vehicle at the fastest pace possible in your car, turn back into right lane as soon as you passed the vehicle and slow down by braking if you want to respect speed limits. It would be very helpful if people would learn to pass in that fashion on Interstates as well. It is not a "close call" until the car approaching in opposite lane has to slam on brakes to avoid frontal hit. If they do, that makes you an a-hole as well, but if they don't everything is fine.

Don't even think about trying to pass like that in U.S. - if they don't shoot at you through the car window, they'll almost certainly call cops. Exactly as many of things described in comments above, they LOVE to make their problem somebody else's problem - in this case their problem is not knowing how to drive, but you better believe they WILL make it your problem. One way or another.


- Driving in Europe is all about paying attention while driving. Only then you can actively participate in traffic, its flow and take actions to make it better. Since most people driving in U.S. perceive driving as a chore, they will do anything to take their mind off the task. Which makes driving suck even more and then it needs more distractions ... no end in sight, it's a vicious circle. Unfortunately, I see no way out of it.


- American individualism just exacerbates the situation. We are not a country where individuals are brought up with the idea and understanding of "common good". Look no further than HOAs to see how far it goes. Even under the threat to lose property value, some people will just do whatever they please (usually the reason is "Because I can!") no matter how badly it affects THEMSELVES and those around them. Thus, the silly (and often plain stupid) rules regarding what people CAN do on their property. Europeans are much more social animals and concept of "common good" is usually integrated into their values by parents. Usually. Of course there are exceptions, but far less than what we have here in U.S.


- Last but not least, I strongly believe that

a) very low (ridiculously so) speed limits for the space we have on roads
b) strict control on intersections (90+% of them have 3 or 4-way stop or traffic light)
c) lack of roundabouts (because of "safety" concerns)

killed more Americans than any war with maybe the exception of WWII. That we have to have receivers on traffic lights so that emergency vehicles can change signal to red in all directions except the one they are traveling (all while flashing their strobes and blaring their sirens) is a fact so tragic that should tell you a lot about where we got with making driving brainless activity brought on the level of lowest common denominator - all for the sake of "safety". Obtaining the exact opposite.
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Last edited by Mark K; 08-11-2011 at 04:59 PM.
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  #33  
Old 08-11-2011, 07:09 PM
rickb55 rickb55 is offline
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If there is ONE thing I wished we used here in the states that they use in Europe that I loved most: Roundabouts. Absolutely, the most efficient traffic flow creation alternative to stop lights. Yes, you gotta have your wits about you on the big ones, but that so beats waiting and wastefully idling your life away at a red light.

Thanks for creating the thread. Love all the comments.
I agree, roundabouts everywhere and raise the speed limits, maybe we might get a bunch of idiots off the road from lack of driving skills!
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  #34  
Old 08-11-2011, 08:03 PM
lahbmw lahbmw is offline
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I agree with everything in this post except the recommendation that 18 wheelers have a lower speed limit than cars on the interstate. They have this in IL (10 mph lower) and all it does is have them passing each other at an even slower speed.
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  #35  
Old 08-11-2011, 08:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Mark K View Post
Thanks for starting this thread. Some observations:
... .
Thanks OP for the topic, but this ... this! I should print this post on acid-free paper and frame it under museum glass.
I started to respond point-for-point but realized it's a complete waste of time when I can simply tell you I agree with every word.

It will only get worse. As the number of unskilled operators (I refuse to call them "drivers") climbs, the laws will change to protect them, to the lasting frustration of those possessing genuine skill. The alternative--attempting to raise the minimum skill level--is doomed to fail, because it requires not issuing a license to people who fail to learn the necessary skills. Too many Americans consider holding a driver's license to be a right, rather than a privilege, for that to ever happen.

And put me down as another fan of roundabouts! There were commonplace when I was growing up but have been slowly eradicated over the years. I was surprised how common they are in Germany, and had forgotten how well they work when people don't behave like idiots.
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  #36  
Old 08-11-2011, 08:51 PM
jsleemd jsleemd is offline
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Thanks for all the posts to this thread. I am pleasantly surprised at some of the most logical, eloquent and longest posts on bimmerfest forum. It must have really touched a nerve in a lot of us.
I really like the notion that variable limits in germany is one of the reasons they are so attentiv . God I wish that could be duplicated here but I know the cops writing their chickenpoop tickets wouldn't know what to do if they couldn't hide out in a corner of a deserted road and nab one of us for going 10mph over the limit in an empty highway.
Roundabouts are great if you know what you are doing but in the US would mean worse traffic snarls as most everyone will wait till there are no cars in the roundabout till they enter.
As far as 18 wheelers being restricted with truck mounted gps systems like in europe, absolutely, it'll work. How many times have you encountered a caravan of trucks in the right lane going too fast for you to get ahead of them safely to exit safely. Plus this will allow the gaps to open up in the two lane highways so people can move over to the right to let faster traffic through.
Passing on one lane roads is a lost art. I often have to pass two or more cars trailing behind a truck on empty stretches because they think it's too dangerous a maneuver. If this happened in europe, no one would get anywhere.
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  #37  
Old 08-11-2011, 09:02 PM
jsleemd jsleemd is offline
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BTW, I've been thinking a lot lately that we have too many cops. It sure seemed that way when I saw 6 CHP in 10 minutes of driving, hiding by the side or underpass or on ramp of the 101 near san jose all with their radar or laser on. Is that what our tax dollars are paying for? So they can fleece us again? Fight crime for god sake. In 1500 miles of driving in Europe I only saw one police speed trap in france. It was an unmarked van with Gendarmes pointing radar or laser from the back door. All the police presence is in the city centers actually discouraging disorderly behavior and not actively trying to write citations.

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  #38  
Old 08-12-2011, 08:04 AM
rickb55 rickb55 is offline
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Maybe BMW can offer one of these as an option......

OK, it is a little extreme, but then again, sometimes justified
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  #39  
Old 08-12-2011, 09:28 AM
dpritchett dpritchett is offline
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BTW, I've been thinking a lot lately that we have too many cops. It sure seemed that way when I saw 6 CHP in 10 minutes of driving, hiding by the side or underpass or on ramp of the 101 near san jose all with their radar or laser on. Is that what our tax dollars are paying for? So they can fleece us again? Fight crime for god sake. In 1500 miles of driving in Europe I only saw one police speed trap in france. It was an unmarked van with Gendarmes pointing radar or laser from the back door. All the police presence is in the city centers actually discouraging disorderly behavior and not actively trying to write citations.
My wife's last ticket was written at 0445 am. Her offense -- parking on the the street in front of our house (gasp!) facing the wrong direction. It's a deadend street and its plenty wide, so no harm was being done.

It's nice to think we live in a place where the police have nothing better to do at that time of the morning than scouring the suburbs for cars pointing the wrong direction (if only that were really true!), but it's my personal example of revenue enhancement. God forbid they solve our latest murder, the rash of burglaries going on, or deal with gang activity and drugs on the streets.
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  #40  
Old 08-12-2011, 09:34 AM
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Originally Posted by dpritchett View Post
My wife's last ticket was written at 0445 am. Her offense -- parking on the the street in front of our house (gasp!) facing the wrong direction. It's a deadend street and its plenty wide, so no harm was being done.

It's nice to think we live in a place where the police have nothing better to do at that time of the morning than scouring the suburbs for cars pointing the wrong direction (if only that were really true!), but it's my personal example of revenue enhancement. God forbid they solve our latest murder, the rash of burglaries going on, or deal with gang activity and drugs on the streets.
You're right, they should be at Dunkin Donuts trying to bust hookers
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  #41  
Old 08-12-2011, 12:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Zeichen311 View Post
Thanks OP for the topic, but this ... this! I should print this post on acid-free paper and frame it under museum glass.
I started to respond point-for-point but realized it's a complete waste of time when I can simply tell you I agree with every word.
Well, thank you very much. It makes me feel a lot better knowing there's somebody out there who completely gets what I'm saying. Serendipity wanted that I have access to a bunch of very smart people, but even they can't understand what I'm saying and think I'm just venting because I can't drive as fast as I want. They just don't get it. It gets frustrating after some time.

So, it is nice to meet somebody who gets it 100%.
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  #42  
Old 08-12-2011, 01:56 PM
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Lots of rants here about everything the "other guy" is doing wrong, but how about some introspection? How many of you (honestly):
  1. Stop completely at every stop sign, even if you're turning right, regardless of whether anyone else is even in sight? Rolling stops are so common in my area that if you actually stop you might get rear-ended and someone else at the intersection will certainly grab your right-of-way.
  2. Come to a full stop at every red light before turning right (if local law allows it)? Again, right-turners in my area treat red lights like a yield sign.
  3. Always use your blinker every time you turn at an intersection or change lanes on the freeway? This is so infrequent that I'm usually amazed when I actually see someone signal.
  4. Drive at a safe speed on residential streets? The speed limit on residential streets in my neighborhood is 25 MPH, I drive 28 (digital speedo on my S2000), but I have seen cars that have to be going 35-50! My wife drives under 30 in our neighborhood and she actually had a pizza delivery guy pass her on a residential street with the Pizza Hut sign on top of his car! (She called Pizza Hut.) I NEVER speed in a neighborhood, even if I'm late.
  5. Maintain a 3 second gap between the car in front of you, even if the driver is an idiot and driving 65 in the left lane?
  6. Stay out of the left lane unless passing, if there's space to move over?
  7. Wear your seat belt every time, even it you're just running to the store?
It's my personal opinion that if you're not doing everything I listed above, you are setting a bad example and you are just contributing to the overall degradation of common courtesy while driving.

I may drive like an enthusiast and I may not be driving the speed limit on a freeway, but these are my personal driving commandments. How many of you have personal driving commandments?
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  #43  
Old 08-12-2011, 02:41 PM
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This is America, right? How about we do something to change this. There must be a raise the speed limit petition somewhere we could get behind. If we raised speeds on non-urban interstates to 90 MPH+ and had the police focus more on aggressive drivers, lane hogs and tailgaters, we would be safer and have faster, more enjoyable drives.

Where's the petition?
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  #44  
Old 08-12-2011, 03:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SD 335is View Post
Lots of rants here about everything the "other guy" is doing wrong, but how about some introspection? How many of you (honestly):
  1. Stop completely at every stop sign, even if you're turning right, regardless of whether anyone else is even in sight? Rolling stops are so common in my area that if you actually stop you might get rear-ended and someone else at the intersection will certainly grab your right-of-way.
  2. Come to a full stop at every red light before turning right (if local law allows it)? Again, right-turners in my area treat red lights like a yield sign.
  3. Always use your blinker every time you turn at an intersection or change lanes on the freeway? This is so infrequent that I'm usually amazed when I actually see someone signal.
  4. Drive at a safe speed on residential streets? The speed limit on residential streets in my neighborhood is 25 MPH, I drive 28 (digital speedo on my S2000), but I have seen cars that have to be going 35-50! My wife drives under 30 in our neighborhood and she actually had a pizza delivery guy pass her on a residential street with the Pizza Hut sign on top of his car! (She called Pizza Hut.) I NEVER speed in a neighborhood, even if I'm late.
  5. Maintain a 3 second gap between the car in front of you, even if the driver is an idiot and driving 65 in the left lane?
  6. Stay out of the left lane unless passing, if there's space to move over?
  7. Wear your seat belt every time, even it you're just running to the store?
It's my personal opinion that if you're not doing everything I listed above, you are setting a bad example and you are just contributing to the overall degradation of common courtesy while driving.

I may drive like an enthusiast and I may not be driving the speed limit on a freeway, but these are my personal driving commandments. How many of you have personal driving commandments?
To this I would like to add one thing:

8. Maintain your vehicle so that it is safe to operate in all conditions on the highway. Is it really safe to have that bumper secured only with duct tape? Additionally, make sure objects you are transporting are properly secured inside and outside of the passenger cabin so that they cannot become a danger to the occupants or to other vehicles. Have you ever seen some dope in a econbox with a mattress roped to the roof top? Have you ever had to dodge a mattress/ladder/cooler/toolbox on the interstate in rush hour?
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  #45  
Old 08-12-2011, 06:13 PM
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I blame it all on Suburbans, Tahoes and Yukon XLs driven by short people with no passengers. They are my road enemies.
Soccer moms on cell phones while doing their nails are mine. And if you think that is an exaggeration, drive around Scottsdale, AZ for a day!

I've had plenty of run ins with bad drivers in Germany.

Once on the A8 Munich to Salzburg, one Munich driver passed another Munich driver on the RIGHT!! The elderly fellow in the fast lane (who was driving far too slow) flipped out. He grabbed his camera, sped up, and started taking flash photos of the offender. He just about took out the offending car, himself, and me in the ensuing madness.
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  #46  
Old 08-12-2011, 06:57 PM
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Zeichen311 Zeichen311 is offline
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Originally Posted by SD 335is View Post
  1. Stop completely at every stop sign ....
  2. Come to a full stop at every red light before turning right ....
  3. Always use your blinker every time you turn at an intersection or change lanes on the freeway? ...
  4. Drive at a safe speed on residential streets? ...
  5. Maintain a 3 second gap between the car in front of you, ....
  6. Stay out of the left lane unless passing, if there's space to move over?
  7. Wear your seat belt every time, even it you're just running to the store?
That's a good list. And, in complete honesty:
  1. Check.
  2. Check.
  3. Check. To the point that people on the other end of a phone call have asked why they hear the indicator so often.
  4. Check.
  5. Fail. In NJ's dense freeway traffic, such a gap is filled instantly and in short order you will find yourself slowly flowing backward relative to traffic. It doesn't excuse what I know is a bad habit. I'm better about it on secondary roads.
  6. Check.
  7. Check. This one is so ingrained that I feel uneasy moving the car a few feet in a parking lot. It's as much about control as safety--how can you drive properly when you're not strapped in?
The bizarre thing is, I've had people question these habits and others, then actually argue against them because they're unusual and annoying! (Keeping right in particular, because it results in more frequent lane changes.) It boggles the mind.
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  #47  
Old 08-12-2011, 07:37 PM
jsleemd jsleemd is offline
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I also abide by all above except 5 for the same reason given. I don't think we are just a bunch of hoons here on this forum. If you have the means to do ED, I assume you have at least made something of yourself and behave like responsible adults.
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  #48  
Old 08-12-2011, 07:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SD 335is View Post
Lots of rants here about everything the "other guy" is doing wrong, but how about some introspection? How many of you (honestly):
  1. Stop completely at every stop sign, even if you're turning right, regardless of whether anyone else is even in sight? Rolling stops are so common in my area that if you actually stop you might get rear-ended and someone else at the intersection will certainly grab your right-of-way.
  2. Come to a full stop at every red light before turning right (if local law allows it)? Again, right-turners in my area treat red lights like a yield sign.
  3. Always use your blinker every time you turn at an intersection or change lanes on the freeway? This is so infrequent that I'm usually amazed when I actually see someone signal.
  4. Drive at a safe speed on residential streets? The speed limit on residential streets in my neighborhood is 25 MPH, I drive 28 (digital speedo on my S2000), but I have seen cars that have to be going 35-50! My wife drives under 30 in our neighborhood and she actually had a pizza delivery guy pass her on a residential street with the Pizza Hut sign on top of his car! (She called Pizza Hut.) I NEVER speed in a neighborhood, even if I'm late.
  5. Maintain a 3 second gap between the car in front of you, even if the driver is an idiot and driving 65 in the left lane?
  6. Stay out of the left lane unless passing, if there's space to move over?
  7. Wear your seat belt every time, even it you're just running to the store?
Yes to all. Comments below.

Quote:
It's my personal opinion that if you're not doing everything I listed above, you are setting a bad example and you are just contributing to the overall degradation of common courtesy while driving.
You are not setting any bad examples for a simple reason that those who need good example are totally oblivious to anything outside their own vehicle. They won't see your car coming, let alone what you are doing. Why do you think emergency vehicles have gadget that forces red light on intersections in all directions but in the one they are traveling?

Quote:
I may drive like an enthusiast and I may not be driving the speed limit on a freeway, but these are my personal driving commandments. How many of you have personal driving commandments?
I have one and only one. You should not impede free movement of others, nor should you force others to actions they would not otherwise take. Under no reasonable circumstance, you are excused in case of death or serious injury.

Now comments:

Exception made for 3 and 6, I don't see a big deal if some idiot doesn't follow them.

Now, about 5 ... I do that in U.S. with big restraint. In Europe, it is slightly more than 1 second. Why? Well, IF you are paying attention, 1 second is more than enough reaction time. However, I do leave a tad more as safety margin. The only reason I leave 3 or more seconds in U.S. is that I cannot trust person ahead of me behaving rationally since 1 second gap here is considered "tailgating" and it seems to be offending people more than anal rape. Why I really can't understand. At 60 mph, that's almost 80 ft (about 26 meters). Tailgating is driving 90 mph on Autostrada with a guy in MB wagon less than 10 feet from your rear bumper flashing his high beams like disco strobes.

Why do you think 3 seconds are necessary?
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  #49  
Old 08-12-2011, 09:15 PM
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Zeichen311 Zeichen311 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by craigrow View Post
This is America, right? How about we do something to change this. There must be a raise the speed limit petition somewhere we could get behind. If we raised speeds on non-urban interstates to 90 MPH+ and had the police focus more on aggressive drivers, lane hogs and tailgaters, we would be safer and have faster, more enjoyable drives.
I wouldn't sign it because that tackles the problem from the wrong end. Require meaningful driver education and safe travel at higher speeds follows naturally.

Here's an interesting measure of our licensing standards: Only 27 US States have full reciprocity agreements with Germany, which exempt US license holders from the theoretical (written) and practical (behind-the-wheel) test requirements to obtain a German driver's license. Another 10 have partial agreements (practical exemption; written test required). Move to Germany from one of the other 13 and you (we! see below) would need to pass the complete battery of German driving tests to get a license.

So here's one to ponder before the next ED trip: If you obtained your current driver's license in Alaska, California, Georgia, Hawaii, Maine, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Rhode Island or Vermont, the official position of Germany is that you may not know how to drive.

Granted, this may have more to do with a state's willingness to execute a reciprocity agreement than the quality of its driving instruction. Still: Makes you want to take more than a casual study of signs and regulations before bombing down the autobahn at speed, doesn't it?

Send me the petitions to raise the instruction time required to get a license, and the qualification requirements for the instructors themselves, and I'll sign those in a heartbeat.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark K View Post
IF you are paying attention, 1 second is more than enough reaction time. However, I do leave a tad more as safety margin. The only reason I leave 3 or more seconds in U.S. is that I cannot trust person ahead of me behaving rationally since 1 second gap here is considered "tailgating" and it seems to be offending people more than anal rape.
...
Why do you think 3 seconds are necessary?
I wondered about that also. I was taught the "two-second rule," and to allow double that in the wet. Thanks to BMW brakes and high-performance tires I'm comfortable at half that (IF I can see beyond the car ahead of me) but it's problematic for the reason you gave.
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Last edited by Zeichen311; 08-12-2011 at 09:19 PM.
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  #50  
Old 08-13-2011, 08:42 AM
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Me530 Me530 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lahbmw View Post
I agree with everything in this post except the recommendation that 18 wheelers have a lower speed limit than cars on the interstate. They have this in IL (10 mph lower) and all it does is have them passing each other at an even slower speed.
I don't think I've ever seen an 18 wheeler following the speed limit here....
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