Showing posts with label distracted drivers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label distracted drivers. Show all posts

Friday, July 12, 2013

Distracted Driving

When I look at drivers at all, I see far too many of them with their eyes aimed down instead of out toward the road. The more conscientious might be holding their device up on the steering wheel so they can glance up at whatever they are hurtling toward at 50-70 miles per hour. In the case of oncoming motor vehicle traffic those closure speeds would be 100-140. They're still not paying full attention, no matter what they might think.

On Wednesday I posted this idea: To reach distracted drivers, someone needs to invent a device that will broadcast a text alert to any cell phone in active use within 100 yards. Don't bother trying to get idiots to improve their driving habits. Just send them a text of your own. "Cyclist ahead! Eyes on the road, doofus!"

I realize now that a text alert reinforces their idea that their behavior is acceptable. Besides, that message takes too long to read. So the transponder cyclists could carry will interrupt the signal of any phone in the target range and cause it to heat rapidly to 300 degrees.

In the case of hands-free voice-to-text devices, they will simply emit a piercing shriek, or perhaps say, "Pay attention to your driving! Watch where you're going! Slow down! Give that cyclist three feet of passing room!"

Transponder owners could customize their outgoing message. It might say something like, "That rider carries a gun and can shoot the eye out of a flea at 50 yards." Or, more realistically, it could say, "Good luck getting ALL the blood off your car. Better pass with lots of room."

The classic "Hang up and drive" is nice and direct. But it doesn't acknowledge the essential stress and boredom of driving that motivates people to seek distraction in the first place. If driving was as great as the car advertisements portray it, no one would want to dilute the ecstasy with phone calls and text messages.

Summer traffic around here dramatically increases the numbers of the angry and the stupid. It's our little taste of what life is like in Sprawlopolis, the seething, built-out circles of Hell from which these vacationers have briefly escaped. Between the traffic and the parking, it's a great time to be on a bike, slipping through it, instead of in a car, stuck in the middle of it.

If you call me it's going to go to voice mail.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Lighting Priorities

This summer we've been having a lot of this:
With permanently installed lighting I can switch the headlight on when approaching intersections. I do that even in clear weather when approaching a couple of bad ones. My route isn't busy enough to make daytime running lights necessary. The sudden appearance of the light may increase its effect as I enter the maneuvering zone.

Sometimes it's nice to run the light just to add some warmth and brightness to the dreary scene.

On the open highway in fog I appreciate the power of the Superflash blinky taillight. I don't use it in good weather because the sight lines are mostly good and I wear bright (but not harshly bright) clothing. In reduced visibility I want to give overtaking drivers as much time as possible to realize a slower vehicle is there.

To reach distracted drivers, someone needs to invent a device that will broadcast a text alert to any cell phone in active use within 100 yards. Don't bother trying to get idiots to improve their driving habits. Just send them a text of your own. "Cyclist ahead! Eyes on the road, doofus!"