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A Few Comments on Safety for New Tesla Owners

Discussion in 'Model S: Driving Dynamics' started by Todd Burch, Dec 13, 2014.

  1. Todd Burch

    Todd Burch Electron Pilot

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    P85D owners are now starting to get their cars, and there are likely buyers who have not experienced the instant torque and acceleration of the Model S, much less that it is produced almost silently.

    I thought I'd start a post on some driving safety tips, because the S (and the P85D) present a few unique dangers to drivers, aside from the raw power.

    Here are a couple. Perhaps others can share more.

    First, the S is really quiet under power (compared to other cars). Be careful of changing lanes and then launching past a driver in the next lane over. This car teleports. They won't expect the quickness without a loud engine noise. At best they'll be startled. At worst they'll start changing lanes right into you.

    Second, be wary when gunning it from a stop light. People turning right on red at an intersection into your lane won't expect you to accelerate so quickly. There have been numerous cases of accidents where Señor Tesla guns it, then someone turns right on red not expecting señor Telsa to transport quickly and silently across the intersection. Smack, then sad Señor Tesla.

    Also, if you feel the urge to gun it from a stop light (many do), be careful of red light or very late yellow light runners in the crossing direction. Getting T-Boned is probably not fun. Make sure there are no cars coming across the intersection first.

    Be careful in turns. The planted feeling of the S will make some want to push hard through a turn. If you overdo it and th let up rapidly on the accelerator while in the turn, weight can shift to the front wheels rapidly, causing an oversteer condition and your tail can wrap around you like a kitty.

    Any folks want to share some others?
     
    • Like x 1
  2. sillydriver

    sillydriver Member

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  3. gavine

    gavine Petrol Head turned EV Enthusiast

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    I witnessed this last night. Felt good actually. The oversteer came at the right time and it felt like the turn came more easily.....almost as if there was artificial intervention, but in a good way.
     
  4. EarlyAdopter

    EarlyAdopter Active Member

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    Please consider taking a "high performance driving class" or "car control clinic" with your local Audi, BMW, or Porsche club.

    These classes are structured around a series of drills that will have you practicing accident avoidance, threshold breaking, and handling at the edge on dry and wet pavement. It will give you a chance to learn your car at its limits in a safe, controlled environment under experienced instruction.

    Most clubs welcome all makes of cars and you'll find some of the warmest, most receptive car enthusiasts around.

    I guarantee you'll have a blast and what you learn could very well save your life some day.
     
  5. ecarfan

    ecarfan Well-Known Member

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    Todd thanks for your post. We absolutely do not want to have even one accident caused by a Model S owner "over using" their rapid acceleration. Other drivers simply do not understand how quickly a Tesla can move from point A to point B, and therefore overestimate how much time they have to safely move into the path of the oncoming Tesla.

    I think about this every time I read a post from a Tesla owner talking about how they can simply "point and shoot" their way into an open space or lane on a freeway, for example. It is NOT that simple. You need to allow for unexpected moves by other drivers who think they are making a safe maneuver but do not realize how quickly a Tesla can occupy the space that they think is wide open.

    We do not want to see a media report about how dangerous and reckless all Tesla drivers are -- and how Tesla's are "dangerously overpowered -- based on a tiny number of incidents, incidents where the Tesla driver may well be at fault!

    Drive responsibly, and enjoy the acceleration only when the road is clear and other cars are not in the area. Freeway on ramps can be fun when no one is in front of you and you can reach safe merging speeds in a few seconds, but it's easy to overshoot and reach the merging point well over the speed limit! Pay attention.
     
  6. Todd Burch

    Todd Burch Electron Pilot

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    Yes, driving this car (if coming from a non-performance car) is like switching from flying a prop plane to a jet. Everything happens much more quickly.

    When I first got my Tesla, I was switching from a Saturn. The power was addictive. I would often be tempted to switch lanes, then gun it, but I realized that the other drivers just don't expect the quickness and it puts us at risk for an accident.
     
  7. woof

    woof Model S #P683 Blue 85 kWh

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    I second this! I learned a ton at the local BMW class. My teen son and I also took a "safe driving" school class. That was very informative as well, being more safety than performance oriented. For that class we used their Volvos which was fun because of the FWD torque steer and the knowledge it wasn't your tires you were trashing!
     
  8. ElectricFarmBoy

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    Great power is knowing you can do something but then not doing it.


    I thought that was a movie quote but couldn't find it. Of course, an equally valid movie quote is "With great power comes great responsibility", and even more so for our new P85D friends...
     
  9. Phil Manke

    Phil Manke New Member

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    Simply a blast to drive!
    One problem I have; I have large feet, 15, 4-E. I often mash both pedals if in a hurried braking move. Did a U-turn on a country road and this happened when I saw I would not make it. Resulting in plowing over the shoulder. The traction control, normally impressive, would not drive both rear wheels and became hung because of being supported on two opposite corner wheels. Had to get towed. No damage, but embarrassed. The car would not steer out of the ditch with tow. Kept sliding along on pan untill we pulled from the front at a side angle. I want to get that tow eye for the front! Why isn't that included? Or did I miss it?
     
  10. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

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    Strictly speaking, the movie just reused that quote, so I wouldn't call it a movie quote.

    The other quote should be

    “Real power is control. Knowing that you can do anything...and not doing it only because you can.”
    Joan D. Vinge, The Snow Queen

     
  11. Todd Burch

    Todd Burch Electron Pilot

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    Did you try disabling traction control or pulling the stability control fuse? Maybe that would've got you out of that issue without a tow.
     
  12. caddieo

    caddieo Member

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    This. The MS has a significant blind spot due to the small rear view mirror and small rear hatch window. And the location of this blind spot is distorted relative to the cars in the lane you are entering since you are coming into the lane at an angle in contrast to shifting between lanes which are parallel. The use of the rear view camera may mitigate this to some extent but being aware of this potential problem is always the first consideration. This is especially true on the older highways where the on ramps can be very short. In new construction, the on ramps are long enough so that merging mimics a lane-change maneuver.
     
  13. RiverBrick

    RiverBrick Active Member

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    Objects in thé rear-view camera at are MUCH closer than they appear.
     
  14. ZsoZso

    ZsoZso Member

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    That is true, but I still like to drive with the camera view on all the time, because of the large blind spot. While the distance is very hard to judge, I can see if there is anything at all, so I know it is safe to change lane if I see nothing in either the mirrors or the camera.
     
  15. ecarfan

    ecarfan Well-Known Member

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    I also always have the rear camera image at the top of the center screen and find it very useful (except when it's raining). I have adjusted to the distortion of the wide angle view. I rarely use the rear view mirror as that view is too restricted.
     
  16. GreenT

    GreenT Member

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    Sorry, but I consider your post condescending.
    Most of us here are not in Kindergarten and have spent as much time behind the wheel as you, or more?
     
  17. thecloud

    thecloud As rhythm raced inside, the ship came alive

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    #17 thecloud, Dec 13, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2014
    I didn't find it to be condescending. While we all may have spent a lot of time behind the wheel, that wasn't his point. If you are coming to the Model S from a non-performance car, then it's worth thinking about the different driving characteristics that come along with that extra power.

    Another item for the safety checklist: watch out for pedestrians in sidewalks and parking lots who are walking with their back to you. The car is so quiet that they can suddenly decide to walk right into you without realizing that you are there. I haven't yet figured out the best approach (hopefully we never are forced to install government-mandated noise generators!), but opening a window and cranking up the music works.
     
  18. Todd Burch

    Todd Burch Electron Pilot

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    #18 Todd Burch, Dec 14, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2014
    1. If you are an experienced performance driver, the Model S is still different. Almost every other performance car out there makes a lot of noise when you gun it. To other cars, the Model S makes almost none. That presents unique dangers, in that cars are easily startled by the Model S performance. As an experienced driver, I'm sure you already know that other drivers use a loud engine as a cue that other cars are accelerating swiftly. (Other, bad drivers. Not you).

    2. As an example, there is one member here buying a P85D for his mother, who has never driven a performance car before. As I'm sure you know (being an experienced performance driver), 700hp and instantaneous torque can get one into a lot of trouble very quickly.

    3. Feel free to share your knowledge for the benefit of others. We're not all as experienced at performance driving as you.

    4. I never once claimed to be an experienced performance driver. But I guarantee I have more miles in, knowledge of, and time in the Model S, and I was just sharing the experience I've gained in hopes that it might keep someone else out of a bind.

    5. Do you always take general posts to an internet forum as a personal affront to your ego?
     
  19. GreenT

    GreenT Member

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    My ego?

    You're the OP!
     
  20. Todd Burch

    Todd Burch Electron Pilot

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    Your point? Check my join date here (2009) and the VIN on my first car (1653). You're saying I'm being egotistical by passing along the experience I've gained for the benefit of others? Wow.

    Didn't mean to step on your wealth of experience.

    What threads have you started for the benefit of others?
     

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