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Cautionary Tale - Distracted Driving

Discussion in 'Model S' started by Half Dollar Bill, Dec 23, 2015.

  1. Half Dollar Bill

    Half Dollar Bill Traveller, teacher, poet, accountant

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    This one could have ended much worse.

    We were recently on our way to visit family. We were driving through Ohio with about 10 miles/10 minutes to go until getting to the Dayton supercharger. We had about 40 miles left on the battery so plenty to spare. The nav was active and we don't have autopilot.

    We get a phone call and at first all I needed to do was listen but pretty quickly it became a participatory call and my vision focused on the road and traffic while my ears paid attention to the call. The call lasted about 20 minutes or so.

    When the call terminated, I glanced down at the nav and noticed 2 parallel blue lines, which has happened before and which I know to mean turn around. And I start to wonder how I missed the exit and immediately go to road construction which was previously around the Dayton exit. But then I quickly notice the red nav warning that I am out of charging range. I have 18 miles of charge and 18 miles to go to get to the Dayton supercharger. So I immediately slow down and begin to look for a crossing in the median. Luck is on my side and one appears less than a mile after my dilemma presents and I turn around and begin heading back to Dayton, picking up 5 miles of buffer by using the median.

    I begin to realize that because I was talking on the phone, the nav directions were silenced and because I was paying attention to the road I wasn't paying attention to the visual nav cues. I'd missed the supercharger exit and continued to drive down the highway. If the call had gone on 10 minutes longer, I'm pretty sure I would have been stranded.

    I'm not one to normally do calls in the car, though the bluetooth is very convenient. I'd also be the first to say that driving and talking on the phone aren't the optimal mix. In normal circumstances, I would have pulled over or told the caller I'd call them back. We were only 10 minutes away from Dayton and an extended charge so it wouldn't have been a big deal.

    So, for those that don't know it yet, the phone overrides the nav directions when you're on a call. But more importantly, as the driver you need to be focused on getting safely to your destination. Heed this cautionary tale and learn from someone that almost got in a mess of trouble doing something you really shouldn't do when driving.

    It's like I tell my friends with email - if you need more than a few sentences, you're better off calling the person. With driving and calling, if you need more than a few minutes, you're better off pulling over or calling back.
     
  2. ModelX

    ModelX Member

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    Thanks for sharing this info!
     
  3. cpa

    cpa Member

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    Sage advice. I seem to recall that the touchscreen does not go blank when on a call, though. (Hindsight is always 20-20!) And, yes it is real hard to focus in a strange area when as you correctly said, "vision on roads and traffic and ears paying attention to the call."

    We all process information differently, so what works for me easily could not work for others. I rely on the touchscreen for directional changes, exits, etc., and not that jazz that appears on the dash board to the left of the speedometer. (That dashboard display for me is a distraction.) The touchscreen tracks the mileage remaining to the direction change or highway exit, and I try to anticipate my odometer reading and ETA based upon distance and my anticipated average speed. If my wife or son is with me, I call out the name of the exit or road that I need to take and ask them to help me remember the name. (You can bet that they pop a surprise quiz at least once during the leg!)

    Safe passage, and Merry Christmas!
     
  4. Krugerrand

    Krugerrand Active Member

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    I have a few times in the past pulled into my driveway only to realize I have no recollection of the last 30 minutes of driving. And I do not text or anything like that when I drive. I do sometimes listen to the radio, but a lot of times I'm just in my head working through a problem/the day's events/whathaveyou. So yeah, I can see where talking/listening to a phone call while your driving and thus having to split your attention and concentration can have you driving right past your exit.
     
  5. thecloud

    thecloud As rhythm raced inside, the ship came alive

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    Completely agree.

    At first I didn't realize you could get rid of the nav app that takes over the leftmost instrument panel slot when a navigation destination is selected, but it turns out you can hold in and turn the left scroll wheel after it appears to select a different app. It's unfortunate that this preference doesn't stick and it can't be turned off permanently, but at least it doesn't have to annoy you for the whole length of a long trip.
     
  6. Todd Burch

    Todd Burch Electron Pilot

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    Good advice 50¢, thanks for sharing your story, and I'm glad you made it!
     
  7. Kandiru

    Kandiru Member

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    Good post, as a range anxious newb I leave at least 50 miles of buffer, especially with the family wanting AC on.
     
  8. AWDtsla

    AWDtsla Active Member

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    Sounds like a serious bug.
     
  9. Ocelot

    Ocelot Member

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    good post. sounds like you were safe to me. better to be stranded paying attention to the road, than who knows what paying attention to NaV. for work occasionally I am on the phone in the car via bluetooth, and I often do the same, space out on where I am going, as all attention is on the call/ immediate surroundings.
     
  10. rjcbox

    rjcbox Member

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    Thanks for sharing - same has happened before
     
  11. mhpr262

    mhpr262 Member

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    That is perfectly normal and does not make driving more dangerous. Using the phone while driving has been proven to be just as bad as driving drunk when it comes to causing accidents, however.
     
  12. Krugerrand

    Krugerrand Active Member

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  13. Canuck

    Canuck Active Member

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    I'm not sure about that. I do the same thing and it is somewhat scary in retrospect. But just because you don't remember doing it after the fact, doesn't necessarily mean that you weren't paying attention at the time you were doing it. Memory recall of doing things that come naturally, and are often done repeatedly, and are not significant enough to remember about, even moments later, doesn't mean you did the task with any less attention at the time it was done than if you recalled it. I see this as quite different than dividing your attention between two separate tasks.
     
  14. Beryl

    Beryl Member

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    Thanks for sharing this. It is better not to take calls when driving.

    This is one of the reasons I often use Apple Maps along with the navigation to get haptic nudges via the Apple Watch. Of course this works best when Apple the car navigation are in agreement.

    Some iOS mapping software is capable of turn by turn interruptions unheard by others on the line. Perhaps a Tesla software update could add this capability.
     
  15. Cosmacelf

    Cosmacelf Active Member

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    Yeah, I call that kind of driving my own "autopilot". What's worse is that I'll be going somewhere unusual, start thinking about something and find that I've completely gone the wrong way for the past several minutes since my brain autopilot was driving for me on a familiar path...
     

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