TMC is an independent, primarily volunteer organization that relies on ad revenue to cover its operating costs. Please consider whitelisting TMC on your ad blocker or making a Paypal contribution here: paypal.me/SupportTMC

Convinced my Model S helped me prevent a serious accident today

Discussion in 'Model S: Driving Dynamics' started by Mike_Schlechter, Aug 25, 2013.

  1. Mike_Schlechter

    Mike_Schlechter Model S - P457

    Joined:
    May 21, 2010
    Messages:
    446
    Location:
    Weston, CT
    Near where I live there is a strange three way intersection where one lane in a single direction has no stop sign, but all other lanes and directions do. Think of a Y where one arm is coming down a hill, and only when coming down the hill is there no stop. The right arm, when coming down the hill without the stop, is completely blind, so the stop sign there is a major safety mechanism.

    I was coming down the hill, so no stop. A young guy, maybe 20, in an older Jeep Gand Cherokee was coming from my right into the intersection, and a man in an newer S-class was coming from the left. The Jeep blew through the stop sign at a decent clip, and by the time I saw him the Merc was honking, I assume to warn me. To avoid t-boning him, and to avoid the Merc, my only option was slamming the brakes and going hard right. First off, I didn't roll. From all the press, that is no surprise, but still, wow. Had I been in my wife's Highlander Hybrid it would absolutely have rolled. Even in the Tesla I felt like I was on two wheels. The Jeep stopped, and the guy in the Merc got out and started screaming at the kid. I also got out and had words with him, before he told me to "(bleep) off," and drove away. The guy in the Merc then asked me a lot about the car, and said he couldn't believe I avoided the crash without rolling. It convinced him to consider the Model S next year when his lease was up.

    I was quite shaken, and after the fear passed, pretty angry. The guy telling me the Model S saved my derrière improved my mood greatly. Almost nine months in and I'm continually impressed by this car. It really is a joy, and now I probably owe it for saving me from what could have been a bad accident.
     
  2. rabar10

    rabar10 FFE until Model 3

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2010
    Messages:
    1,333
    Location:
    Indianapolis, IN
    Wow, glad to hear the accident was avoided.

    Were you headed north on CT-53 where CT-57 separates?
     
  3. Mike_Schlechter

    Mike_Schlechter Model S - P457

    Joined:
    May 21, 2010
    Messages:
    446
    Location:
    Weston, CT
    No, I was off 53, where Godfrey Road East and Tubbs Sping come together.

    The only really funny moment was the guy in the Merc told me how he sees my car all the time, as he lives nearby, and is always amazed how the color seems to change. My wife wisely noted later that we have a neighbor with a blue Model S, and mine in Green, so maybe he is seeing both and getting confused. Hard to believe I live in a neighborhood with more Model S that S-Class, but I do.
     
  4. hans

    hans P631

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2012
    Messages:
    1,123
    Location:
    Menlo Park
    The Model S actually saved the kid's *ss. If you t-boned the Jeep he might be dead.
     
  5. purplewalt

    purplewalt Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2013
    Messages:
    1,412
    Location:
    Dallas, Texas
    Now THAT is funny.
    The poor guy in the Merc thinks it is Green one day, and Blue the next.
    hahaha
    Keep the suspense going, never be near the Blue one, or have at least a fifteen minute separation.
     
  6. JPP

    JPP Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2013
    Messages:
    1,841
    Location:
    SF Bay area, CA
    I have been meaning to ask some of the 'experts' on the forum who have real professional driving experience and knowledge (e.g. lolachampcar, leilani) about the 'failure' mode to expect in a Model S. I see rollovers not infrequently (saw one a couple of days ago up against the center divide--small SUV), and we know that the S is so heavy and has such a low CG that it will be very hard to roll. So if you execute an emergency maneuver (high speed sharp turn), what parameter will one eventually exceed? Tire grip-thus a spin out? Separate the bead on the tire from the rim? You obviously had no time to choose and managed to do the best thing. Anything to learn here?
     
  7. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2010
    Messages:
    15,848
    Location:
    Ottawa, Canada
    FWIW when you take a high-performance driving school they teach you an accident avoidance maneuver as follows:

    1. Plant the brakes. This not only slows the car, it dramatically shifts the weight onto the front wheels.
    2. THEN steer. With all the extra weight on the front wheels, you'll have much more grip for steering.

    I've had, unfortunately, opportunity to use this on the street, and it saved me from a major collision.

    It sounds like this is exactly what you did, although you probably didn't realize it was exactly the right thing to do.
     
  8. Puyallup Bill

    Puyallup Bill Member

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2012
    Messages:
    606
    Location:
    Puyallup WA
    Well, I'm not so sure he is mixing the two. I have green, and I swear it changes colors depending on light conditions. Some days I love the color, some days I wish I had something different - maybe gray.

    Thank goodness for those BIG brakes, and I assume anti-lock worked well.
     
  9. Gear

    Gear Member

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2013
    Messages:
    594
    Location:
    SoCal
    You will slide the tires first. The only real chance of unseating the tires from the rim or rolling over would be if you hit an object.

    This could be a potentially bad way to handle this. It's likely that by "planting" the brakes and then turning, you have a good chance of simply overworking the fronts and understeering into exactly what you were trying to avoid. I'd say it's good to add brakes and then steer, but stomping on them might inhibit your ability to turn. There's only so much grip to be had and if it's all being used for braking, there isn't any left to turn the car.
     
  10. yobigd20

    yobigd20 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2012
    Messages:
    5,793
    Location:
    Skaneateles, NY
    yea that or the Jeep would just just blown up.

    you can't roll a Model S no matter how hard you try. NHSTA couldn't even do it during their rollover evaluation crash tests. Apparantly they had to make up some "special rig" to force the car to roll over. yeah...no way you're gonna roll a Model S during a hard turn. so have a ball at the track taking turns as hard as you want ;)
     
  11. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2010
    Messages:
    15,848
    Location:
    Ottawa, Canada
    No, you miss the point. You want to engage the ABS. That will give you nearly the maximum possible braking force while still allowing you to steer. The sudden weight transfer will put most of the grip on the front wheels, which will make the initial turn much brisker. You will not spin the car. You can do a fully controlled lane change while doing this.

    We did training exercises at the track, and it was very easy to do.
     
  12. NoMoGas

    NoMoGas Member

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2013
    Messages:
    577
    Location:
    Los Angeles, California, United States
    Ummmmm... ABS virtually eliminates the ability to overwork the front and under-steer as the wheels will never lock up. (Unless you're on a TV show which miraculously always have cars spinning out after locking up their brakes but I digress)

    As someone who is well trained in pursuit driving you absolutely want to plant the brakes and then steer... although most do it simultaneously as you really don't think when things come unglued. Fortunately, cars have been programmed to compensate for human behavior, and ABS is a prime example of that.
     
  13. brianman

    brianman Burrito Founder

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2011
    Messages:
    15,487
    Agree with Doug_G. With 2 tons lurching on those front tires, you can get some sharp turning done quickly.
     
  14. Gear

    Gear Member

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2013
    Messages:
    594
    Location:
    SoCal
    I guess we're all posting credentials. I also do a bit of racing on two and four wheels. I think you guys miss the point. You want more precise inputs than to just have people mashing on brakes. If they do that, they're also likely to then jerk the wheel. That's how people get into roll situations with bigger cars and SUV's. Obviously this isn't a concern in the Model S, but I think it's a bad idea to get this engrained into people's minds as instinct. Find me a racing driver who stabs at the brake pedal and jerks at the wheel. You guys did it right by taking actual classes. Reading about it on a forum and never doing it until you need it isn't good enough.
     
  15. Johan

    Johan Took a TSLA bear test. Came back negative.

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2012
    Messages:
    6,890
    Location:
    Drammen, Norway
    Isn't the ABS designed to allow average Joe Schmoe to slam the brakes (in his mind and with his foot) while the car modulates to the proper breaking force at any given moment, the maximum possible without locking?

    If you're trained and think you can do better than the automatics of the car you should disable ABS. (Possible in the Model S?)
     
  16. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2010
    Messages:
    15,848
    Location:
    Ottawa, Canada
    I've stated many times in this forum that I strongly recommend taking a high performance driving school if you get a car like this. Actually you should take one even if you drive a Yaris. Knowing how to control your car in extreme situations could easily save your life some day.

    I never said you should jerk the wheel, but you absolutely should plant the brakes to get the ABS activated. Even if you're a race car driver and instinctively know how to threshold brake, I doubt you can do that AND steer simultaneously.
     
  17. wycolo

    wycolo Active Member

    Joined:
    May 16, 2012
    Messages:
    2,422
    Location:
    WY
    Whoa, no way you can 'plant' the front wheels of an MS. The 48% will jump up to what, 56%?? BFD!!

    This manoeuver is designed with traditional cars in mind, not good for the MS, Roadster, or Corvair. The time you waste delaying the braking just results in lost braking. Not good advice for the Average Josephine MS driver.
    --

    My 2 cents contribution is provided free of charge.
     
  18. MLH

    MLH Member

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2013
    Messages:
    47
    Location:
    Silverdale, Washington
    When going in for service, Make sure you get a black one.
     
  19. Zextraterrestrial

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2010
    Messages:
    3,636
    Location:
    Humboldt/Los Altos
    It is really hard to spin. I've only managed to get the S exactly sideways sliding at 85+ mph trying to brake hard while trying to get into a turn, the car is heavy! I ended up getting perpendicular to my original direction and slid to a stop right next to a set of cones, laughing my ass off!

    tires are the weakest link.
     
  20. strider

    strider Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2010
    Messages:
    2,918
    Location:
    NE Oklahoma
    Yes, you are correct. A highly trained driver can do better than ABS by keeping the tires just at the point of lock-up. But this requires a lot of concentration and modulation as traction varies based on speed and surface. However I will go further and say that even professional drivers would struggle to do this properly in a public road emergency. If you swerve from your lane into a breakdown lane or soft shoulder you will have to very quickly let off the brakes (and go from road racing to rally racing skills). I content that there are only a handful of people in the world that in a true emergency (not practicing at the track) can do better than a modern ABS and stability control system.

    I don't think you can turn off ABS and I don't think anyone should on public roads.
     

Share This Page