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Near-Collision with Big Rig

Discussion in 'Model S' started by Ben W, Sep 6, 2016.

  1. Ben W

    Ben W P85 #61, Roadster #108

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    #1 Ben W, Sep 6, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2016
    So this happened to me yesterday afternoon, driving on the 80 West near Truckee. 18-wheeler was tootling along at 60mph in the fast lane (illegal), with 75mph traffic flow otherwise. In California it is legal to pass on the right. So...



    Be careful out there, people!!

    FWIW, my car does not have Autopilot; I'm curious how Autopilot would have reacted in this situation. Also, my dashcam is a KDLINKS X1, highly recommended. Audio recording was turned off, or you would have heard me leaning on the horn from the moment the big rig started to merge.
     
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  2. dauger

    dauger Member

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    Kinda like Autobahn rule #1, those big rig drivers don't like cars passing on their right because it's harder to see them there. Ever see those "<- Passing Side Suicide ->" signs on the back of a truck? It's one of their assumed rules of the road, along with the Law of Tonnage.

    http://i.imgur.com/Ni7bBsV.jpg

    Passing side or Suicide: It's your choice.

    I'd roll with those rules. I wouldn't mind if the US adopted more Autobahn rules:

    http://www.german-way.com/travel-and-tourism/driving-in-europe/driving/autobahn/driving-on-the-autobahn/
     
  3. EinSV

    EinSV Member

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    #3 EinSV, Sep 6, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2016
    IMO Rule No. 3 (below) should be Rule No. 1. The link suggests that this is the rule in the U.S. but most American drivers (at least California drivers) don't follow it. If they did, there would almost never be a need to pass on the right. Also, traffic would flow much more freely. In California, since so many drivers seem to think they can just park in the left lane the right lane often becomes the fast lane, which is both absurd and unsafe. If the truck had stayed to the right as he should have there would have been no issue here. He had no business cruising along in the fast lane and then (recklessly) cutting off OP.

    GW Autobahn Rule 3: Slower traffic stays to the right!
    As in the US, whenever possible, move into the right lane. Most German drivers are good about this, but some non-German drivers are not. If you are passing several vehicles in a row (usually trucks), you can stay left or in the middle lane, but as soon as there is space, move right. If you see a vehicle coming up from behind you at a higher rate of speed, signal and move over. Don’t be surprised if they flash their high beams. It’s common and only considered mildly rude. Just move over.
     
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  4. Ben W

    Ben W P85 #61, Roadster #108

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    I agree about the Autobahn rules. It's such a pleasure to drive there!! (though I did get cited in Switzerland for going 107kph in a 100kph zone. Bah!)

    In this case, the big rig driver did three illegal things:

    1) Drive well below the speed limit in the fast lane (for an extended period)
    2) Fail to signal before merging (this would have helped greatly!)
    3) Fail to yield the right of way (to me, already in the lane)

    It seemed pretty clear that he simply didn't see me. (Or hear me for that matter, as I was leaning on my horn.) I don't think there was any ill intent. FWIW, I would never have attempted this maneuver in the Roadster, which is a lot smaller and harder to see than the Model S! But I've visualized and anticipated this scenario many times, so my response to it was automatic and there was never any real danger. (If I had slammed on my brakes, the big rig would have blown past me in a fraction of a second.) But in 300k+ miles of driving in my life, it's the first time this has actually happened.
     
  5. NikeWings

    NikeWings Member

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    Just glad you were aware/alert and avoided something more tragic.....
     
  6. ggnykk

    ggnykk Active Member

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    wow, close call.
     
  7. walla2

    walla2 Member

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    The autobahn is a joke. No one in either lane was going faster than 100 kph. I had to right side pass someone going 40 in the fast lane. They got all butt hurt and flashy but wtf other option did they present holding up traffic like that.

    Autobahn = a damn shame of a scam kind of like clean diesel.
     
  8. mikeash

    mikeash Active Member

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    Autopilot probably would have initiated a swerve. However, it won't leave the lane, so it would be up to you to steer further and/or brake.

    Big trailers are a tough case for Autopilot (as we saw with the fatal crash) because most of the sensors are near ground level. If you were next to the middle of the trailer, the side ultrasonics likely wouldn't have picked it up. But it looks like you were next to the wheels, and they should have seen those. If you had Autopilot!

    For what it's worth (probably nothing at all), I totally agree with your maneuver. In an ideal world you'd never pass on the right, but there are so many bad drivers in the US that it's just not practical. In a situation like this, your choice is to either stay behind the truck until something changes or pass the truck on the right. The first option leaves you slow and vulnerable to inattentive high-speed traffic potentially for several minutes. The second option leaves you vulnerable to a sudden maneuver by the truck, as seen here, for a few seconds. Neither option is great but the second option sure seems better to me, since the threat is localized, brief, and it's something you can prepare and watch for while you do it.
     
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  9. Ulmo

    Ulmo Active Member

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    This year I've run into a very high number of drivers (dozens, possibly hundreds) who get in the leftmost lane (fast lane), then go relatively slowly (either way below the speed limit or way below the higher % of speed in clearer road conditions), then start honking at me when I'm well behind them, matched to their speed, and keeping my distance. These vehicles also honk at me as I pass them on the right. Some of them get down right mad, and I have even seen them shake their fists at me. I'd say half the time they are under the speed limit by a big margin in traffic where there's no problem going the speed limit.

    There is definitely a movement to self-rightously control others into doing inferior actions on the roadways.

    The best thing to do is keep your distance from other drivers like this, remain calm, and not have any emotional or mental attachment to their works. Be certain to not stay in harm's way for long enough to get ruined by one of those people. I generally calmly wait as far away as possible until I see an opening, then take it, to not stay stuck behind them, for safety and speed reasons.

    This month, I have started to see this behavior creep into truck drivers. Over the last decade I have already seen some trucks on I-5 jealous that they have to go slower blocking cars on purpose, so the bed of bad behavior and miscontent is already there, but it's getting worse now.

    CHP will have to start ticketing these types of vehicles soon enough, or things are going to get really bad. I have a feeling these people are being paid by those people who profit off of traffic jambs, so that it's going to get worse for a while, not better, but if CHP takes away the economic incentive (by giving them expensive tickets), then this new level of anti-social self-righteous control of others would simply disappear if it's just a payoff racket. But if it's a psychological issue, it will continue regardless of economic disincentive, and that would be worse.
     
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  10. Wuggado?

    Wuggado? Member

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    @Ulmo

    I've tried to think of who profits from traffic jams, but am coming up blank. Please enlighten me.
     
  11. Ben W

    Ben W P85 #61, Roadster #108

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    Chris Christie?
     
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  12. Wuggado?

    Wuggado? Member

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    lol....not sure it worked out so well for him, but I see your point
     
  13. xav-

    xav- Member

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    I see many Americans who seem to suggest that Germany is so much safer. From what I recollect (I am French) the UK is king when it comes to road safety (not Germany). The Brits used to have half as many people dieing in the roads compared to other European countries.

    I remember in France we used to a lot of people dieing on the road until the early 2000s despite the same autobahn rules. We had around 8000 people dieing every year. Then starting the early thousand they started doing a massive crackdown on speeding.. And they slashed the number of deaths by 40 percent.

    Another side note is I live in California.. Europe roads have absolutely nothing to do with here. There are usually far fewer lanes and IMO less traffic. By the way the roads that are somewhat comparable to here (e.g large freeways around Paris with heavy traffic) we do see that tendency to pass on the right as well.

    Not sure those autobahn rules would work here in the states especially in large freeways.

    By the way nice reaction from OP.

    Side note had the truck driver been on the right lane, cutting off OP passing on the left lane.. There would have been a collision. That emergency lane turned out to be very helpful.
     
  14. Mknac

    Mknac Member

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  15. mspohr

    mspohr Active Member

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    I've noticed that drivers in Canada are very good at keeping to the right.
     

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