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

Traffic safety of Tesla model S in Hong Kong

Discussion in 'Hong Kong' started by DITB, Jun 5, 2014.

  1. DITB

    DITB Charged.hk co-founder

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2012
    Messages:
    1,568
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    #1 DITB, Jun 5, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2014
    When engaging in a few test drives of the MS, as a driver, and as a passenger, it made me think of how the MS will fit into the traffic culture of Hong Kong.

    A lot of avoidance of accidents is based on hearing, which is mainly down to engine noise, as well assumptions of expected acceleration.

    A fast car looks like a Porsche, Ferrari or possibly a BMW or Mercedes, while the Model S could blend in as a family sedan. Which it is, yet it is also a wolf in sheep clothes. From limo to drag racer, the Model S can be it all.

    If a car or motor cycle really accelerates like crazy, it is bound to make a lot of noise, and that will serve as a warning. Not only is the Model S very fast in its acceleration, it is also near silent, a deadly cocktail.

    Think of how many chances pedestrians take when they cross the road in Hong Kong. Compared to Europe and North America, I find people a lot more "brave" here, and taking separation just to the limit, all the time, no margin for error or hesitation. Braking distance, or rather stopping distance, is not taken as seriously as it should. Yielding is often based on might of way, rather than right of way. Entering and exiting side roads and roundabouts is like a stock car race, if you fit in, you can go. Changing lanes, and even deciding which lane to use, is also very different from what I am used to, with even trucks going in any lane they like even the passing lane, cars passing left or right side as desired.

    I am not here to change the existing way of driving in Hong Kong, just saying, that with the silence and swift moves of the Model S, I can see accidents coming, possibly even before the end of this year. Can we preempt some accidents by sharing knowledge and experience? Should Tesla Motors issue a sheet of paper warning about the impact of driving a high performance electric car in an emerging market?

    Here are some likely scenarios you could be careful of (feel free to add comments, and I will update the list in a sensible way).


    • Starting so fast from a red light changing to green, that someone running a yellow/red light the opposite way will hit you. This has been reported in the USA already, and many MS owners pause for just a split second before going, unless they can see the traffic light is clear (and no-one is running a red light)
    • Hitting pedestrians, who never saw a Model S before, unaware of it's sudden leaps in speed. Remember you have to be able to stop, there is no excuse for speed because you couldn't see around the corner. Consider a short honk if you think someone didn't see you coming.
    • Model S driver simply not being used to the sheer acceleration, forgetting the dangers of it's stealthy speed.
    • Multi lane roads, accelerating (passing) forward, and moving "up" so fast other cars will change into your lane "because it was empty just a second ago". So many drivers only use their mirrors, it's very clear to see the head hardly moving before a lane change.


    I am not trying to teach anyone to suck eggs here, yet I think we should have a discussion about the potential dangers of the Model S. If you have some serious experience on fast motor bikes you will also recognise some of the dangers above. It's not always who is right and who is wrong, but about taking evading action to avoid an accident, even though it's the other part doing something technically wrong.

    The Model S might be the safest production car ever produced (for the passengers and driver), yet I am sure it hurts bad when a pedestrian or biker contacts the ... eehm ... radiator, front bumper, whatever it's called, when they didn't see you coming.
     
  2. Lerxt

    Lerxt Member

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2014
    Messages:
    951
    Location:
    Hong Kong/Australia
    This really isn't an issue, there are tons of Prius' that are silent already. Also the street level noise in HK is so loud it's hard to pick out one car out of it all. It's unlikely there will be sudden accelerations given the traffic...
     
  3. wslam

    wslam Member

    Joined:
    May 16, 2014
    Messages:
    76
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    But Prius don't go nearly as fast.
     
  4. widodh

    widodh Model S R231 EU

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2011
    Messages:
    4,822
    Location:
    Middelburg, The Netherlands
    Heh? That is weird!

    In the Netherlands the traffic lights keep a 1 to 2 second pause before they give the opposite traffic green just to prevent this kind of situations.

    The whole intersection has to be clear before other traffic is allowed to go.

    In Hong Kong you get a green while the other just went red?
     
  5. Vmax

    Vmax Member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2014
    Messages:
    585
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    Driving various Prius' for more than 10 years, silent operation is not an issue for traffic in HK. Follow the speed limits and traffic rules and all is fine. Often it's old people crossing, who can't hear any kind of engine. So just the horn helps.
     
  6. DITB

    DITB Charged.hk co-founder

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2012
    Messages:
    1,568
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    The longer that pause, the more people will tend to think it's OK to "sneak over" because .. there is a pause!

    In most countries, the lights don't sense if the intersection is clear or not, it's just assumed that the last cars to cross before the light changes to red will be clear by the time the other light changes to green. Into this timing is built in the lag and reaction time it takes for the cars at the green light to start accelerating, and make it into the intersection. Many years ago (in Europe), I almost got killed this way, but on a motor cycle, as someone ran a red light, probably thinking he could just make it over. Fortunately, the odd chance was that my bike snapped out of gear and into neutral, and the offending car passed right in front of me.

    It's somewhere here in the forums, people in the USA discussing how fast off the blocks the Tesla model S is, and how they are now building in that artistic pause before they go, in order to stay safe. One thing is theory, but if a car runs a red assuming the cars at green are slow to move anyway, then you have a perfect setup for an accident.
     
  7. mchk

    mchk Member

    Joined:
    May 19, 2014
    Messages:
    125
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    I drove in South Florida and according to the insurance companies it was the most dangerous city to drive in, in ALL the US. I lived not far from the most dangerous intersection in the country. Dangerous based on number of accidents.


    South Florida had terrible drivers. Elderly drivers 90+ who couldnt see anyone around. Drivers who were originally from New York and were used to aggressive driving. Drivers from the carribbean or certain latin american countries where they didn't follow traffic laws so carefully.

    Based on that experience, and witnessing a fair share of accidents, I believe it's all about caution. Showing caution and being a defensive driver.

    I agree I get carried away as well, when I drove me M3 I loved driving fast and I had a lot of fun in my Tesla Test drive as well. Yet on a regular normal day to day basis on my M3 I really only went fast on the highways when I saw safe open road, but otherwise used normal caution.

    I do believe the Tesla or ANY sports car has the potential to more accident prone based on more aggressive driving.


    #1) On stoplights I agree it's prudent to use caution even when it's green. There were PLENTY of accidents like this prior to the Tesla, it happened every week where I used to live, maybe every day. I don't think the Tesla would cause more accidents in this situation.

    #2) Lane Changes. Again, I think sports cars partake in slightly more risky behavior because they know the power of their car can rush to an open space and pass quickly. I have done this with my M3, and I am guilty, sometimes it was not being a cautious defensive driver. Again, I don't think it's a new problem for Tesla, it's always been a risky behavior.

    Both of these issues, sound wouldn't have prevented the accidents. The sports car using better judgement and the other car being more cautious and using his mirrors and checking his blind spots would have solved both issues.

    #3) The noise on the streets of HK is loud. The street across from my office. The buses take really fast left turns, but the building is very close to the road so your vision is completely blocked. If you decided to sneak into the road, you would not see the bus or car coming until you are 1/3rd of the way into the intersection and both lanes turn so there's possible 2 cars could be taking a left smacking into you. I have stood at that intersection and contemplated peaking my head over the building and stepping into the road because I couldn't hear a thing. Only to see a giant bus flying at me and would have squashed me if I had stepped into that road. I never HEARD IT! The street sounds had made the sound of that bus indistinguishable from the rest of the street noise. I would have been crushed. And many streets of HK are like that. There's so much street noise, I don't use sound to detect when it's safe to cross a street. Only sight works, in my experience. So I don't think a Tesla would be more dangerous for a pedestrian, I don't think they use engine noise to determine when it's safe to cross the street.


    I definitely agree the tesla has a powerful acceleration and you are correct it can lead to more risky behavior and can lead to accidents, but I don't think the issues are unique to Tesla, but any sports car.
     
  8. DITB

    DITB Charged.hk co-founder

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2012
    Messages:
    1,568
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    A Prius is like a tricycle compared to the Tesla model S, but for sure, it's quiet as well.

    Hong Kong isn't always noisy, there are other areas than downtown in the rush hour. And this is where it becomes dangerous - people assume it's safe when it's quiet, and how many Prius and Leafs are there? Hundreds and hundreds of high performance EVs will hit the streets of Hong Kong over the summer and onwards. I am willing to bet 85 kWh of electrons that there will be at least one accident in Hong Kong before the year is over AND that the car will be blamed whichever way, not just the driver. It won't surprise me if either a taxi or 16-seater light public bus are involved.
     
  9. mchk

    mchk Member

    Joined:
    May 19, 2014
    Messages:
    125
    Location:
    Hong Kong

    Some taxi drivers are aggressive and absolutely those 16 seater buses are some of the worst most aggressive drivers in Hong Kong.
     
  10. Lerxt

    Lerxt Member

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2014
    Messages:
    951
    Location:
    Hong Kong/Australia
    A Prius is quiet and has no effect on traffic injuries. I live in Sai Kung and have been driving in HK for 10 years so I know a little about traffic and noise here. The are tons of performance cars here and hybrids and there are really no likely issues. I think the MS will integrate without a hitch.
     
  11. markwj

    markwj Moderator, Asia Pacific

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2011
    Messages:
    3,656
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    Given Darwinian award winners like this example on Clearwater Bay Road tonight, it is only a matter of time.


    ImageUploadedByTapatalk1402052132.393605.jpg
     

Share This Page