Wednesday, October 14


It seems to me that there are a LOT less people chatting on cell phones, texting, and doing other non-driving tasks when the roads are wet & rainy, with fog all round. That would suggest it's safer to be around those people who are, unusually, focused on the task at hand. That being the case, why do the roads fill up with fender benders and other collisions in such conditions? In the olden days, that'd be a no brainer question, but now we're seeing people claim that talking on a cell phone is like driving drunk. I'd think that driving drunk would be worse than a little fog & other moisture.

Hmm, perhaps this cell phone while driving, while certainly not real desirable from my standpoint, isn't as bad as we think?


ChipSeal said...

It depends on whether you are in an annoying lane position or not.

When most motorists allow their attention to be diverted from the task at hand, they mostly wait until there is a relatively quiet piece of road ahead first. Places where drifting around in the lane won't get anyone's heart rate up.

If you ride your bicycle with the prime directive of "I must stay out of the way", you are at a higher risk of being unnoticed by a distracted motorist and be where he may "drift".

I don't think distracted motorists are as likely to hit other traffic moving at speed where a motorist is expecting them as they are to a gutter bunnie.

Wet roads on the other hand, well, they may be wise enough to concentrate on the task at hand, but they still are not prudent enough to leave enough space ahead of them for the conditions.

Keri said...

What ChipSeal said.

People out-drive their ability to handle their cars and out-drive the sight-lines/visibility all the time.

Example. One day I was riding with a group of 6 when we encountered a patch of fog on our route. It was a 2-lane road and we chose to ride 2-abreast (all had lights on our bikes) to create the best visibility for overtaking traffic and to make us compact enough to allow for shorter passing distances. The motorists saw us just fine, but their decision-making was so deplorable it scared the crap out of us. The majority of motorists passed into oncoming traffic in the fog. One oncoming car was run off the road into the grass. Knowing that some drivers might not be smart enough to turn on their headlights in daylight fog, I feared we'd witness a head-on collision. I pulled the group into a neighborhood and we talked about how best to handle the situation. Our conclusion was that we would use the shoulder for the last mile until we could turn off that road. Fortunately, at that point the shoulder became usable, the previous section was not usable.

You know that if there had been a head-on collision as a result of idiotic motorist behavior, the cyclists would have been blamed for it in the public eye. Motorists are not responsible for their actions, their cars would explode if they took the foot off the gas pedal.

Mindless motoring is worse than cell-phone use.

Steve A said...

I guess that explains the cars stuck in the snow bank coming back from skiing. Not a single cyclist for miles around either. The motorists get more cautious at a slower rate than the conditions deteriorate.

Rantwick said...

It's like computer network security! It's all about relatively easy layers of difficulty, not one of which is a deal breaker, but when combined: no joy. Fog may get people to pay attention and stop texting, but may also make one jumpy and nervous (or is that a result of not being able to text?) so the difficulty level is raised simply by being abnormal, not because it is actually hard.

Filigree said...

In the Boston area, drivers get crazed in the rain. Chaotic beaviour, unpredictable sudden maneuvers, and non stop honking at each other. And I am pretty sure the cell phones are still in use too!

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