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Old 05-17-2008, 08:45 AM   #21
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Ah, that reminds me! When I read the first post in this thread, I thought of this...then promptly forgot it before I got a chance to post it.

Motorcyclists face the same problem all the time. People driving abnormally slow in abnormally small cars should study motorcyclist defensive driving material.
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Old 05-18-2008, 02:16 PM   #22
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http://www.flickr.com/photos/14960392@N03/

A magnetic trailer hitch alignment kit from Harbor Freight - $9.00
Two spring clamps to fasten them to the hatch - 30 cents

The antennae are extended to about 7 feet tall. The maximum height is about 8 feet. Hard not to see me now.
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Old 05-18-2008, 03:08 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by theholycow View Post
Motorcyclists face the same problem all the time. People driving abnormally slow in abnormally small cars should study motorcyclist defensive driving material.
I resemble that remark!! Been a MSF cardholder for nearly 20 years now and had plenty of bikes.

jadziasman- To sum it up, a lot of people are stupid - I've gone as far as printing very visible signs saying the car was a test vehicle and to go around. They can't read, 4 lane traffic and I'm doing the speed limit in the right lane and BillyBob still won't go around. Gradually a few people are driving more conservatively. Hopefully gas goes up another dollar per gallon and that may put people in check. (of course crime has gone up around here and "gas drives offs" are at a record high but that's another thread that hasn't been started yet.)
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Old 05-18-2008, 03:16 PM   #24
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It sounds to me like you need to adjust your driving style. I think it's not safe and practical for you to go that slow on that road. Sometimes hypermiling isn't the only concern, and don't forget that. You might be able to merely do a better job calculating your optimum position to avoid similar close calls in the future, though -- it sounds like you were hidden next to another larger vehicle.
I've never known faster to be safer, EVER. The dangerous behavior is the f250 driving too fast. If 60 is the speed limit, then 60 is not out of the question is it? I still like the bumper sticker idea:

"Sorry, but this piece of crap wont go any faster!"
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Old 05-18-2008, 03:20 PM   #25
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I'd also suggest buying the brightest lights for every exterior part of your vehicle you can find. Super-bright taillights help a LOT, side marker superbrights, the brightest headlights you can afford, etc.

Personally I drive with lights on at ALL TIMES.
Lights are a good idea, but they are clearly a trade-off.

Yes, they make you more visible, but (due to their electrical power load) they are bad for FE. So you want to use them when you "need" them, but not overuse them (and therefore get lower FE than you otherwise would).

This is true, because in almost all cars (cars with grid charged battery packs are one notable exception) every watt of power you use comes from the alternator (although that electricity may be temporarily stored in the battery before you use it, it still comes from the car's alternator). And where does the alternator get its power from? You guessed it, virtually all alternator power comes from additional mechanical load (and therefore additional fuel use) against the gas engine. So far from being "free" in a car, electricity is actually amazingly expensive (in terms of cost per kilowatt used) in a car. And the more gas prices rise, the more costly that (car generated) electricity is becoming all the time!

As a result, many of us have gotten significant FE gains, simply by saving electrical power in a car. And one of the significant uses of electrical power (fans are another big electrical power drain) is the many car lights burning up a lot of watts of (electrical) power.

OTOH lights are often needed for both safety and legality, so you can't get away from them entirely (despite the FE benefit, if you could). And you are also correct that sometimes when they aren't technically "needed" (from a legal standpoint), some lighting can be very useful in making your car easier to be seen. So we clearly have a trade-off here (saving electricity, and therefore better fuel economy, vs the safety and legal reasons for using lights).

One thing I've found that can make a big difference, is converting your car lights to (very bright, not the cheap bad) LED modules. You can't do this with your headlights, but you can do this with virtually every other light in the car, and the power savings can be very significant. I've done this, and I was able to save several amps of power (when my lights are on). Not perfect, but much better than the electrical load before.

So what do I do? I generally only run my headlights when I think they are really "needed" (often for legal reasons, such as driving at night), because even the low beams use a lot of watts (about 110watts just for the two lights + whatever power the secondary LED lights use). However, I do run my (converted to LEDs) secondary lights (everything EXCEPT the headlights themselves), whenever I feel that turning them on would make my car significantly easier to see. Because in that case the safety concerns override the power cost (only a few watts of power for the entire set of car LED modules, due to the fact that the LEDs are SIGNIFICANTLY more power efficient than the conventional lights the LED modules replaced). However, on really bright days (when I don't think the lights will add much to my car's visibility), I just turn off all my car lights, and go with the lowest possible electrical load (and therefore the potential of even high FE than even my secondary lights give me).
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Old 05-18-2008, 04:34 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wazabi Owner View Post
Hopefully gas goes up another dollar per gallon and that may put people in check. (of course crime has gone up around here and "gas drives offs" are at a record high but that's another thread that hasn't been started yet.)
I don't hope that. I'm not worried about how much gas others use, just how much I use.

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Originally Posted by slurp812 View Post
I've never known faster to be safer, EVER. The dangerous behavior is the f250 driving too fast. If 60 is the speed limit, then 60 is not out of the question is it? I still like the bumper sticker idea:

"Sorry, but this piece of crap wont go any faster!"
The first post in this thread is an example of faster being safer. If he had been closer to the prevailing speed, or in the same lane as traffic going his speed, he wouldn't have been exposed to the excessively speeding jerk. You can't control the speed of the other traffic, only your own. If most are doing 80 and a few are doing 95, then 60 is a dangerously slow speed. There are loads of studies that show that (on the highway) speed delta is far more dangerous than higher speed.

One strategy for remaining safe while going significantly slower is to find a cluster of slow-moving trucks and get in with them. They are not only very visible, but everyone expects them to be slow, and is much more afraid to get dangerously close to them / drive erratically around them. You then additionally get to draft, too.
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Old 05-18-2008, 04:45 PM   #27
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I don't hope that. I'm not worried about how much gas others use, just how much I use.

You can't control the speed of the other traffic, only your own.
If gas broke the $5 barrier, I speculate that will weed out most of the idiots - $4 a gallon seems to be doing pretty good so far

Quote:
Originally Posted by theholycow View Post
One strategy for remaining safe while going significantly slower is to find a cluster of slow-moving trucks and get in with them. They are not only very visible, but everyone expects them to be slow, and is much more afraid to get dangerously close to them / drive erratically around them. You then additionally get to draft, too.
Good advice, I normally try to speed up for a while and look for tractors to tuck in behind - at a safe distance where they can see me.

Still, 60-63mpg in the far right hand lane of a six lane highway where the speed limit is 70mph is not an unacceptable practice and one should not conform to idiots that don't use the left lane for their craziness. The main reason those idiots are even driving that way on the far right lane is they think they are "Flying under the radar" literally. They feel like there is less of a chance of getting caught over there. I know, I used to be that guy.
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Old 05-18-2008, 04:57 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by jadziasman View Post
http://www.flickr.com/photos/14960392@N03/

A magnetic trailer hitch alignment kit from Harbor Freight - $9.00
Two spring clamps to fasten them to the hatch - 30 cents

The antennae are extended to about 7 feet tall. The maximum height is about 8 feet. Hard not to see me now.
Ok, here we need to be fair and face both sides of the coin...

a)the problem you were facing is real and potentially dangerous
b)your solution, is simple, inexpensive and effective
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c)now that you have 2 antennae on there you have to paint a smiley face on the back window of your little ladybug car.

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