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Old 05-15-2008, 04:38 PM   #1
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Need ideas to make my VX more visible on the Interstate

Another close call today on the Interstate and it's only the fourth day of my new slow gas saving speed of 60 to 62 mph!

I was poking along I-96 in the far right lane at 0615 this morning (my part of the earth had rotated enough to face the sun by this time so it wasn't dark) and a large pickup - F250 or F350 came into the far right lane to pass someone in the middle lane and WHOA - WTF - there's a "little red car" in my way. The driver adjusted quickly and passed me too close for my comfort. Part of it is that my VX is only 51 inches tall. I don't think the truck saw me right away when he came over a very modest rise and almost ran into me. He was going at least 80+ mph.

I want to increase my visibility somehow by placing a CB antenna or something like it on the roof to artificially increase the VX's height. I don't want to create any drag though so I wonder what kind of flag or signal I could stick on the roof to be more visible. Hazard flashers are too extreme (at least for now). I just got 51 mpg this week (but at what cost!!!!!!).

Ideas?????
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Old 05-15-2008, 04:43 PM   #2
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There's this reflective surface paint you can get from tremclad/rustoleum that's a clearcoat that reflects light like a highway sign or license plate. You could spray it all over in that, then it would glow red in any sunlight or in peoples low beams or driving lights.

Edit: Also you could get one of those pulser circuits like motorcycles use for rapidly flashing the lights, hook up to lowbeam headlamps and tail-lights and drive with the lights on.

Edit2: Get flourescent orange trail marker tape and close a foot or two of it in the top of your hatch, it will flutter and draw attention, you could also use it to sheath an antenna to give it a slightly more aero and visible profile, i.e. fold it around it and stick/staple it together at the back.
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Old 05-15-2008, 04:45 PM   #3
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Your car is not small. The guy has to be legally blind.

Statistically speaking light colored cars suffer less accidents. Visibility is probably a factor there but painting your car white will still not make people pay attention if they are oblivious behind the wheel. They'll probably wake up when they hit something. Hopefully it will be a pole or a railing and not your car.
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Old 05-16-2008, 06:53 AM   #4
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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.

Speed difference is reportedly the largest factor in accidents on highways. A Civic VX poking along at 60mph is going to get CREAMED by an F250, so for your own safety, you might just want to pick up the pace and pay a few MPG for some safety.

Your CB antenna idea might be doable; paint it blaze orange and put a ribbon, streamer, or ball at the top of it. You can bend it so it's angled back which may help reduce its additional aerodynamic drag.

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Originally Posted by RoadWarrior View Post
Edit: Also you could get one of those pulser circuits like motorcycles use for rapidly flashing the lights, hook up to lowbeam headlamps and tail-lights and drive with the lights on.
If that means what I think it means, it will be very illegal. You're talking about strobing the head/tail lights, right?
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Old 05-16-2008, 07:05 AM   #5
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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. In my CRX I'm smaller than you are and sometimes it means turning on high beams. I'm not a whole lot larger or safer than a motorcycle, and if they have three or four headlights on at all times with HIGH beams - then I will too. Have NEVER been pulled over for it, either. If I was, I'd thank the officer for helping me be safe and it must have been left on accidentally, make sense?

Driving with my high beams on even in the daytime has resulted in LESS (they happen no matter what size vehicle) incidents, but I've noticed part of WHY. Most people are on autopilot. The brighter light makes them THINK I'm closer - so they leave more room if they are in front, or more room if passing, DESPITE having come up from behind!
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Old 05-16-2008, 07:17 AM   #6
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I think the brighter light causes glare and they work hard to put some distance between them and you. I HATE glare, it blinds me.
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Old 05-16-2008, 09:04 AM   #7
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install a red LED light(s) with suction cups to the back hatch glass. have it turn on with the parking lights. it cannot be flashing.

i guarantee that will help visibility because it would be a foot or two higher than the tail lights, and being LED it will be far brighter than your brake lights.

you could also install some reflective tape to the rear edge of the hatch "spoiler" to the right and left of the center brake light. again, high up and reflective= visibility.
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Old 05-16-2008, 10:06 AM   #8
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The problem is not that you aren't visible so much as they are a%%holes. I have the same problem only worse...my car is smaller (CRX) and was painted in woodland camoflage. It happens in bright daylight moreso than at night, so they GOTTA be seein' me.

Trucks especially, but most everybody in general, love to mess with me as they pass, like there are extra points given to see how close they can get. Some kind of NASCAR wannabe times a million. Either that or they want to "teach you a lesson" for being such a bother to them by them having to twitch their hand on the steering wheel twice to go around you.

To help at night, though, I added some reflectors to the bumper. The lack of rear lighting can be problematic. I repaired all the rust in an effort to keep the CRX longer and will be painting it back to its original color (Superior Blue). I tempted fate long enough driving a tiny car in a camo pattern, I think I'll try to better the odds for the rest of the time I drive it.
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Old 05-16-2008, 10:06 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theholycow View Post
If that means what I think it means, it will be very illegal. You're talking about strobing the head/tail lights, right?
No it's a very fast pulse rate, not discernible flashes. It's legal above a certain pulse rate, not sure the details. Makes them flicker rapidly, like seeing a TV screen out of the corner of your eye.
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Old 05-16-2008, 11:40 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RoadWarrior View Post
No it's a very fast pulse rate, not discernible flashes. It's legal above a certain pulse rate, not sure the details. Makes them flicker rapidly, like seeing a TV screen out of the corner of your eye.
So that is what is happening when I see those motorcycles doing that!

I always thought their magneto was on it's way out, lol.
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