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      CommentAuthoraber0der
    • CommentTimeAug 14th 2018 edited
     
    • CommentAuthorAsterix
    • CommentTimeAug 15th 2018 edited
     
    Something that happened in the wee hours this morning had me wondering if all infrastructure "improvements" are a good idea.

    I live just off of a secondary two lane road which has speed limit zones and is largely a no-passing zone for its entire length (about 5 miles)--it was originally a wagon road. Back in the early 70s, it was a twisty gravel-paved road. Sometime around the mid 1970s, the county decided to "improve" and "realign it". Curves were straightened and gentled, massive amounts of fill were used to level the grade somewhat and a very nice smooth paved surface was added. A road suitable for heavy trucks.

    So naturally, people seem to want to speed on it, particularly at night. Note that this is an unlit road. There is one particular section of road that approaches a rise; on the other side of the crest, the road gently curves to the left. Since I own land on one side of that stretch for about a quarter-mile, I get used to people speeding and missing the curve, usually ending up in the ditch on one side of the road or down a small embankment in the brush on the other. Sometimes they ricochet off the guard rail on one side of the road. Seems that we get one of these episodes about every 4 months on a lightly trafficked rural road.

    Early this morning, about 4 AM, a car missed the curve, and went down the embankment and caught on fire. The driver was killed instantly and his passenger suffered life-threatening burns. The state trooper that I met on the scene after dawn just shrugged his shoulders and said something to the effect "another driver going too fast".

    I was thinking about the whole affair and wondered if the road would actually have been safer had all of the twists and turns been left in. You'd have to be really crazy to speed on that.

    Maybe all "infrastructure" isn't always good.
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    I assume there's a big fat warning sign
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      CommentAuthorAngus
    • CommentTimeAug 15th 2018
     
    Posted By: AsterixMaybe all "infrastructure" isn't always good.


    It seems to be a trending idea. Here is one example.
    https://nesn.com/2017/02/paris-is-combatting-traffic-flow-and-safety-by-removing-traffic-lights/
    • CommentAuthorAsterix
    • CommentTimeAug 15th 2018 edited
     
    Posted By: Andrew PalfreymanI assume there's a big fat warning sign


    You mean like "SPEED 45 MPH"? Yup--but you'll never see anyone around to enforce it.

    You're down there in Silly Valley, aren't you?

    I don't know if it goes on anymore, but years ago, there was a group of daredevil motorcycle riders who liked seeing how fast (in excess of 100 mph) that Skyline Boulevard (highway 35) in the Santa Cruz mountains could be taken in the hours just before dawn. I recall talking to a sheriff's deputy who said that they'd pull the body of a racer out of the trees about once a month. Maybe sanity has prevailed down there.
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      CommentAuthoralsetalokin
    • CommentTimeAug 15th 2018 edited
     
    Nope -- "Pray for me, I drive 17" is still a bumper sticker in the SC mountains. Those chicanes coming over the summit and down into The Cats is thrilling.
    • CommentAuthorAsterix
    • CommentTimeAug 15th 2018
     
    Some of those roads in the Santa Cruz mountains are wild. I recall being at the top of Jameson Creek road, looking down and thinking "you've got to be kidding". 17 was busy 30 years ago; I can only imagine what it's like today.
  2.  
    Quite a few more wineries since I got here 30+ years ago. And on Skyline, last I checked Alice's Restaurant was still there.
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      CommentAuthorDuracell
    • CommentTimeAug 15th 2018
     
    The fact that for some reason most USAns seem to prefer to drive overpowered cars that go very fast in a straight line and cannot take corners probably doesn’t help either ...
  3.  
    Not even that. Fairly recently I drove from Camp Verde in Arizona to San Jose, a distance of 800 miles or so, in 10 hours, in my 1995 Camry. I was not passed by a single car on the entire trip.
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      CommentAuthormaryyugo
    • CommentTimeAug 15th 2018 edited
     
    Posted By: Andrew PalfreymanI assume there's a big fat warning sign


    Sleepy people may not see those. I once was driving from Nevada to S. California and stopped for coffee. Returning to the main road required a short trip on a dark, unlit local road which seemed arrow straight. No traffic. 2 in the AM. I accelerated to 50 - 55 mph and I saw the curve warning sign much too late. I was almost on it. It wasn't big but certainly was easy to see and read. But I was sleepy and my reaction time was very long. The curve was 90 degrees. I hit the brakes and missed hitting the sign but the car spun out when I tried staying on the road through the turn and the right rear quarter panel hit a utility pole causing considerably costly damage (but not crippling the car). When I stopped trembling, I turned around, went to a nearby hotel, and slept there until morning.

    Maybe a self-driving car would have helped? No. Just kidding about that. But having the GPS on and watching for curves would have.
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      CommentAuthorAngus
    • CommentTimeAug 15th 2018
     
    Which of course the self driving car would do.
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      CommentAuthormaryyugo
    • CommentTimeAug 15th 2018 edited
     
    Posted By: AngusWhich of course the self driving car would do.
    Sure, which would have been wonderful if the map in memory was correct for small local roads and if it was properly updated and no recent changes.

    I will not have a self driving car under any circumstances until they have been in mainly successful use for at least ten years or I am for some reason unable to drive. And I will never have a car without driver controls and the ability to override for any reason.

    If such cars are marketed, I bet the sales of very old machines will skyrocket -- maybe the "kids" will like the new cars so they can zone out with their screens while going places... but the people who learned how to drive conventional cars, I suspect many will never like the self-driving ones without controls. Anyway, how would you park such a monstrosity on uncharted driveways and gravel lots or handle it deep underground in a parking garage?
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      CommentAuthorGrowler
    • CommentTimeAug 16th 2018
     
    Posted By: maryyugo
    Posted By: Andrew PalfreymanI assume there's a big fat warning sign


    Sleepy people may not see those. I once was driving from Nevada to S. California and stopped for coffee. Returning to the main road required a short trip on a dark, unlit local road which seemed arrow straight. No traffic. 2 in the AM. I accelerated to 50 - 55 mph and I saw the curve warning sign much too late. I was almost on it. It wasn't big but certainly was easy to see and read. But I was sleepy and my reaction time was very long. The curve was 90 degrees. I hit the brakes and missed hitting the sign but the car spun out when I tried staying on the road through the turn and the right rear quarter panel hit a utility pole causing considerably costly damage (but not crippling the car). When I stopped trembling, I turned around, went to a nearby hotel, and slept there until morning.

    Maybe a self-driving car would have helped? No. Just kidding about that. But having the GPS on and watching for curves would have.


    Sounds to me like you should've turned your headlights on.....
    • CommentAuthorAsterix
    • CommentTimeAug 16th 2018
     
    In my local case, the curve of the road is gentle and probably only around 10 degrees over 200 yards. I asked a county traffic engineer about why there were no warning signs. His response was that the gentle angle of the curve didn't meet the requirement for signage, nor for a speed reduction.

    He has a point. I can stand at the top of the rise and clearly see the entire road for the next quarter-mile or so. The frequency of accidents at this point really leaves one scratching one's head. Maybe alcohol...
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      CommentAuthormaryyugo
    • CommentTimeAug 16th 2018
     
    Posted By: GrowlerSounds to me like you should've turned your headlights on.....
    I should've turned my brain on.
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      CommentAuthorAngus
    • CommentTimeAug 16th 2018
     
    Self driving car never zones out.