Widgets of Mass Distraction

This is a refresh of my comment at The Register

The Register article opened:

The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has issued its first-ever guidelines designed to curb driver-distracting dashboards stuffed with electronic gadgets, gimcrackery, and gee-gaws

My response follows.

In Germany at least, the first article of their traffic code (StVO) says that participation in road traffic requires constant attention (and mutual regard). It applies to ALL road users.

Constant attention. What were they thinking when they wrote that!? That makes sense.

Subsequent legislators must’ve skipped reading that bit and explicitly added explicit prohibitions. E-Jits. A vast horde of nincompoops are actively preoccupied with making roads “safe” by paving them with legislation and regulations. When each has done their bit, they claim to have improved road safety, the almost always declare a great leap forward, and other nincompoops believe it; paying even less attention to the traffic — because the roads are safe as long as they don’t exceed the speed limit, etc.

The onus is on the road user to ensure that traffic gets their constant attention, to avoid distractions and not to be in traffic if they cannot give it that attention.

Widgets of Mass Distraction shouldn’t be a selling point in cars. Drivers need information about traffic, presented in a way that is easy to grasp, timely but not distracting. The vast majority of that information is outside the windows of the car.

There should be no need for industry guidelines on what’s accessable to the driver of a car. Let alone regulations or laws. If car makers run sheltered workshops where they think it’s a good idea to isolate the driver from traffic and to maximise possibility of distraction, then let them build the cars.

Parking to Merge

Many stop and wait at the end of the on-ramp until somebody stops to “let them in”.

A major contributors to traffic congestion is the inability of a most at the wheel to pay enough attention to traffic to merge without disrupting traffic on the highway and  motorways.

Merging requires cooperation and coordination.

  1. Those in the main traffic stream to which traffic is to merge must maintain adequate space in front of their car to provide a safe stopping distance and an opportunity for one (1)  other vehicle to merge into the gap at the next on-ramp. Most on-ramps are preceded by off-ramps allowing some vehicles to leave, creating a larger gap than normal. If one doesn’t close the gap until after the end of the on-ramp, it gives merging traffic a chance to merge easily into that larger gap.
  2. Traffic should merge on a 1:1 basis in dense traffic; with flow from the on-ramp matched vehicle-for-vehicle with that in the lane of the continuing road.
  3. Those who wish to merge must match their speed to that of the traffic on the road and position their vehicle so that it’s aligned with a gap in the traffic before the on-ramp lane ends

When those on the continuing road fail to leave a gap, they contribute to congestion because traffic will attempt to merge more slowly and with a greater potential of a mishap; resulting in perhaps hours of delay while emergency vehicles struggle to respond to a crash.

Giving Way to the World

Everybody on the road should observe and take due care.

Some don’t take the right type of care when they should Give Way to other traffic, waiting for all traffic within view to pass; meanwhile delaying traffic behind them.

The principle of giving way is simple: You must not cause those to who you are to give way to take evasive action.

Evasive action means having to change speed or direction in order to remain safe.

Straight into the jousting lane…

Whenever there’s more than one lane of traffic, those not interested in driving, and probably without any concern for other road users, move directly into the lane adjacent to the centre of the road.

Obviously that’s so that they can score a good hit on their opponent coming from the other direction.

When they have neither a lance nor a sword.

Only when they’ve almost passed their exit, do they cross into the outer lane and down the exit, usually cutting across solid lane marking lines. Or even painted islands.