In a struggle to be happy and free

Drystone Wall

Category: transportation Page 1 of 23

Subdivision signals

Drivers from different regions seems to have their own quirks.

I may have mentioned before that the some drivers in Ottawa really stretch the yellow lights. I recall once at a left turn, the person in front of me turned on a yellow and I followed them. I shouldn’t have, but I did. To my amazement, the two people behind me also went. I suspect they both ran the red. Certainly the second car did.

Here in Niagara Falls, People often don’t signal. Others signal too late. It’s so frustrating.

Take today for example. I turned into my subdivision and saw a car a block away slowing down. Brake lights were on. No signal. I got closer and closer and the braking car eventually came to a stop, though it wasn’t close enough to the curb to be parking. Okay, I don’t know what this person was doing, but they stopped so I went around them.

Some folks like to make darn sure they don’t hit anything in their lane so they go far into the other lane, especially with bicycles. I really do understand not wanting to hit a bicyclist, but going entirely into the other lane is excessive. Not only that, but it’s dangerous because if someone turns a corner or is suddenly coming toward you in their own lane, you’re in trouble.

So I passed this stopped car. No, I did not leave a lot of space. I certainly did not put the right side of my car on the left side of the road! I know the extent of my vehicle so I didn’t touch their car. Whatever the driver was doing, it was then behind me.

A few turns later, I parked in front of the neighbourhood mailbox. A black Mercedes, an older C‑class I think, approached from the other direction. It stopped in the street beside me, and the driver called over, “That was pretty close.”

I have no idea what he’s talking about, so I replied, “I don’t follow.”

“You came pretty close to me,” he said. Then it clicked. This is the same car.

“Not really,” I said.

“You shouldn’t come that close,” he said. This was going no where fast.

You shouldn’t just stop in the road with no signal,” I replied.

He again repeated that I came too close. I was going to suggest that maybe his signal was not working, but of course it was. It was also unlikely that anything would come of this conversation so I said, “Fair enough,” and got out of the car to retrieve my mail. He left.

Thinking back, I should have stayed in my car until he left in case he was lacking in self-control. I already know he lacked good judgement. But jeez, really?

He put me into a situation where I had to make a choice. That he didn’t like my choice doesn’t bother me one whit.

Looking for a winter car?

A [Lamborghini] Diablo is pretty much the same thing as a Subaru Outback, except it has a 550 horsepower, mid-mounted V12 and scissor doors. Otherwise, virtually identical.

Chris Perkins, “A Lamborghini Diablo VT 6.0 Makes a Perfectly Good Winter Car” Road and Track, February 16, 2016

Kerning! Do you speak it?

I followed a white Impala for quite a distance on my way to a mall this afternoon. I was entirely distracted by it. See for yourself:

IMG_0749.jpg: iPhone5s, back camera @ 4.15mm, 1/800, f/2.2, 32 ISO

IMG_0749.jpg: iPhone5s, back camera @ 4.15mm, 1/800, f/2.2, 32 ISO

Every letter of the LTZ designation is crooked, and the ‘L’ and ‘T’ pair suffers from wretched kerning! Whoever attached those letters clearly did so by hand and has no idea what kerning even means. What a mess.

Odometer ‘error’

The other day I had some errands to run. This is not unusual. It got weird when I sat in the car, inserted the key, and reached for my seatbelt. My eyes slid over the instrument cluster and I saw a row of vertical LED lines lit up. Uh oh, I thought. Maybe the ECU crashed. Or the electronics handling the display malfunctioned. Would the car start? How much was this going to cost me!? You know how quickly thoughts can run through your mind. By the time I finished fastening my seatbelt and looked back at the display, it was clear what those vertical lines were trying to tell me.

Oops. It was informing me of the distance I have used it to travel, just like it’s supposed to.

Happily there’s no surprise automobile repair bill in my immediate future. I’ll take the good news where I can find it.

That word ‘ever’

I was watching The National last night and one of the stories was about air safety. With the July 24 crash of Air Algerie Flight AH5017, the July 17 crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, and the March 8 disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, it’s been a bad year for air safety. The story really got my attention when the reporter, Peter Armstrong, said that 2013 had the lowest number of air passenger fatalities ever. Ever! 

Even if you ignore all the years before commercial air travel, what about the early years of passenger service in which the number of fliers were so few as compared to today? He specified no start date, so were there fewer fatalities last year than in 1919 when Aircraft Transport and Travel started flying military biplanes modified to carry two passengers each between London and Paris?

It could be that last year was the safest year on record in terms of the number of fatal commercial airline crashes per people/miles flown. Wikipedia claims that the worst year by that reckoning was 1929. During that year there were 51 fatal commercial airline crashes killing a total of 61 people. Figuring in the distance, it works out to one fatal crash for every 1,000,000 miles flown. With today’s volume of air travel, an equivalent rate would mean 7,000 crashes annually! And do note that the 61 fatalities from 1929 is fewer than the 210 fatalities from 2013.

Maybe this is what Armstrong meant, but it is certainly not what he said. Come on CBC, you’re better than this.

I sent a query to the show about this. If I hear back, so will you.

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