Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Snow Clearing on the Island

So I recently got 18 inches of snow, or as I like to call it, "a dusting". Who in the tri-state area Isn't complaining about the ability to clear snow right now? I recently moved to Massapequa, and i am floored with the snow removal, which is by far the best I have seen on Long Island to date. I mean, I know that isn't saying much, but props to the town of oyster bay for that one.

Also, I want to give props to the LIRR, who actually got me into work on time today, as i was working in Manhattan. Our feud is far from over, but I see that you are working to extend the olive branch of peace in my direction, and its a good first start.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Random post

My god, if I get behind one more person doing 30 in the fast lane, with no one ahead of them and their brights on, i might just run them off the road. I actually witnessed two people backing out of EZ Pass lanes today. Screw this, i am working from home tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

It's like a battlefield out there

I hate it when my articles come to fruition. The evening and morning commutes are nothing short of warfare out there this week. Really. I would love to record the insane acts of terrible driving I am witnessing, but that would require my attention to lapse for more than a mere second, which could be deadly. On the CBX this morning, I passed three consecutive rear-endings in the left lane within a mile of each other. Sideswipes are happening everywhere. No one knows where their exit is, and the EZ Pass lanes are nightmarish.

Possibly the one thing that makes me the most sad this time of year is seeing how angry and rude people get out on the road. There is no kindness, only anger, horn honking and aggressive driving.

But be safe out there. Be smart, give everyone some distance for error, and realize a lot of those out there driving this holiday season don't drive these highways often enough, and are typically nervous and ill prepared for the amount of traffic. They rely solely on GPS for Navigation, so their attention is elsewhere, and this must be anticipated.

I am probably taking a break for a bit. I am off for the holidays, and then immediately heading to Vegas for CES, where I am then going to visit a friend out in AZ. should be a great fun rise through the desert.

Drive safe and happy holidays!

Monday, December 20, 2010

AWD=All Wheel Slide and the Importance of Hoonage

I grew up on a really big hill. I mean, Sanita Hill was the kind of hill in upstate NY that when we had a bad storm, people would just park their cars at the bottom and walk it. The winter was a dreaded time for driving, because before you hit the hill, you would down-shift, goose it, and see if you could make it up.

If not, you would start spinning at the top and fall backwards. I can vividly remember one time in my old Accord, being in 5th gear, the speedometer reading 80 MPH, and creeping along at a walking pace, as a school bus with chains on the tires crept up behind me.  Then there was the time I didn't make it up the hill, when i rolled backward into the woods. But don't worry, the tree stopped me before I rolled into the ditch.

Thats the benefit of living in a  rural area. From the Dutchess county town I grew up in to the years  spent crawling through lake effect snows on the NY Thruway while living in Utica, the ability to drive in the snow is a badge i wear proudly in metro NY.  This conversation was spurred today by this awesome video i just saw on of some NorPac drivers doing it wrong. The AWD's are slipping and sliding, while the Ford Fusion comes through with Snowtires and precise braking and steering control to avoid the pileup.

But here is the bottom line. I learned how to drive in the snow and ice through trial and error, and more anything, good solid Hoonage. Seriously. Parents, friends, spouses, I implore you to take yourselves and your loves one out when it snows to the local parking lot. Find a big empty space and start throwing the car around.  Learn what makes a car slide, learn what difference is between as a gas and a brake when you are sideways and learn how to get out of a spin. learn what it means to have a safe stopping distance, and instill confidence so drivers don't freak out when the car oversteers one ice.

Have you ever pulled a reverse whip in a front wheel drive car? Seriously, its more fun than a barrel full of monkeys when done correctly, and is an amazing technique when done correctly.  I can vividy recall my old cars, and what was awesome in the snow. My 90 Cavalier? 5 speeds of death and no heater. That thing never had any traction, so it was great to learn on. the 89 Accord? that thing loved to slide through the corners, but always corrected. The 94 Intrepid with a 3000GT powertrain? that thing was a more than 2 tons, unstoppable monster that never once slid on me. That car plowed through more lake effect snows than any I could remember and asked for more. The Maximas? not so much. my 2K was such a torquey monster, and the 18" TSW's with Nankings didn't help matters in the least. And now I have this thing called traction control on my 2007,  paired with Potenza RE960's all weathers. Now I have to really try to break traction in this thing.


Friday, December 3, 2010

The battle for the highways begins.

The war started as it normally does every year. Quietly, without warning. It was two days before Thanksgiving, and they snuck onto the left lane and weren’t noticed at first. There were Toyota Siennas. Honda Odysseys. Even a couple of Volvo XC70’s.
It isn’t clear who fired the first shot. Some witnesses say it was the SUV with the soccer ball vinyl in the window that stayed in the EZ Pass lane until the last second, and then realized they didn’t know what EZ pass actually was. Others say it was the road rage exhibited from a commuter stuck behind a family actually travelling the speed limit in the left lane.
But that’s a moot point now, because the battle is here, now, and on our doorsteps. Fellow commuters know what I’m talking about, its the annual war that rages between commuters and travelers in the holiday season.
See, the thing is that commuters, we know how to drive. We know the roads. We know what lanes to be in, and we always know what the guy ahead of us, beside and behind us is going to do. We know how to drive alongside the 18 wheelers without being a hazard, and we know not how to time toll gates so we don’t actually have to stop or really even low down. We know what an actual safe following distance is. We know where our blindspots are, and we know what a safe speed is for the roads we travel, and how to handle a car. We know our cars, and we don’t typically break down. We know where the bad potholes are and avoid those lanes.
But then there are the travelers; They are on their way to Grandmas, to the in-laws or to a family friend. They heard that the airports are sexually assaulting people, so they will drive even further this year than last. In fact, a recent study by Telenav suggested 73% of people will be driving to their destinations this holiday season. Here’s how to spot them so you can stay safe this holiday season.

Top 10 ways to spot the difference between a commuter and a traveler:
1. They slam on their brakes in the Express EZ pass lane, causing a multi car pileup
2. Hang out in your blind spot
3. Drive with their brights on, even in the middle of the day
4. Have no idea what lane to be in
5. Follow pointless traffic signals, like “EZ Pass only this lane” like lemmings
6. Always within 5 mph of the speed limit, totally unaware of the line of cars building behind them
7. Will say parallel with the car in the next lane creating an impassable blockade
8. Ice + AWD inflated confidence= ditch
9. Piloting anything with a Connecticut plate that isn’t a BMW Sedan.
10. Driving at full speed, about to miss an exit their Mapquest directions or GPS failed to notify them well in advance of, cut over three lanes of traffic without looking just so they don’t have to go make a U-turn, because that would be the end of the world.

The summary is this. We have to deal with them. They will be on the road until January 2nd, so we have to learn ho to avoid them until then. We have to outsmart them. Don’t drive on weekends. Know the backroads that GPS units wont recommend, like Rt 46. Take the truck lanes. Leave some space at EZ Pass, and always watch 2-3 vehicles ahead for sudden stops, because you know they aren’t. Also, recognize the sever amount of intoxicated drivers on the road early in the night and be especially wary.
We win every year. They go away and the roads are ours once again. Sure they will come back every once in a while, like Memorial day and 4th of July holidays, but for now we have to outsmart them and outdrive them.