Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Hypermiling = Bullshit And Other Driving Related Matters

I happened to catch a story about saving gas money based on a "new technique" for driving called "Hypermiling" on Yahoo! News last week. I must admit, this is the most bullshit method for driving a car that I have ever even seen be considered. I have two reasons why this is not even worthy of being attempted. The first is that the technique would only be remotely effective for hybrid vehicles and would actually hurt the average fuel mileage for any non-hybrid vehicle. This is never mentioned in the story and now many people will see this and think "it works for that guy, so it will work for me." Wrong. My second point is this - if I see people driving like this, I would want to kill them. There are already enough bad drivers on the road at any given time - now let's tell these bad drivers to drive extremely slowly on the interstates... people are going to get killed and it's because of crap like this. If you want to drive under the speed limit and inconvenience every one else on the road to save a couple nickels, then you deserve whatever horrible flaming death from within the confines of your snobby vehicle you will most definitely receive.

Here is my assessment of the current condition of the drivers in the areas of my expertise (KC/Des Moines/St. Louis). I would give the estimate that seventy percent of the people driving should likely be stripped of their licenses. Another twenty percent of drivers are "questionably decent" drivers. Possibly seven percent of the drivers are "acceptable". And that leaves three percent that would be considered "good" or better. "Hypermiling" will only force an even further degradation in the quality of traveling.

In an attempt to improve the conditions on the road, here are some simple rules to follow. Realistically, there are only two rules that must be followed at all times and these rules are of the utmost importance. What I'm trying to say is that these rules are important.

Rule Number 1: Get the fuck out of my way.
Rule Number 2: Always obey rule number 1.

To continue this rambling rant, here are the most annoying driving habits that I witness on a continuous basis:
1. Driving in the passing lane but not passing anyone - if you are not passing someone, get out of the passing lane. If you aren't driving more than five miles an hour faster than the car you are passing, either speed up and finish passing and get out of the way, or slow down and get out of the passing lane. In either case, get the hell out of the passing lane.
2. Not using turn signals at appropriate times - they are installed on cars for a reason, use them. If you're sitting at a stop light and the light turns green, then you turn your signal on, it is way, way too late. The drivers behind you have every right to run over you.

All in all, it all boils down to courtesy, which is highly lacking in today's society. Any one that believes that they are more important than anyone else out there is causing a problem. Pay attention to the vehicles around you, you are not alone out there.

In itself, speeding should not be a ticketable offense. When coupled with another infraction (no lights, no turn signals, whatever), fine, write speeding tickets. Having speed traps up just causes people to be worried and tense and causes more problems. Ticket writing is just a scam for the city/county/state to make more money. Now with gas prices being higher, the prices of tickets have to increase so they can justify having the patrols on the street. The city isn't safer because some douche wrote five hundred tickets in one day on a heavily traveled commuter pathway. Why does the gas station down the street get robbed every other day? Can't the city hire policemen instead of ticket writers (they aren't even real cops in KC - it's a freaking business scam). Look, I am personally comfortable driving a speeds higher than the posted "limits" and I can safely handle my car at a high velocity. Any one that isn't comfortable driving at interstate speeds should not be on the road, period. Speed limit signs are just guidelines - they should more accurately be called speed minimums. No one should ever drop below the speed limit unless traffic is too heavy to accommodate the speed. If the road is clear and dry - for the love of God, drive the speed limit.

Finally, elderly, retired persons need not ever be on the road during the rush hour period. You have all day to do whatever it is that you need to do. Why add to the chaos of rush hour when it is not necessary?


Steven said...

I concur.

Mike Wehrman said...

I agree with many of your points, but I do some of the hypermiling stuff on the highway and elsewhere. Since gas has been going up, I've tried to keep it under 70 most of the time (which is still over the speed limit everywhere in CT, though cars in general travel faster than they do in MO). I have an '01 Corolla with a stick, and I get over 40 mpg on the highway if I don't drive over 70. I also like coasting and going in neutral on occasion on hills and near stoplights.

I think trucks cause more problems than regular drivers on highways since they take up so much room and since their speeds vary so much depending on terrain. Uphill you have to pass them, downhill, look out or they'll run you over.

Kansas City does have some bad drivers, though, it's not really worse than the rest of the country. Fortunately there are very few speed traps in Connecticut, so fewer people drive unnecessarily slow out of fear of being ticketed. Oklahoma City is about the worst place to be if you're in a hurry. Nobody dares to drive over the posted speed limit. I think Florida has the worst all-around drivers, with its combination of old people, hot weather, lazy pace of life coming into conflict with angry northerners, and lack of hills. People have no idea how to drive if they encounter an incline and often come to a complete stop.

Why do my comments always seem to run so damn long?

Moflo said...

I agree with Mike. Trucks are bullshit.

Andrew Skaff said...

Steven - I was pretty sure that you would agree with most of this - especially the two rules that must be obeyed at all times.

Mike - Hey, feel free to write as much as you want in the comments. Until you start your own blog, I'd be happy to provide a place for you to speak your mind.

My main problem is with people driving under the speed limit and not getting out of the way of other drivers. I don't so much mind the truck being on the road because it is a necessity. But I do detest the car drivers that won't let you fully pass a semi and force you to sit alongside a truck until they finish their pass. I'm sure I'll get plowed over by a truck in a situation like this one day.

Moflo - Let's just hope that truck (from the previous comment response) has enough room for my car so we can have one of those "Christmas Vacation" moments.