IT Pilgrimage

A Journey From IT to Freedom

Posts Tagged ‘Cars’

Beware Prowlers Are Out There

Posted by IT Pilgrim on August 13, 2008

Driving to work, every day, and I mean every single day, I watch the same people being idiots at this one exit ramp. It is a fairly standard right exit with an off-ramp to another freeway. The problem is, it backs up quite far, and people can’t stand to wait in line. So what they do instead, is fly past everyone else in the left lane, then at the last possible second, they cut in front of someone else who was waiting.

Then there’s the other idiots, and I have chosen to call them Prowlers as they are prowling for an opportunity to be a jerk. They cruise along in the second to right-most lane and slowly prowl along, waiting for the slightest opportunity to cut some one off. These are the real accident causing geniuses along with their left lane counterparts, have their attention totally turned off to the right, they often don’t notice if someone else in front of them had to stop.

So next time you see them, remember, they’re not just self-important, self-absorbed jerks. They’re Prowlers!

Photo by mujitra via Flickr

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Posted in Cars, Travel | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

Hypermiling Skills: Defend Your Lane

Posted by IT Pilgrim on July 31, 2008

Today’s hypermiling skill, defending against someone trying to pass you. It seems that most people would prefer to tailgate you than bothering to see if there is actually traffic in front of you. Sometime you just cant go any faster, but you don’t want the turkey behind you to jump in front and ruin your carefully planned out spacing. A view of open road encourages the other driver to pass you. A view of deadlocked traffic, not so much.

So, to encourage the driver behind you not to pass, simply move over a little in your lane to the inside of traffic. By riding the left line of your lane, assuming you are in the right lane, you block the driver’s view of the traffic ahead of you. By blocking their view, they cannot judge if passing you is of benefit to them or not, unless their vehicle is big enough to see over yours. This is usually enough to get the person to stay in place. It also implies aggression and tells the person you don’t intend to let them cut you off. This works if you are in the right or middle lanes. If you are in the left lane, then you move right, rather than left, or if you happen to be in almost any country other than the US, just reverse it.

Posted in Cars, Frugal Living, Travel | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Monday Traffic Mini-Rant

Posted by IT Pilgrim on July 28, 2008

Monday morning, I drive around an hour and 15 to an hour and 30 each way to work each day. The other day, for grins, I decided to track the number of times people actually signal before they cut you off and slam on their brakes. The answer is 5. 5 people signaled in an hour or more of traffic. So here’s my little monday morning mini-rant:

Not signaling to save on electricity, and thus gas, does not count as Hypermiling!

Enough said.

Photo via Flickr by Burning Image

Posted in Cars, Travel | Tagged: , | 2 Comments »

Hypermiling Skills: Invite the Pass

Posted by IT Pilgrim on July 21, 2008

Today’s hypermiling skill, inviting someone to pass you. It seems that most people would prefer to tailgate you than bothering to see if there is actually traffic in front of you. You can always remedy this by giving them a quick view. A view of open road encourages the other driver to pass you. A view of deadlocked traffic, not so much.

So, to encourage the driver behind you to pass, simply move over a little in your lane. By riding the right line of your lane, assuming you are in the right lane, you give the driver behind you a view of the traffic ahead of you. It also implies that you are considering exit, turning, or otherwise slowing down more. This is usually enough to get the person off your butt. If that is not enough, you can always turn on your turn signal for a minute. It’s a bit deceptive, but usually effective. This works if you are in the right or middle lanes. If you are in the left lane, then you move left, rather than right, or if you happen to be in almost any country other than the US, just reverse it.

BTW: Still on vacation, comments and e-mails will not get answered before Tuesday.

Photo by ximenatapia

Posted in Cars, Frugal Living, Travel | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Why You Should Not Care About Gas Prices

Posted by IT Pilgrim on June 27, 2008

It seems like everywhere we look these day, someone is complaining about gas prices. If its not how to find cheaper gas, its about how to save gas. While all that is admirable, heck, we’ve all done it, and I’ve completely changed the way I drive to save gas, does it really matter in the grand scope of things? Is your life really changed drastically by gas prices or is it just an emotional response for us all? I tend to think it is and I am sure that people will let me know how wrong they think I am, but let’s take a look at the numbers here.

Gas prices have risen yes, and for the sake or this example, let’s say they have risen from $3/gallon to $4 a gallon. OK, so that’s $1 a gallon. Let’s say your car takes 10 gallons (just a simple number chosen since my math is less than stellar). That’s an average of $10 a tank. Let’s go with two tanks of gas a week. that’s an average of $20 a week, or $80 a month. That is a couple of hours of overtime, or a few hours at a second job, a couple of lunches a week, or a dinner out. Is that really life changing? I am going to go out on a limb here, and say that if it is, you have bigger problems and you need to take control of your expenses.

What can you do about it? Well, for one, you can worry about it, but that is not going to change anything. You can complain about it, and most people do, but that also doesn’t change anything. I say its about choices. All life is governed by the choices we make, good or bad. I know some people like to say they have no choice, but I am saying that we always have a choice. It may not be the best choice, and none of the options may be good, but its still a choice, even not making a decision is still a choice.

So what can you, as an individual do about it?
1. Take a bus.
2. Carpool
3. Hypermile
4. Get a job closer to home
5. Ride a bike or walk to work.

Bus
Some of these choices are hard. I hear a lot of people say that they cannot take a bus to work, and I say that rather, they choose not to. For example, I could drive or bike the 8 miles to the nearest park and ride, get on the bus, and take the 2 1/2 hour ride to work, then bike to my office. Is it a good choice? No, its not, so I choose not to do it, but is it a choice, yes, always.

Carpool
Carpooling can be difficult, and inconvenient at times. Since I work in IT, I often keep weird and crazy hours and stay at work for 12-16 hours at a time, not good for a carpool, so I choose not to do it. It could be done and I think a lot more people could do it. Have you ever looked around in traffic and taken note of how few cars have more than one person in them?

Hypermile
This is my personal choice. Bare feet, rolling up to lights and all that. I like that I have direct control over how much gas I use and have been able to cut down from filling up twice a week to just once, and that with driving over 300 miles a week.

Get a Job closer to home
This is a little more difficult, but again, its about choices. I am considering taking a job at the same office that my spouse works so we can carpool. It would involve a paycut to do so, so that’s a choice I have to make.

Ride a bike
Riding a bike to work can be hard. Cars don’t respect bikes on the road and all that makes it even harder. Again, it’s a hard choice. I could choose to bike the 32 miles to work and the 32 miles back each day, or ride the bus one way. I choose not to because I am too fat and lazy to make it, but I think its time we take responsibility for our choices.

We all choose to do what’s easiest or most convenient for us. I have seen neighbors who drive 25 miles to work at a fast food joint when there is one only 5 mile away because they like their co-workers. So I guess what I am saying is that its time for us to stop complaining. We made our bed, with our big trucks and SUVs that you cant even sell nowadays, its time to lie in them.

Posted in Cars, Finance, Frugal Living, Travel | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »