IT Pilgrimage

A Journey From IT to Freedom

Posts Tagged ‘Hypermiling’

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.

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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

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Soft eyes. Hypermiling Skill of the Week

Posted by IT Pilgrim on June 24, 2008

See the Forest for the Trees
Here’s a quick hypermiling skill for your Tuesday morning, it’s a method I like to call soft eyes, a technique often taught in some sports and martial arts. This will allow you to see the forest among the trees. I have noticed recently, that most people, when they drive, focus intently on the car in front of them, occasionally glancing to the side, but mainly focus on those taillights in front of them. This is really tunnel-vision, and limits your options as well as contributes to tension headaches. Instead, try to use soft-eyes, meaning don’t focus on anything unless necessary to achieve a blend of details and peripheral vision that allows you to see the big picture around you.

At first blush, that seems a little scary, and it takes some time to get used to it, but its not about not paying attention, its about not intently focusing on one particular thing. Instead, relax your eyes and face and let your eyes scan around you. If you are trying to hypermile, at all, you really need to be looking at least a half mile in front of you anyway so you can try to anticipate traffic. You need to be seeing the cars on both sides of you and a little behind you as well. The goal is to stay calmly aware of as much of your surroundings as possible, mainly taking note of motion, or red lights.

How to get there:
First spend a few days practicing using your peripheral vision, I highly recommend you do this somewhere other than traffic if you have not done it before. Without focusing on anything in particular, look straight ahead and as you do this pay attention to what you notice simultaneously off to both sides . Try not to look first to one side and then to the other , at least not at this stage. The goal is to not focus on one single thing. Instead you are trying to look straight ahead, without moving your eyes from side to side, while noticing what is off to both sides of you.

Focused, or Foveal Vision
In general, very few of us actually need to practice this, but its helpful to do just to get an idea of the difference. Spend a few minutes every few hours, pick one particular thing and focus on it exclusively. One warning though, I also would not try this in traffic, or for too long as it’s a quick way to give yourself a headache or miss some joker cutting you off and slamming on their brakes.

The End Result
After practicing peripheral vision and focused vision for a few days, it’s fairly easy to graduate to using soft eyes since this is merely a blend of both skills. Remember, the goal is to try to notice everything occurring around you without focusing on it. This will take practice, and again, I suggest trying it somewhere else first, such as walking down the hall at work.

Soft eyes is a useful skill, not just for driving but for everyday life. Most people find it much easier to talk to you and you will find that people will not avoid your eyes as much as if you look too sharply focused. The trick however, is that you must learn to notice when someone else has made the first attempt at eye contact. Try it in the hall at work, or across the table at meetings, however, since it makes it difficult to see what you are looking at, some people will think you are not paying attention and have spaced out so be prepared to show that you are paying attention. Give it a week and let me know how it goes.

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Hypermiling and Investing Are Kissing Cousins

Posted by IT Pilgrim on June 5, 2008

I know the title is a bit much, but once it popped in my head I couldn’t resist it. If you take a moment, its pretty plain that the similarities are there for all to see. So here’s the gist of how they are so closely related; they are both dependent on planning.

In hypermiling you are forced to plan ahead and continually revise your plan to match road conditions. That car in front of you decides that it needs to cut off the car to his left, well, you revise. Maybe you planned on having 100 feet there, but now you have 20. You have two choices, change your plan, or run into that car (maybe he deserves it).

How is this like investing? Investing is really a lot like highway driving, or really, like tollway driving since you paid to be there. Like the tollway, you don’t have to go there, but you do either for convenience or to try to get ahead. Either way, here you are, you hopefully have some gas in your tank, and at the very least, a destination. Wouldn’t it be better if you had a route you wanted to take? Suppose you have your route defined, well what if there is construction along the way, or an accident?

Let’s jump back to your investments for a minute. Wouldn’t you be better able to achieve your goals if you had a defined plan? What if your investment strategies ran into some construction, we’ll just call it a recession? Or how about an accident, for example Enron was in your portfolio.

So here’s where investing and hypermiling intersect. They both require a well thought out plan that you will be required to revise on a regular basis. There will be bumps in the road that you will have to weather, just as your portfolio will go up and down. It takes a certain steadfastness to coast to a red light when the guy behind you is honking and weaving, just as it does to not jump out of the stock market the minute it takes a dip. In both realms, you will make bad decisions, and you will have to deal with the consequences of your actions. In the end, its really a matter of planning, patience, and most of all courage. Do you have what it takes?

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Hypermiling Is It Worth It? Part Two

Posted by IT Pilgrim on June 4, 2008

Part Two:

This is part two of my personal attempt at Hypermiling.

Red Means Stop

These two are really closely related, so I am going to merge them here. Any time you see brake lights, be it at a red light, or on the highway, you let off your gas. Do you ever see the people racing up to a red light, only to slam on their brakes and the rocket off again as soon as the light turns green? Do you ever notice how you catch back up to them at the next light? Well, now you can look at them and laugh, because you realize how much gas they are wasting. There is no point in racing to catch up with the car in front of you that is hitting their brakes.

Clean Your Car

Now this one should be the easy one. Take any extra junk out of your car that you don’t need. Those 4 jackets still in the car in June, you probably don’t need those. The three books or twenty pounds of mail, get rid of it. Every pound you can save makes a difference.

So in a nutshell, that’s it. The theory is real simple, every time you hit your brakes, you have just wasted gas. There are really two problems with the whole process; the first being that you become cut-off bait and the second being that people will get MAD. When I say that people will get mad, I mean that you better keep your windows up and your doors locked mad.

For some reason I can’t fathom, people get a little crazy when you are not tailgating the car in front of you and they can see a little daylight. You will get the weavers, the light flickers, the tailgaters, you know the real road ragers. Have courage little pilgrim!

My conclusion being that Hypermiling is worth it to save gas. If you are trying to lower your stress level, well, then this is definitely not for you. Hypermiling is not for the faint of heart. It takes courage and planning not to immediately hit your brakes every time someone else does. I hope this helps anyone who was thinking about trying it. Go forth with confidence.

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