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Old 06-27-2017, 12:56 PM   #81
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Interstate safe driving strategies

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Interesting. Are you saying that IH-69 is tolerable throughout its length, even though it's not IH-69 yet? Because north of Houston, it's still a cow path.



Your route avoids a greater portion of the Appalachians, which certainly has its appeal. We've done this twice so far, and this was our theoretical route below, in the image (I accidentally reversed the first two signs; by theoretical I mean that construction and wrecks forced us to make major modifications along the northeast corridor in real time). It's up the Shenandoah Valley, beautiful drive but fatiguing because of those danged mountains and heavy, heavy traffic. I'm undecided what to do this year. I'd like a better route, but this is the devil I know. (Also, we boondock / Wallydock along the way, and we've thus far avoided a route more toward the mid-continent because it tends to be hotter than in the mountains.)



Thanks for the reminder to look into the toll tag issue once again. I have a TxTAG but I think I would need an EZPass for tolls in the northeast. Last I heard, there was no reciprocity with Texas.





Yes to 69. US59 is no cowpath. US30 in PA is a mountain goat path. The cow paths are in the South. Avoid them all unless yours is an extra long trip.

See any major metro areas on that route? Ah, ha.

Start the trip on a Saturday. Commercial traffic hits low point 0900- Sat to 1400-Sun.

Once north of Memphis on IH55 (69) from there on it's a breeze.

IH81 was still nice 20 years ago. Not any more.

The route I gave is the lowest amount of truck traffic. And thereby easiest.

The tolltag isn't vital. But I'd want one. Seemingly of NY and New England is toll roads. You WANT to use them.
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Old 06-27-2017, 03:17 PM   #82
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IH81 was still nice 20 years ago. Not any more.
Wave when you cross the Susquehanna by Harrisburg on IH81. My parents lived a stone's throw from what is now the highway when I was born in 1932. It was still a sleepy area when I left home for the Air Force when I was 18.
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Old 06-27-2017, 03:29 PM   #83
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Keep avoiding them, my friend.
It is a bunch of convoluted garbage.
Seems like double taxation to me.
Double taxation? No -- it is the alternative to raising the fuel taxes.
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Old 06-27-2017, 04:37 PM   #84
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Interstate safe driving strategies

Pay tax on my house every year.
Pay tax on my car every year, which is supposed to be "road and bridge use privilege tax".
Pay sales tax on everything.
Double, triple, quadruple taxation...
Tax, tax, tax...
They raise taxes regardless.
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Old 06-28-2017, 06:25 AM   #85
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Off thread, but sometimes wrongs have a strange way of making a right. Texas has no state income tax but has high property tax in lieu of it. Most people despise property tax on its face, but we had no housing bubble as a result of it, because it's almost impossible to speculate on real estate in an area where annual taxes erode so much in the way of potential price inflationary profit. So the reviled tax actually helps to stabilize our economy, which is a huge deal. The resulting Texas real estate stability kept the overall American economy from tanking even worse during the housing crisis a few years ago.

Additionally, there are always loopholes to income taxes, but real estate taxes cannot be cheated. Got real estate, got tax, period. For those two reasons, if something MUST be taxed, I vastly prefer real estate over earnings.

And I don't really care about paying for toll roads if it means improved mobility. If the numbers are run on lost earnings (which I've done in my case given that I'm self-employed), paying tolls is the superior financial scenario. I'd lose more money than I pay if the toll roads weren't available.
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Old 06-28-2017, 06:40 AM   #86
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Keep avoiding them, my friend.
It is a bunch of convoluted garbage.
Seems like double taxation to me.
In terms of risk avoidance and stress reduction, they're cheap.

Might be one thing to avoid one local to ones home. Then it's familiar terrain.

But for getting past an area to a far destination, well worth it.

"Who" is not on tollroads is important.

"Limited access" really means just that.

The routing I suggested above approaches Cleveland. May be some traffic thru Canton. But one can entirely traverse Cleveland en route from Chicago on 90 and never be aware of it.

TX130 bypassing Austin on IH35 is a godsend. I drive 30-miles farther from Fort Worth to San Antonio and always save better than an hour. Important for work.

But never discount stress reduction, is how to think on it. Motor skills decline thru the day. Heavy traffic brings it on faster. Etc.

Being in a self-contained RV means no outrageous prices on terrible food. The typical car travel dilemma. The toll roads are already underwritten by this, alone.
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Old 06-28-2017, 07:05 AM   #87
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I went back several years and there's no thread devoted to general driving safety issues. Crosswind assist - yes. Blind spot tech - yes. TPMS - yes. Staged collisions - yes. But what about general safety ideas and strategies?

I've mentioned on previous threads about what a challenge it is to drive an Interstate solo (without another pair of eyes to help monitor blind spots) on Houston's interstates, including the twenty-six-lane Katy Freeway which looks like this:



I've been driving in Houston for thirty years, and for two thirds to three quarters of that time, the conditions weren't that bad. But the state has fallen so far behind on mobility that the driving has become far more adversarial than the laid-back Texas "howdy" attitude that used to prevail years ago. That plus the fact that this city has inherited a million intranational (intra, with an 'a') immigrants who don't always come from places where a polite "howdy" attitude is common on the roadways.

I'm an industrial worker, and we are programmed to never, ever let a near-miss go without developing a countermeasure. But how to develop countermeasures when hyper-aggressive reckless drivers are constantly threatening your life and property? It's not easy.

But looking at it and trying to simplify the issue, I have noticed that, by far, the number one threat to Interstate driving is intentional cut-offs on the passenger side. They'll see that I'm preparing to make a lane change to the right and they'll shoot the gap, assuming that I'll see them in time to avoid a collision. But very often they're traveling at maximum acceleration from several lanes over, so it's almost impossible to spot them in the mirrors.

I have noticed that some of the big rig drivers around here use these stickers on the backs of their trucks in an attempt to remind people how dangerous it is to aggressively overtake a much-larger vehicle in the inside lane where they can't be seen. I bought a pair for five bucks on Amazon. I'm not planning to attach them permanently to the rear of our Interstate, but I think I'll mount them to sheet magnets and try using them just on those days when I know that I'm going to have to face maximum aggressive traffic.

Any other tips and ideas for general safe driving?

I've been driving a lot longer than you. Watched the Interstates get built across the country. And commercial dominance build after 1978. The Dinah Shore days are dim memory. As you note, it's changed again. These days, I do it mainly in a rig more difficult (yet better in some regards) than an RV. Below is distillation of what works:

Depart early. Stop early.

Literally. Majority of miles by or before noon. (I start at 0300 many days to be done by 1700 per Federal rules). Don't EVER drive into evening hours. I mean it. Traffic does not dissipate, and the worst are on the road.

Avoidance of afternoon and evening traffic is huge.

Plan stops in advance. I use truck/car travel plazas situated on the same side of the road. Enter all waypoints in advance and ck routing against motor carrier atlas. Then, Set GPS to next waypoint thru day. Two hours for short break and four hours to an hour break (which is fuel and meal for me).

Pare down unknowns this way.

Far in advance of trip, look at routing to avoid worst areas. Go up to my posts on Houston to Nova Scotia. See my route versus what computer gives you.

More miles at a higher average speed trumps shorter distance thru Megaregions every time.

Second, following distance: 300' nearly always. Cancel cruise and drop down to let idiots get past.

Never allow a pack to form around you. The Third Worlders do it unconsciously. If this happens, you are at fault. They have no agency.

With a plan, an itinerary, be patient and don't sweat changes in speed. Keep the left door closed, the rig upright, and between the fence posts (old trucker maxim).

I get passed over and over by the same ones driving above speed limit. Cars and trucks. Stressed out and taking too many breaks. That doesn't work.

So, expect to lose at least an hour into a metro area during daylight, and plan a break just beforehand.

Let those emotions come and go.

Use 5-mph below limit as starting point. From there, maintain spacing.

GPS will tell you which lane (if you've been diligent beforehand about its intended routing). And it'll count down time to next planned stop. Let it do that job. You just avoid problems as driver.

Drive with lights on and keep side glass and mirrors perfectly clean (windshield not so important).

I doubt most RV'ers have mirrors adequately adjusted (or even the right kind), or use them well. Focus on this. You want to know where is the tail end of your rig in all situations. Make this your meditation as you drive. The van pivots from the Drive Axle. Don't follow the front tires. Think, "point and launch" for how to make construction curves, etc. Deal with winds. The Moho sin.

Sprinters are awful in winds. Too tall. Bad aero as well. Was coming across southern Kansas las week with a 30-mph crosswind. Had one want to pass me, then decided that running in the wake of my tanker was better. He was right. Followed me past Hutchinson as we admired that half-mile long grain elevator and we probably both dialed up YouTube and played Artie Shaw in, "Moonglow".

Just deal with it as it comes.

Etc
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Old 06-28-2017, 07:43 AM   #88
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...
Never allow a pack to form around you.
...
This.
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Old 06-28-2017, 08:37 AM   #89
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Wave when you cross the Susquehanna by Harrisburg on IH81. My parents lived a stone's throw from what is now the highway when I was born in 1932. It was still a sleepy area when I left home for the Air Force when I was 18.
Hi

If you *do* happen to be taking I-81 (or any other major highway) through PA any time soon ... we're in a "highway repair" boom at the moment. Expect to be hassled more than a little bit by it.

We have the ever wonderful habit of marking construction zones as such when they actually are not construction zones. You have to slow down for "real zones", you don't have to slow down for "fake zones". Yes the locals and the truckers know which are which. If you are from out of the area, it raises the blood pressure more than a little bit.

=====

Just to make things ever more confusing, we have a system here called EzTag. Yup, it's much better to re-use names than to come up with new ones. It's a "picture of your plate / send you a bill" system for some of the bridges. No toll booths for anybody. You either get the EzPass charged or a bill in the mail.

Bob (at the junction of I-76 and I-81)
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Old 06-28-2017, 08:47 AM   #90
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Originally Posted by m.hony View Post
Pay tax on my house every year.
Pay tax on my car every year, which is supposed to be "road and bridge use privilege tax".
Pay sales tax on everything.
Double, triple, quadruple taxation...
Tax, tax, tax...
They raise taxes regardless.

Since we have drifted off topic a bit - I would agree no one likes paying taxes and to that end you can expect more toll roads. Check this story for the current trend.
http://thehill.com/policy/transporta...ght-over-tolls
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Old 06-28-2017, 09:19 AM   #91
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And I don't really care about paying for toll roads if it means improved mobility.
But does it?
Here's the future. My city has a bridge that is known as the "car strangled spanner". So the DOT is planning on taking an existing lane and making it a toll lane. It's known here as a "Lexus Lane". The toll is proposed to vary between $8 and $30 depending on how snarled traffic is. $30 to cross a bridge? And one which now has one fewer lanes?

Didn't my tax dollars build that bridge? It certainly wasn't privately owned.

Here's my idea. Let private industry build and own roads. There can be naming rights like with stadiums. Then charge whatever you want. "Welcome to the Bank of America toll road, pay ahead, $12". But leave me with a choice of another road I already paid for.

I predict that within 20 years ALL interstates will become toll roads. "It's for the children."
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Old 06-28-2017, 09:52 AM   #92
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The toll road in Tuscaloosa, AL that supposedly saves time does not.
You can just continue a little further on US 82 east, then go south on AL 43, then connect with I-20.
Easy.
And doesn't cost a penny.
The only problem with staying on 82/McFarland Blvd. all the way to I-20 is lots and lots of red lights.
They build the toll road then erect propaganda billboards trying to convince motorists that it will save them time...
Smoke and mirrors, blowing smoke, deceit, dishonesty...
I do take the Florida Turnpike from Gainesville to Disney World because it really does knock an hour off the trip.
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Old 06-28-2017, 11:10 AM   #93
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Here's the future. My city has a bridge that is known as the "car strangled spanner". So the DOT is planning on taking an existing lane and making it a toll lane. It's known here as a "Lexus Lane". The toll is proposed to vary between $8 and $30 depending on how snarled traffic is. $30 to cross a bridge? And one which now has one fewer lanes?

Didn't my tax dollars build that bridge? It certainly wasn't privately owned.

Here's my idea. Let private industry build and own roads. There can be naming rights like with stadiums. Then charge whatever you want. "Welcome to the Bank of America toll road, pay ahead, $12". But leave me with a choice of another road I already paid for.

I predict that within 20 years ALL interstates will become toll roads. "It's for the children."
Yes your tax dollars built the bridge, assuming you were paying taxes when it was built. But no one wants to pay the taxes to maintain it.

Your idea is not new. Here in the Virginia metro area around Washington DC there are several privately build roads that are tolled. The latest is the hot lanes on I-495 Capital Beltway in Virginia. I use it whenever I'm in that part of town. The toll allows me to drive on a better road with less traffic and legally drive at 65 MPH. The toll varies based on traffic. It works and I'm safer because there is a lot less traffic.

Your prediction is spot on, but it might be sooner than 20 years. Just do a search on "privatize interstates". It has been discussed seriously for the last several years since no one wants to pay the taxes to maintain the Interstate system as it is today.

An OpEd piece in today's Wall Street Journal goes even farther to privatize more than just the Interstates. Here is link to article, but you need a subscription to read the whole article so I've attached a copy.
https://www.wsj.com/articles/trumps-...tes-1498605231

BTW - your profile says you live in Florida, which has a great system of toll roads. My only complaint is all these different toll road systems require different automated toll payment systems. We need one toll pass systems that works for all toll roads in the country. Right now I have a Maryland EZpass and a Florida SunPass. Congress recognized the need in the 2012 and has mandated interoperability by Oct 2016. It appears we aren't there yet.
http://www.tollinterop.org/
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Privatize Interstates.pdf (252.2 KB, 13 views)
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Old 06-28-2017, 11:27 AM   #94
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I was curious so I looked it up. The law is pretty vague and just says "shall signal intentions". I also looked up my other pet peeve: people making half of a left turn and then driving in the center turn lane trying to "merge". Nope, not legal.
SOP for the justice system. Details have been hashed out over time. Good luck finding what I wrote above (have had it detailed to me in professional training).

Imagine you are on camera: if ones vehicle breaks plane only at moment signal lights, one is in the wrong. Signal MUST come on before movement.

Same at other end. Off ONLY when again lane centered.

Lane changes cannot be by surprise.

IOW, a few flashes does not suffice under law.

As with merges:

When merging from inferior road to superior road, signal must be on AT LEAST as far as vehicles in superior can see it. If this means nearly a half mile down a dedicated ramp, so be it.

Etc, in this vein.

Intentions must PRECEDE actions (easily remembered).
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Old 06-29-2017, 08:40 AM   #95
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Hi

On any drive through our very small town in "rush hour" (you have more than 3 cars in front of you...) it's trivially easy to spot traffic violations. You don't have to work at it. Pretty much none of the vehicles will be from out of town. It's hard to believe the drivers didn't know the terrain involved. The large number of people with cell phones glued to their ears makes it hard to correlate to talking and driving.

The problem is *not* limited to interstate highways. Unless you quite literally cross the solid yellow line and then run the red light while driving in front of a cop car (yes, I've watched that happen), getting cited is something that does not happen around here. There's no feedback on "this is wrong" so things just get worse.

Welcome to the future ....

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Old 06-29-2017, 08:27 PM   #96
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Double taxation? No -- it is the alternative to raising the fuel taxes.
And it gets money from those who use the roads and pay no gas tax.

Always wondered if they realize that they are actually in most cases powering their cars w/ "dirty" coal.
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Old 06-29-2017, 08:37 PM   #97
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Add to that the fact there are no actual people or booths to pay as you go.
A picture is taken of your license plate and a bill sent with penalties more than the toll.
Not so in Dallas. Was at a soccer tournament earlier this year down there and had to use a toll road both ways from hotel to the games. No boothes, just cameras. They just get your tag and bill you in about six weeks, no penalties.
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Old 06-30-2017, 06:02 AM   #98
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That ability is variable - I don't know why - but it's common to see signs on some toll roads that say "No pay-by-mail".
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Old 06-30-2017, 08:07 PM   #99
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If there's no booth, how does an out-of-stater pay the toll then?
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Old 07-01-2017, 04:44 AM   #100
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If there's no booth, how does an out-of-stater pay the toll then?
They don't - that's the problem with the system.

It's an enormous legal and administrative headache. Many people will ignore a $2.00 bill that shows up in the mail whether they are in-state or out-of-state. The toll road authority will then throw the bill into court proceedings for collection. By the time it gets resolved, there may be hundreds of dollars of fees attached. For this reason, the Harris County Toll Road Authority (HCTRA) will typically haul toll-runners over on the spot and ticket them, rather than go through it. There are usually enforcement vehicles staged at the major booths.

The last published number I can find for HCTRA is $520 million per year in collected tolls (that's a 2012 figure and we've grown since then). If they were to even turn a blind eye to 5% of those tolls, they'd be leaving $26 million per year on the table!! You can see how they are strongly incentivized to collect every last toll one way or another.
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