Best of the Web: what the heck is this truck?

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While sitting in traffic on California State Route 17 between Santa Cruz and San Jose, a member of the car enthusiast Facebook group Oppositetalk named Diego Imprenta spotted a bizarre mechanical creature that appears to be some combination of Ford Super Duty and Mercedes Sprinter.

“This was interesting!” reads Imprenta’s caption accompanying his photos of the mysterious beast. I agree, this is interesting—mostly because I really don’t know what’s going on here.

Original Story Link for many more details.

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Sorry, But We’re Looking At The Slow Lane

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But first, let’s take a fast look at the basics because I know most of us never see a freeway that’s not a packed with slow-moving traffic in every lane.

The Right Lane

According to the Uniform Vehicle Code, the right-most lane, a.k.a. slow lane is primarily for vehicles that have just entered the freeway or intend to leave it at the next exit. It has a second purpose, however, and that is to house vehicles that aren’t traveling with the flow of other vehicles. We’ll return to that in a second.

The slow lane in hilly terrain is also known as the climbing lane. The layout is such that two lanes head upwards on a freeway and one head downward. Heavy vehicles are more likely to use the climbing lane.

The Left Lane

The U.V.C also defines the use of the left-most lane, a.k.a. fast lane. The right lane is also known as the passing lane, because vehicles in this lane are, in theory, overtaking slower traffic in lanes to the right.

It’s worth noting that Colorado Police are particularly well known for handing out tickets for going slow in the fast lane. The high altitude and pitch of the climb on certain roads make it more likely for cars to travel slowly in the fast lane, which is truly a hazard.

The Middle Lane

The middle lane, or lanes, is for “through traffic.” These vehicles should be traveling at or near the speed limit. Since you’re supposed to be using the left lane for passing, it’s illegal in most states to travel in the left with the flow of traffic and not yield if someone is overtaking you.

Legitimate Reason to Drive Slow in the Slow Lane

Many states have a lower posted speed limit for Tractor Trailers or other vehicles with more than two axles. Also, most states have special speed restrictions for oversized loads. Some vehicles may be overloaded or awkwardly loaded which causes them to drive slower for safety. Also, temporary car trouble could be a legitimate reason to drive slower until a good exit can be found.

Being too old, too impaired or too blind to safely drive at freeway speeds is not a legitimate reason to camp out in the slow lane. If you don’t feel able to safely operate your vehicle at freeway speed, please avoid using freeways.

Differential Rate of Speed

The issue isn’t really about top speed. In theory, we’re all traveling the speed limit (wink) and if we’re not the police take care of it.

No, the issue is the difference in speed between one vehicle and another. It’s the rate at which you overtake the other vehicles on the road, which means acceleration and deceleration. If someone enters your lane going 20 MPH slower than you, you’d better have good brakes. The opposite issue is the source of most frustration.

When you finally break free of that slow car in the fast lane you want to get back to your cruising speed which is all about engine acceleration. It may seem like a little thing but it might just save your life. Cars which fail to accelerate at intersections or up hills or ramps can cause accidents. You need to be able to pick up speed when necessary.

Car acceleration performance is measured by the time it takes to go from 0 to 60 mph. It is not always possible to tell this just by looking at a car. The Chevrolet Camaro Iron Duke may have been marketed as a sports car but it still has an embarrassingly low acceleration rate of 0 to 60 in 20 seconds.

Did you Know the term ‘Slow’ travel is actually a thing?

But let’s move on from slow lanes to another kind of slowness; slow travel.

Sure we’ve all been on road trips where someone took too many rest breaks. For some people, due to their age, health or some other condition must slow travel–it’s the best they can do. (Though it is not an area the Kicker spends much time on.) For most car enthusiasts the slow traveler is the enemy.

The term, ‘Slow Travel’ was inspired by the term ‘Slow Food’ which came about in the 1980s. Slow food was a counter-movement against the sudden domination of unhealthy & over processed ‘Fast Food.’ It was based in the notion that it’s okay to have a different priority for your food than mere speed–things like taste and atmosphere. If some people preferred a ‘Slow Food’ experience maybe it some folks would also enjoy a slower pace of travel.

If freeways make you feel stressed, you might be one of the folks who understand that life is a journey, not a destination.

For the traveler who wishes to take the slow routes across America, possible suggestions include the Lincoln Highway from New York to San Francisco or Route 6 from Provincetown, Mass. to Bishop, California.

Likely as not, it will go up the mountains and through the valleys. Ironically, traveling slowly is what the car commercials are all about. These routes are slower, which means more stops. More stops mean more meals and more nights in a hotel. It’s not cheaper, but it is more picturesque and you may actually get to meet some nice people you’d normally zoom past.

Best of the Web: 50 Cars that Last

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Link to Original Story

There seem to be two theories in car ownership:
1. Buy a new car every two or three years to take advantage of the advanced reliability or
2. Pick up a low mileage used car and drive it until it dies–let someone else eat the depreciation.

If you follow theory number 2 (and most of us do) then you’ll want a car with a reputation for longevity.

Here’s what Interesticle has identified as the top cars to run over 250,000 miles.

1.) Subaru Forester
2) VW Passat
3) Lexus RX350 (450HP)
4) Honda CRV
5) Lexus ES 350/450
6) Toyota Camry Toyota 4 runner
7) Lincoln Town Car
8) Nissan Titan XD
9) Chevy Silverado
10) Honda Odessey

11) Acura RDX, Chevrolet Impala, Toyota Corolla etc.

The list is long but helpful.

Night Systems

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It’s not just the darkness, but fog, smog and even the glare of light can prevent you seeing nearby obstacles. Introducing the automotive night system which can detect objects you wouldn’t see with mere headlights and alert the driver to them. Given its potential to improve safety and how long we’ve had the basic technology it may come as a shock that it only dates back to 2000. That means it came in about the same era as  Sat-Nav, which is also handy, but not a safety concern.

As with most innovations night systems were first installed in the luxury brand and even now hasn’t become a standard safety feature in mid-cost vehicles. The first car to employ an automotive night system was a Cadillac de Ville.  This style of Cadillac was originally developed in the 1950s, but it has undergone several generations of improvement.

From the start, the goal was to make automotive night system passive and intuitive so that they didn’t provide more distraction than a driver simply concentrating on the road ahead. All the systems employ an infrared beam to pick up on objects which the human eye would miss. The main difference in the systems is how it alerts the driver.

Less passive systems were introduced by  Mercedes and Toyota, which produce a black and white image for the driver.  The Mercedes can only use this function when you are going at 28 mph, presumably because you are less likely to be killed by a car traveling below 28 mph. (But honestly who  wants to be hit at any speed?)

You might think that as people aren’t used to black and white images that it might hard for a driver to know when to react. The people behind the DS Night Vision have thought of this. Its sensors give a red border around any objects that may be a potential danger, and then adds a yellow border if the danger changes to critical.

The BMW has a pedestrian detecting device which flashes a caution symbol if its infra-red senses that a pedestrian is in the driver’s “eye-line.” In recent years they added an animal detection device. If an animal is in the vicinity a number of LEDs will start flashing.

Should you discover something called “active vision” it means it only works on nearby obstacles. Far away obstacles can appear grainy in this type of footage, which isn’t necessarily a problem as such obstacles can generally be ignored.

Naturally the idea of creating a live stream in front of you to show you how the road is looking seems an obvious evolution. However, it’s currently thought to be too distracting.  As drivers become more accustomed to technology in cars its quite possible we’ll see this innovation soon.

As this is the latest in tech it will remain quite expensive for some time, to the detriment of the pedestrian and maybe other drivers. This isn’t, from a tech standpoint, much different than ordinary surveillance devices. Night vision comes standard on baby monitors these days. The safety of others seems to come secondary to price, which isn’t how other safety features have been prioritized. The court of public opinion can shift swiftly so perhaps we’re one bad night accident away from a handy new standard safety feature.

Best of the Web: Chevy mid-engine.

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  • It’s officially official: the next-generation 2020 Chevrolet Corvette will make the switch to a mid-engined layout.
  • The new Corvette C8 makes its debut July 18, 2019, and will go on sale by the end of the year.

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At long last, General Motors is admitting that the Corvette will reach another generation and has confirmed that the car—yes, the real, bona fide 2020 Chevrolet Corvette C8—will make its official debut July 18. We’ve spilled plenty of ink (and pixels) about the upcoming C8 for the past five years (not to mention our relentless and breathless coverage of the idea of a mid-engined Corvette spanning several decades), and now Chevrolet is finally ready to talk about it as well.

Best of the Web: Jeep wins French Award

 

While many of us in North America think of the Jeep® Renegade as the entry-level offering bring people into the Jeep brand, the reality is that the Renegade is a huge part of the brand’s global presence. This past week in Europe, French magazine SUV Crossover, published by Éditions Larivière gave the new 2019 Jeep Renegade their “2019 Urban SUV of the Year” award.
Link to Original Article