Why all the Angry Holiday Drivers?

angry Holiday driver

Why does driving during the Holidays often seems more stressful than usual?  Are family issues and frustrations spilling out onto the streets?

I am always especially cautious while driving during the Christmas Holiday.  Driving behavior seems to change a lot during the Holiday and people become more aggressive and impatient on the road.  Is it that people like to take their family or shopping pressure frustrations out on the road?

Yes, traffic is probably slight worse near shopping malls but regular commutes to work are faster due to people working from home or on vacation.  You can see the frustration on drivers faces during this time of year.  Especially when they have to stop and wait for someone crossing the street or someone makes a slight driving error in-front of them.

Driving near shopping malls can be especially hazardous.  We have found in our dangerous intersections database that more accidents are occurring at intersections near shopping malls.  Search the previous map link in your area for dangerous intersections near shopping malls.   

10 Ways To Get Respect From Drivers While Riding Your Bike

car passing too close to bike

Why has riding a bike most cities across the World has now become hazardous to your health and you could easily be risking your life and injury.   I have been riding my bike for the last 25+ year to commute around the Hermosa Beach & Manhattan Beach area.  I used to ride my bike for exercise on the streets training for triathlons but ever since I had kids I have stopped.  It is just too risky now and over the years I have seen far to many injuries and accidents because some drivers don't respect bikers.

It concerns me that driving has become even more hazardous with texting and distracted driving.  However, one thing that has progressed is road rage especially in the morning.  I can't tell you how many times I have seen angry drivers pass bikers too close.  Why don't more drivers respect the space of bikers on the road?  Don't more drivers realize that kids are riding their bikes to school and need to slow down?  Over the years I have found the following things help to move cars and get more respect from cars while riding.  Passing too close is my biggest pet peeve and here are ways to help get more space.

  • Ride with a group of 2 or more people.  Drivers tend to respect riders more in a group. 
  • Have a quick look over your shoulder if you start to hear a car approaching. 
  • Wear bright colors.  
  • Do your best to hug the side of the road or parked cars. 
  • Don't ride in the middle of a lane because you never know if a crazy driver is approaching.
  • Don't run stop signs or lights. 
  • Don't ride too fast down hills or in areas with heavy traffic.  Stopping safely is everything! 
  • Always be on guard and never relax while riding. 
  • Look inside parked vehicles to make sure a car is not about to pull out or opening a car door.  
  • NEVER wear headphones!  

I can't tell you how many times I have almost been hit by a car while riding my bike on the side of the road. Why don't more drivers give proper space to bikers on the road?   Most drivers are courteous and pullover a lane on the road or just ride the median to give ample space.   However on some rides there is usually that one "knucklehead" driver who does not respect your space and will pass you without pulling out.  These people know what they are doing because they often look in the rear view mirror to see my reaction.  We need to crowdsource a database of these assholes and their license plates!

I am not an overly aggressive rider and tend to hug side of the road for just these reasons.  What can be done to solve these problems?  Education or steeper fines for not giving bikers ample space?  Here is a good article that talks about the 9 things that drivers need to stop saying in the bikes vs cars debate.

Here is another article that suggest that drivers think that cyclist are annoying.  Why motorists get so angry at cyclists?    "It's not because cyclists are annoying,” he writes. “It isn't even because we have a selective memory for that one stand-out annoying cyclist over the hundreds of boring, non-annoying ones (although that probably is a factor). No, my theory is that motorists hate cyclists because they think they offend the moral order.”

ridar bike presence radar

I would like to see bike radar companies like Ridar take off in the future.  If every car has a bike presence sensor and cars were informed that a bike was nearby this could help.  It would be awesome to see companies like Waze have a function for bikers to let drivers know they are nearby.  However, it is going to take widespread adoption by the automakers.  Hopefully, companies like Garmin and Ridar can make this happen and bring the technology to the masses.  

City Found Liable for Faded White Lines at Intersection

In a civil trial launched in Hamilton, Canada a court heard that the stop line on Fifth Concession Road West, where the sedan should have stopped, was faded and virtually invisible to drivers. The sedan instead stopped at the stop sign before pulling out into the intersection. According to the court documents, city staff had identified months earlier that the stop line needed repainting and had recommended it, but hadn't gotten around to it. Court heard there were "regular" accidents at that intersection. Years before the crash, a neighbor had petitioned to have reflective "tiger stripes" painted on the roadway there (which have since been added).

The stop line was faded. As a result, Superior Court Justice Toni Skarica ruled last week that the city, as well as the driver of the sedan, was negligent. "The evidence establishes that the city had committed itself to maintain this stop line and had ample notice that this intersection was a dangerous — if not one of the most dangerous — intersections in the City of Hamilton," the judge ruled. "The city was aware it needed repainting as far as six months before the accident, but it had not been done." The cost of a stop line, according to the court documents, was $50 to $100.

In an email statement Friday, lawyer Michael Smitiuch said the decision "serves as a wake-up call for the city to ensure improvements are made to dangerous intersections to protect public safety." He said that although his client will continue to struggle with his injuries, "the decision will allow (Chiocchio) to have the much needed care and rehabilitation that he requires and allow him to provide for his young son." He declined to say what amount the city was ordered to pay. On his blog he wrote, "The losses and damage suffered by the plaintiff were considerable." A city spokesperson said Monday it's "reviewing the decision with outside counsel, who acted on behalf of the city's insurer, to consider options."  Read more

Google Launches New Driverless Car Company Waymo

Google's Waymo Car

Google’s parent company Alphabet has created a driverless car company called Waymo, signalling that the company is ready to launch a commercial autonomous car service.  Waymo will not likely create its own driverless car but will instead work with carmakers to integrate its driverless tech into their vehicles, as it plans to create a commercial ride-sharing service with Fiat Chrysler according to The Information, and will work with the automotive company to create an autonomous prototype van based on the Chrysler Pacifica.   John Krafcik, will be the chief executive of Google Self-Driving Cars.

On its website, the company said its next step “will be to let people trial fully self-driving cars to do everyday things like run errands or commute to work.” Alphabet executives had said they expected the self-driving car project to graduate from the company’s research lab, X, where it had been shielded from commercial demands. The move suggests the technology is becoming commercially viable. However, Mr. Krafcik didn't explain how Waymo would generate revenue beyond saying he saw opportunities in ride sharing, transportation logistics and trucking, as well as licensing technology to other auto makers. And, while the unit will be expected to generate revenue before long, it is unlikely to face pressure to turn a profit at first.

Waymo has tested prototype vehicles that lack a steering wheel and brake pedals, and Mr. Krafcik said the company is lobbying regulators to allow cars without such controls. Meanwhile, he said Waymo likely would install its technology in conventional vehicles as federal rules require controls such as steering wheels. “We’re not in the business of making better cars, we’re in the business of making better drivers,” Mr. Krafcik said. Mr. Krafcik said the Waymo name stands for “a new way forward in mobility.” Waymo is Alphabet’s 12th business unit—alongside Google, home-automation firm Nest, venture funds GV and CapitalG, and others—each with its own effective CEO.

The unit claims extensive experience developing self-driving technology, including more than 2 million miles of testing on public roadways in the past eight years. At a press event Tuesday, Mr. Krafcik touted the company as the first to test a self-driving car on public roads without a human driver in the vehicle. Steve Mahan, a legally blind man from Morgan Hill, Calif., in October 2015 rode around Austin, Texas, in a Waymo car that lacked a steering wheel and brake pedals.

 Read more

32 other companies are working on driverless cars

Driverless Uber Cars in San Francisco & Pittsburgh

Uber self driving Volvo XC90

The rollout in San Francisco is another step by Uber to improve its driverless automobile technology, which the company soon hopes to put into cars beyond the XC90 and Ford Fusion. Uber is racing to get its self-driving technology out widely before its rivals, as many large tech competitors are trying to bring autonomous vehicles to consumers on a broad scale.

Uber has started offering its self-driving car service to passengers in San Francisco, making it the second place in the world where Uber offers autonomous vehicles for public use after Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania was the first. It also marks the debut of the XC90 self-driving car in September of 2015, a Volvo sport utility vehicle outfitted with lidar, a kind of radar based on laser beams; wireless technology; and seven different cameras. It was produced in collaboration with Uber’s Advanced Technologies Center, the company’s driverless tech division based in Pittsburgh.

Uber began offering self-driving car service in Pittsburgh this year. “The promise of self-driving is core to our mission of reliable transportation, everywhere for everyone,” Anthony Levandowski, Uber’s vice president of self-driving technology, said in a blog post. It is unclear if Uber is allowed to test its driverless vehicle technology within San Francisco.

As of Dec. 8, the company’s name was not listed on California’s Department of Motor Vehicles website as one that held a permit to test autonomous vehicles in the state. Other companies, including Google, Tesla and General Motors, all hold permits to test autonomous vehicles in California. “All of our vehicles are compliant with applicable federal and state laws,” an Uber spokeswoman said in a statement.

Uber is riding its self-driving cars into a legal showdown with California regulators. The ride-hailing company is refusing to obey demands by the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles that it immediately stop picking up San Francisco passengers in self-driving cars. Hours after Uber launched a self-driving service Wednesday morning with a handful of Volvo luxury SUVs, the DMV sent the company a letter saying the move was illegal because the cars did not have a special permit the department requires for putting autonomous vehicles on public roads. As of Wednesday night, the Volvos — distinctive in look with sensors protruding from their tops — were still roaming San Francisco’s streets.

The company did not respond to a request for comment about the state’s legal threat. “If Uber does not confirm immediately that it will stop its launch and seek a testing permit, DMV will initiate legal action,” DMV Chief Counsel Brian Soublet wrote the company. He referenced the possibility of taking Uber to court. California has issued permits to 20 companies for tests of autonomous vehicles on public roads, mostly traditional automakers and tech companies. Getting a permit for prototype testing is part of legal language negotiated between the state and industry, and DMV lawyer Soublet argued in an interview that the permit process helps maintain public confidence that the technology is safe. “Don’t start doing this stuff. Apply for the permit. Follow the rules,” Soublet said of Uber. To receive a permit, a company must show proof of insurance, pay a $150 fee and agree that a human driver can take control of the vehicle. Operating without a permit arguably gives Uber a competitive advantage. Companies with one must report to the state all crashes and every instance in which a person takes control during testing. All that information is public. Uber is sending another message to California: Other places want us if you don’t.
33 companies working on driverless cars
33 companies working on driverless cars

Alphabet, the parent of Google said it would spin off its self -driving research wing into a stand-alone company called Waymo.  Apple is in the midst of rethinking its automotive strategy.  Companies like Tesla and Lyft continue to work on self-driving software.

self driving car diagram
Driverless Car Diagram

Read more in the NY Times.

How Many Accidents Occur at Stop Sign Intersections?

stop sign and car crash

National statistics reveal that one-third of all intersection crashes in the United States occur at stop sign controlled intersections – approximately 700,000 crashes annually. And more than 40% of fatal crashes that take place each year happen at stop sign intersections.

  • Common reasons why people run stop signs include: 
  • Inattention 
  • Impatience 
  • Failure to come to a complete stop, referred to as a rolling stop
  • Obstructed view
  • Distracted driving
  • Speeding
  • Reckless driving
  • Driving under the influence.

Drones for Traffic Management

NASA & AT&T Developing Drones for Traffic Management

U.S. wireless operator AT&T announced it is teaming up with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to develop a traffic management system for drones. In a press release, AT&T said the goal of the collaboration is the creation of an Unmanned Aircraft System Traffic Management (UTM) solution that will support the safe and secure operation of drones in national airspace. “Working with NASA and others, we are designing the management system for a new frontier in aviation,” AT&T’s Vice President of Global Public Sector Solutions Mike Leff said. “Drones are already used in agriculture, public safety, construction, utilities, real estate, and TV. This research can help support the commercial and private use of drones nationwide.” AT&T said its roll in the project is to bring to the table expertise on networking, the Internet of Things (IoT), the cloud, identity management, and cybersecurity. The carrier said cybersecurity is a particular concern surrounding drones because easy access to the vehicles and their many potential uses could increase the risk of cyberattacks.  Read More

Are these cameras alternatives to the license plate reader cameras currently used on traffic lights?

Most Dangerous Intersections in California

Most dangerous intersections in Southern California

A new study shows the most dangerous intersections in California that have 10 or more accidents, injuries or fatalities.  based on motor vehicle collision data from 2015. There were 444 total intersections ranked from the 435,000 compiled collision records, according to the data by Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS).

In total, there were 7,294 crashes, 7,478 injuries and 57 fatalities. The average number of accidents per dangerous intersection was 16.43 and for injuries it was 16.84. The City of Sacramento had the second highest total number of dangerous intersections (13) trailing only Los Angeles (221), which is a noticeable difference.  Estey & Bomberger created the map and correlated the data.

We took the intersections and added them to our map of over 9,000 locations Nationwide.  Do a search for "California" and you will find these ranked locations.

Did Edison Workers Cause The Deadly 10 Freeway Bus Accident?

10 freeway bus crash wreckage

Of course the "Drive By Media" does not report that So Cal Edison & CHP might be partly to blame for the deadly bus accident.  It was dark when the crash happened at 5:15 am. The semi was going only about 5 mph in the second-from-right westbound lane; traffic had slowed because of a traffic break a mile or two ahead to allow Southern California Edison workers to pull wires across the 10 freeway.
"An Edison maintenance crew had slowed down traffic on Interstate 10 before the vehicles crashed just north of the desert resort town of Palm Springs, California Highway Patrol Border Division Chief Jim Abele said. The work had gone on for hours without problems, he said. CHP officers had been slowing traffic to allow Southern California Edison workers to string wires across the freeway, Abele said."
map of 10 freeway bus crash location
10 Freeway Accident Location After Curves
map of 10 freeway bus crash location
10 Freeway Deadly Bus Accident Location
As you can see the accident occurred near a curve on the 10 freeway.  Cars and trucks are often moving at 75-90+ MPH on this section of freeway.

Did the California Highway Patrol give proper warning to drivers westbound?

Did So Cal Edison properly warn drivers that they were stopping traffic miles ahead?

Were there warning signs placed on the freeway miles back to warn of the potential slow down?

I am curious if Waze was warning drivers at the time of the slow down on their app at 5am?

Seems to me that this could have been prevented and not a lot is being reported on the topic.

Dangerous Train Collision with Truck at Intersection

Train smashes into semi-truck stuck on railroad tracks

In Atwater, California a truck driver was nearly hit by the train after truck gets stuck on the tracks. An abc30insider captured the moment a train smashed through a truck in Atwater. The driver had just seconds to escape.

Waze Dangerous Intersection Warning

Waze Dangerous Intersection Warning

How many dangerous intersection warnings are you getting with Waze?  What has been your experience with this new feature they launched last year?  Would this feature be useful as a pedestrian walking across the street?  Presumably you are not playing Pokemon Go.

We are interested in talking with navigation companies that are interested in creating a similar warning feature.  We have collected almost 10,000 dangerous intersection locations and this information is valuable for car and pedestrian navigation safety. 

Should The Apple Self Driving Car Tell You Where The Dangerous Intersections Are?

small white 4 passenger electric car prototype
Apple Self Driving Car
Don't you think the Apple self driving car should know where the dangerous intersections are?  Waze already has a dangerous intersections warning on their app.  Google owns Waze and most certainly will integrate their dangerous intersection data into the driving experience of their self driving cars.  

This is Why LAX Traffic is Such a Mess!

satellite image showing Southwest construction wall causing traffic problems
Southwest Terminal 1 Construction & Drop-Off Bottleneck

Look at the satellite image picture above.  When is the last time you saw no traffic during the day when dropping off at LAX?   LAX drop-off traffic is a complete mess and has been ever since Southwest Airlines embarked on their new terminal 1 construction.  It now takes passengers up to 30 minutes just to get into the airport once you are nearby.  On several occasions it has taken me 20 to 30 minutes just to get from underneath the tunnel to the drop-off gate at terminal one.  It doesn't matter if it's noon in the middle of the work week or 4:30 am.  The delays of getting into the terminal are ridiculous and caused by a poorly designed construction plan.

The wall you see in red is consolidating traffic from 6 lanes down to 4.  Traffic merging and Southwest drop-off are causing the bottleneck that backs up for almost a mile outside of the airport. I have been flying out of the Southwest terminal for two decades and traffic never used to be this bad even during the busiest rush hour periods.  Cars used to be able to flow in and out of terminal 1 drop-off freely without a bottle neck.

United & Southwest traffic view of red and green at LAX
LAX Southwest Terminal Traffic Congestion

No police officer or traffic manager is capable of managing or correcting the flow after the light.  It doesn't take a genius to see that cars are getting stuck trying to drop off passenger because they now are forced to drive a few hundred yards further.

What is this wall protecting and why does it have to stick out and cut off 2 lanes of drop-off traffic?  The wall looks to be useless has caused hundreds of thousands of passengers to miss their flights who don't arrive 2 before their flight.  Can they simply remove it or push it back until the end of the construction project?

You can thank these companies for the $500M 4 year construction plan & ridiculous mess that looks to be with us until 2018:  AvAirPros, ODEMCO, PGAL and Hensel Phelps Construction Company.

AvAirPros, ODEMCO, PGAL, Hensel Phelps Construction
LAX Terminal One Construction Managers
It is obvious that nobody from any of these companies above did any traffic studies on the impact of cutting off 2 lanes from 6 down to 4 that feed into the terminals.  I am also surprised to see very little news coverage on the topic.  The news seems to attribute the problem to increased traffic volume of passengers but I know this is a completely false excuse.

Are any executives from LAX doing anything about the problem?

Have any other airlines thought about taking legal action against these companies or LAX for the miss-management?

Flying out of other regional airports is becoming a more viable option these days even though I live 10 minutes from the airport.  It now takes me just as long for me to get to John Wayne Airport (40 miles away) as it does to LAX (5 miles).

I would love to hear your comments below.  Please send this blog post to your friends, politicians and LAX officials.  Lets get this problem solved quickly.

Listening to the Republican National Convention speech about Donald Trump fixing an ice rink years  in a few months and millions of dollars cheaper than the Government inspired me to write this lengthy blog post.  My gut tells me this is just incompetence and not an oversight because nothing is being done to fix the obvious problem.  I think LAX is a prime example of bureaucracy getting into the way of fixing things quickly and efficiently.   Hopefully, this blog post will be read by the people in charge and take action.  

Bus Stops & Dangerous Pedestrian Intersections

blue and white bus stop sign
Bus Stops & Dangerous Pedestrian Intersections

It is not surprise that bus stops and dangerous pedestrian intersections are highly correlated. Dangerous Intersections have found while we have mapped over 8,000+ dangerous intersections in the last year that pedestrians are very vulnerable at these locations.  Drivers need to be more aware at bus stop locations for pedestrians cross the street.  We are looking to get these dangerous intersections near bus stops in our map.  

Dangerous Railroad Crossing With No Warning or Crossing Arms

Railroad & Road Intersection with no Crossing Arms
A dangerous intersection that has been the scene of several deaths in southwest Arkansas will finally see safety features added.  It only costs $350,000 to add a warning.  Why does it cost so much?  

Fatal Car Accidents at Intersections in Florida Heatmap

Heat Map of Fatal Accidents in Florida Reported by FARS
Florida Fatal Car Accidents Heatmap
Every year Florida leads the Nation with the most fatal car accidents at intersections.  Why is this?  Is it because of the older people driving and shouldn't be?  I would be curious if any studies have been done to analyze this fact.  Please post study links in the comments section.  This data was pulled from the FARS (Fatal Accident Reporting System).  

Fatal Car Accidents at Intersections Heatmap Reported to FARS

USA Heat Map of Fatal Car Accidents Reported by the Federal Accidents Reporting System (FARS)
Fatal Car Accidents at Intersections Heatmap Reported to Federal Accidents Reporting System (FARS) from 2010-2015

3D Crosswalk Street Paintings

mother and daughter walking across the street on 3D crosswalk
Do 3D crosswalks slow traffic down?

A mother-daughter artist duo has designed a simple but potentially effective solution to a major road safety problem.

Map of Cities With Bike Sharing Programs

Map of Cities With Active Bike Sharing Programs
USA Map Cities With Bike Sharing Programs
A growing number of Americans are trading in car keys for bike locks? According to a new report, as of February 2016, there were 46 bike-share systems operating in the USA, offering a total of 2,655 bike-share stations, with most in close proximity to transit stops. Last year, the National Association of City Transportation Officials released a study revealing that since 2010, bike-share systems have been introduced in over 30 U.S. cities and riders have taken over 36 million bike share trips. These bike-share stations are a critical link for commuters.  Read the full article

The 2 Largest Revenue Opportunities Of Connected Cars

Safety & Driver Assistance Are the Two Largest Revenue Categories of Connected Cars
Safety & Driver Assistance Are the Two Largest Revenue Categories of Connected Cars

Waze warns you about dangerous intersections in 5 big US cities

traffic jam in NYC showing gridlock
Waze Dangerous Intersection
Most navigation apps can get you from A to B while avoiding traffic snarls, but they rarely give you a feel for how risky the drive might be. Is that intersection a cake walk, or a death trap?

Waze thinks it can help. It's now alerting drivers in five big US cities (Boston, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Washington) when they approach intersections with historically high crash and injury rates -- get close to one of these danger zones and you'll get a reminder to drive carefully. This won't do anything to stop other drivers from ruining your day, but it should prepare you for the dangers ahead.  Read more

This comment below is particularly interesting to me . . .

Google Maps Show Obvious Dangerous Pedestrian Intersection

Wilson & Veitch & Claredon in Arlington, Virginia Dangerous Pedestrian Intersection
The Red Car Pictured Above Is Going The Wrong Direction 

We couldn't find any data to support this claim. However, someone that lives in the area tipped us off about this notoriously dangerous pedestrian intersection in ‪Arlington‬ , Virginia‬ shows red car going wrong way on ‪GoogleMaps‬.

Dangerous Train Intersections

Dangerous Train Intersections According to the Federal Railroad Administration
Search the map for #FRA

Polka-Dot Pedestrian Intersections

Austin's Polka-Dot Intersection Experiment

Dangerous Intersections

Map of United States Dangerous Intersections
Heat Map of Dangerous Intersections in the USA

Popular Articles