We are driving to an auto show in NH. My son in law Larry is driving the car. We (Larry) just installed an app called Waze. Waze is a community based traffic and navigation App where drivers share real-time traffic and road information. Keep in mind that I am an old guy and I’m still fascinated by answering machines, and I have to say that I have no faith in GPS real time anything. This App comes with a female voice that speaks to you; her name is Samantha (honest). While we are driving down RTE. 93 at about 70 MPH, Samantha calmly says “there is an obstacle in the road”.
Let me summarize to this point. Samantha is warning me from an iPhone sitting in a cup holder in my car that there is something in the middle of the Northbound Lane on RT 93 in New Hampshire. Again let me repeat I’m 74 so my initial thought is “how in the f —k does this thing know there is an obstacle in the road”
And as I was thinking that Larry is easing his foot off the gas pedal slowing down to about 60 MPH. Larry has more faith in Samantha than I do. He calmly says there it is, and “it” happens to be a green trash barrel, bouncing towards us. Keep in mind that we are traveling around 60 MPH on RTE. 93 in a shit box Chevy Malibu. Without skipping a beat and with no change in the octave of his voice he flicks his wrist and drives around the trash barrel, while he is calmly discussing the virtues of Maze and my new friend Samantha.
Here is what I get out this experience Part One
The Waze app is outstanding. All along our hour long trip to NH it would report to us that there were cars on shoulder of the road, driving hazards, construction, and police activity. Larry mentions there are other Apps that do similar things. (More on that in an upcoming article)
Here is what I get out this experience Part Two
My conclusion is that the lane change exercise is the most valuable exercises in the VDI program, and that vehicle dynamics works – Since Larry had more faith in Samantha’s warning than I did, he slow down from an estimated 70 MPH to an estimate of 60 MPH. That simple act initiated by my new friend Samantha, made the difference between me sitting this evening writing this post and maybe not.
An explanation – by slowing the vehicle from 70 to 60 MPH he lowered the speed by approximately 14%, BUT when he turned the steering wheel to avoid the trash barrel the science of driving dictates that he had 28% less energy pushing on the center of gravity of the vehicle. That is 28% less energy that the vehicle would have to absorb in his emergency maneuver.