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PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2011 23:03 
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On paper, the family car appears to have what it takes to tackle our test with confidence. As with the hi-tech Mercedes and BMW, it features stability control, anti-lock brakes and emergency brake assist. Added to this impressive list are straight-line and cornering braking control, together with self-cleaning discs that are only slightly smaller than those on the larger models tested.
Is there any 'danger' that by improving stability control and the self cleaning brakes that if any part of these modern systems fail that all braking will be removed - I assume not but ... might it ?
Plus the danger of a driver hiring a car and forgetting that the braking systems are less efficient in the temporary car - when it matters !
This combination delivers excellent results in the straight line test. We managed to bring the Insignia to a halt from 70mph in 47 metres exactly – it was beaten only by the BMW X6. Better still, it felt very stable and secure, maintaining its composure on bumpy surfaces.
'Standard' all round disc brakes at 70mph is 52m or inc thinking distance 73.5m so that is 5m less which is impressive - or is it ? Makes me wonder what my car will do ! :) (80mph (all round discs) is 68.6m (braking) 92.6m inc thinking distance.
With such powerful brakes, it’s good to see that the Vauxhall warns following drivers of an emergency stop with flashing brake lights and automatic activation of its hazard lamps. Surprisingly, the Vauxhall failed to carry its strong performance through to the lane change test, where it took 74.0 metres to come to a standstill from 70mph.
The flashing feature does nothing if the following car is not paying attention and I fail to see the benefit. The following car if they have failed to leave a suitable gap will never stop in the same time, so how can the flashing possibly help ? It still only delivers the same message, that they are slowing / stopping so what is the point?
A toot would give the 'pay attention' signal equally as well to nearby motorists.

This is 57.4 per cent more than it required in the straight line test – the biggest percentage increase of all our contenders. It’s not all bad news, though, because the Insignia felt incredibly safe and secure during this extreme manoeuvre.
The only time in my experience that I have needed to steer away rapidly was once many years ago when out of the dark at the left most edge of my lane was a large truck tyre, I steered and had total control throughout. Now an old car (85), and it managed just fine, so will this new car with all of it's extra modern features really be worth all the extra money / effort to produce / provide any real worthy benefit ?
Can motorists cope to the sudden requirement to drive when so many features, make the driver so much more 'remote' anyway ?
Can any of it replace a driver who is simply and effectively paying attention ?

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 14, 2011 10:35 
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SafeSpeedv2 wrote:
On paper, the family car appears to have what it takes to tackle our test with confidence. As with the hi-tech Mercedes and BMW, it features stability control, anti-lock brakes and emergency brake assist. Added to this impressive list are straight-line and cornering braking control, together with self-cleaning discs that are only slightly smaller than those on the larger models tested.
Is there any 'danger' that by improving stability control and the self cleaning brakes that if any part of these modern systems fail that all braking will be removed - I assume not but ... might it ?


OT but:
No... unpowered for ABS/ESP systems will leave valves open/closed to revert to base brakes. Any fault condition resulting otherwise should be detected & mitigated for from the safety analysis, andlets face it these systems are about as mature as anything on a car these days.

Not until you go to electro-hydraulic systems do you end up with any normal decoupling of brake pedal & wheel cylinders, and even then what i've seen always has at the very least a push through to base brakes in case of failure.

SafeSpeedv2 wrote:
Can any of it replace a driver who is simply and effectively paying attention ?


In the case of the brake lights, clearly it caught my eye more than the others braking down the queue. True not much use for the guy 2 inches from his bumper but that's a different issue.
Now I know what it means, when following from a sensible distance I'd at least know to expect some serious decel rather than just brushing the pedal as drivers have to do alot when following so close. If following from a distance & not paying attention there's a chance I guess that the flashing might wake you up in time to react.

Obviously a "good" driver wouldnt be in the situation of having to brake sharply, but if they were caught unawares by something I doubt even a "good" driver could mentally & physically juggle emergency braking for obstruction in front, checking mirrors to gauge danger from behind and tooting horn to warn others. In my Roada training I was expected to always do a mirror check prior to any braking, not sure how feasible that is in an emergency situation by it's very nature.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 14, 2011 23:16 
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SafeSpeedv2 wrote:
Is there any 'danger' that by improving stability control and the self cleaning brakes that if any part of these modern systems fail that all braking will be removed - I assume not but ... might it ?

Ed's given a more thorough answer, but basically, "no". I'd trust a modern car with a failed ABS / ESC system any day, compared to the equivalent model of 30 years ago. They have quite a few fail-safes, and are engineered to a pretty high standard anyway, so you're unlikely to need any of them in the car's lifetime, let alone all of them! Mrs Mole's first car was an 850 Mini. It had what can only be described as a "rudimentary" braking system, but even that suffered a failure in such a way as to get the car well-sideways one day.

SafeSpeedv2 wrote:
Plus the danger of a driver hiring a car and forgetting that the braking systems are less efficient in the temporary car - when it matters !

Given that every car is slightly different, I think you could say that worked both ways though. The improved braking performance on this car would only (I think) make a really significant difference towards the end of a very high speed emergency stop. (In fact, being pedantic, one could argue only in the last 5m)!

SafeSpeedv2 wrote:
This combination delivers excellent results in the straight line test. We managed to bring the Insignia to a halt from 70mph in 47 metres exactly – it was beaten only by the BMW X6. Better still, it felt very stable and secure, maintaining its composure on bumpy surfaces.
'Standard' all round disc brakes at 70mph is 52m or inc thinking distance 73.5m so that is 5m less which is impressive - or is it ? Makes me wonder what my car will do ! :) (80mph (all round discs) is 68.6m (braking) 92.6m inc thinking distance.


Well fancy that eh?! Not the 75m that the Highway Code would have you believe then? :roll: Claire, where did your 52m come from?

SafeSpeedv2 wrote:
The flashing feature does nothing if the following car is not paying attention and I fail to see the benefit. The following car if they have failed to leave a suitable gap will never stop in the same time, so how can the flashing possibly help ? It still only delivers the same message, that they are slowing / stopping so what is the point?
A toot would give the 'pay attention' signal equally as well to nearby motorists.

As Ed has said, it won't do anything if you're not looking at it, and it won't do anything (quickly enough) if the following person is on your back bumper before you start. However, I find them (and /or hazards) quite useful on motorways when the traffic a long way ahead (whch is where I like to keep it!) stands collectively on its brakes. It definitely attracts more attention than a fixed light (whch is why people have used flashing lights for hundreds of years to attract attention, I guess)! Also, (though I've never been in this situation) if it's dark on the motorway (and maybe raining too), and in the distance I see a load of brake lights come on, I know there's trouble ahead. If I notice that one grou of them in particular are flashing, it suggests that those are the cars braking hardest - so that's the area I'd want to steer away from!

SafeSpeedv2 wrote:
This is 57.4 per cent more than it required in the straight line test – the biggest percentage increase of all our contenders. It’s not all bad news, though, because the Insignia felt incredibly safe and secure during this extreme manoeuvre.
The only time in my experience that I have needed to steer away rapidly was once many years ago when out of the dark at the left most edge of my lane was a large truck tyre, I steered and had total control throughout. Now an old car (85), and it managed just fine, so will this new car with all of it's extra modern features really be worth all the extra money / effort to produce / provide any real worthy benefit ?
Can motorists cope to the sudden requirement to drive when so many features, make the driver so much more 'remote' anyway ?
Can any of it replace a driver who is simply and effectively paying attention ?

No, they can't replace a competent and experienced driver paying attention...

...but assuming we're not dealing with a driver who ticks all those boxes, (and most of them, I guess, don't tick all those boxes all of the time), it doesn't half help a mediochre one!
There are some manoeuvres (the "Elk test" is typical) that even an experienced driver will struggle with. There are some type approval tests that you simply wouldn't even try in a car with no ABS / ESC / clever features, simply because the car just simply wouldn't manage them - pretty much regardless who was driving. I've yet to meet the driver who can control the braking on each wheel individually and independently, several times a second!


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 15, 2011 08:08 
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Educating car drivers! Hgv drivers now have to do a course called CPC, 5 days every 4 years at a cost of £400 which we have to pay ourselves!


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 15, 2011 08:38 
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I wouldn't have a problem with a requirement for periodic re-training of car drivers to be honest. That said, you still see some shocking HGV behaviour - mile after mile of motorway, sat on the limiter, 10' behind the truck in front...

...flashing brake lights wouldn't really make any difference there!


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 15, 2011 13:17 
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:welcome: PaulBB

Something that I have rarely heard about being taught is how to care about or to control the vehicles behind. Even simple controls like leave a bigger gap in front to allow for extra room and a watchful eye on the mirror or looking to act when vehicles show up to give the earliest warning to.
Education can be in many ways - constant reminders is how advertising reminds us about their products, regular mentions of saving money for that rainy day and so on all help (to various degrees) to relevance to our lives. Our motivations to try to preserve our cash or be cleaner etc appeals to our sense of judgement. It is in essence no different for motoring needs and motivations either.
Shown regularly how to behave correctly reminds everyone what is expected of them and also how to behave.
Older phrases like 'road hog' were liberally handed out to those that didn't behave properly or courteously. Courteous behaviour may often diffuse many mistake situations. There is far too much intolerance on the roads and a big infusion of good behaviour methods would be very helpful. People take time to learn and adopt better behaviours so the sooner the better. :)

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 21, 2011 18:38 
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Re-training of car drivers, now thats a good joke, LOL:)

Shocking HGV behaviour, try watching car and van drivers from where I'm sat, why do you think most accidents happen in the 3rd lane! because cars and vans can't wait to be there and then travel closer than a fag packet from each other!


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 21, 2011 23:47 
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Does that make it OK for HGVs to do the same then? :wink:

Yes, we've all seen the Muppets in Lane 3 trying to drive up each others' exhaust pipes (particularly German cars, it has to be said!) and we've all seen White Van Man "on a mission" trying to drive up anyone and everyone's exhaust, but I think if we're honest, we've also seen plenty of HGVs at it too! I've often wondered why. I've never driven anything more than 7.5 tons and even then, with a big deep windscren and no seat belt, I felt terrified! I can't begin to think how it must feel to have 30+ tons behind you, stuff-all crumple zone , no seat belt and be 10' off the back of the truck in front. Presumably you can't see very far ahead in that situation?


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 22, 2011 10:04 
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It's down to Professionalism, unless you have taken an advanced course, car drivers aren't professional drivers! I have motorcycle, car and class 1 licenses, I take pride in my profession as a HGV driver, I indicate to change lanes including on a motorway, I am limited to 54mph and yes I drive close to the vehicle in front usually because I am catching that vehicle up and will eventually overtake that vehicle whether it be a car, van bus or another truck.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 22, 2011 10:06 
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Mole wrote:
no seat belt and be 10' off the back of the truck in front. Presumably you can't see very far ahead in that situation?

I was an HGV driver for a number of years, not any more though, and I've never driven a truck of any description not fitted with a seat belt?

I do agree a lot of HGV's travel way to close together, I can't undertand why either, and yes it does limit forward visibility :?

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