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Model A fatal accident


Dave Mellor NJ
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Tragic indeed. It is a shame we have to get this news periodically.

Whoever reported this story also, unfortunately showed their bias. "Troopers report it is legal to drive antique cars like this on the highway" What about "Troopers reported the accident is under investigation" or, "The driver of the minivan has been charged with XXX" Blaming the party in the antique car is all to common in these stories. Imagine if it was (God forbid, just making a point here) a bunch of bycicle riders - a constant nusiance where I live, often riding two and three abreast on busy roads, illegal in CT but a "politically correct" activity that is usually left to do as they will! :(

Does ANYONE ever follow up with the news agency on these reports? SEMA, AACA, etc.? Maybe a waste of time but there is that squeaky wheel thing...

Edited by Steve_Mack_CT (see edit history)
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Driving 40 MPH on I-90 in any car let alone a Model A would probably result in an accident. Unfortunately driving an antique vehicle on an interstate has become extremely dangerous regardless if you are traveling the speed limit or above.

Driving home at 60 MPH after Saturday’s car show in Hershey my 55 was almost rear ended by a young idiot in a newer hopped up Mustang.

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It is a very sad story and a preventable accident. The only way I would drive a Model A on the interstates around Washington DC where I live, would be towing it on a trailer. Face it folks, these cars were not designed to drive at speeds over 50 MPH and to think everyone else will look out for you is unrealistic. When I am out in my car, which is quite capable of keeping up with traffic, I do my best to blend in with the traffic but give myself extra room to stop. Even then I see other drivers doing things that would curl any sane persons hair. I think some drivers are so used to playing video games that they think I-495 is one big video game.

I would like to see AACA encourage people to drive their cars only on roads they are capable of navigating safely. A 35 MPH speed differential between old and modern cars on any road is an accident waiting to happen. If you can't keep up with traffic safely then you would do well to choose another road.

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I almost ran into a guy in a '49 Buick Super who didn't seem to be able to get it past 45 or so, I'd followed him a bit and passed him on a 2-lane state road, then he must have got on the interstate the exit before I did because I come flying up on him again after I got on - and I'm barely doing the posted 65 myself. Had the cat along in the car, but afraid to push it to speeds I know the car was more than capable of doing. Which is fine, but if you can't make at least 55 you don't belong on an interstate. No one expects to come up on a car going that slow. And people will commonly do as much as 80 in a 65.

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Well, I guess I am mixed here. Owned an "A" for years and never drove on the highways with it because I concur those cars are not designed for that, even with OD you still do not have the handling and breaking of a car only a few years newer. There are some areas I still avoid in my Packard that is capable of 70 mph, although I am much more comfortable around 55 - 60.

That said, in CT minimum speed on the highway is 40, max is usually 65 by law. I have never found myself in a situation where I have nearly rear ended any slower vehicle ahead of me, as it is the follower's responsibility to follow at a safe distance or pass.

Many will remember the tragic Duesenberg accident a few years ago, where the papers were more interested in how safe it was to have people in the old car that had the right of way vs. the idiot, repeat offender who ran the light and caused the accident. That was really my point, yes, highways may not be best for a very early car, but this is a bigger issue than that. The issue is that the perception of who "belongs" on the roads is changing.

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For those of us trying to cut back on gas costs the speed differential can also be an issue. The 2002 Ford Ranger I drive gets immensely better gas mileage at 50-55 (50 the best) mph than at 65 or above. Goes from about 23-24 mpg to 33-35 mpg. Sometimes I get up 10 minutes or so earlier for work, will go this speed. It is risky, but early in the morning the I-81 commute doesn't have too much traffic. In the evening--a different story. Dense traffic doing 70-80 or more mph.

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i taught a defensive driver class for many years. the attitude is that whatever the speed limit is add 10 mph and evrybody else better do that too or get out of MY way. speeding is a problem, but add a lack of patience and no common sense and that is a formula for fatal accidents. i drive 55 to 60 with my old car, and even on a road with a 55 mph speed limit i get passed all the time. then they turn off a mile down the road. no common sense. the person following always has the duty to not hit the car in front. 100% liability if they do. doing 45 on a 65 mph interstae is perfectly legal and others need to wait until it is safe to pass. in the meantime, enjoy the old car and remember you will not be behind it forever. i could give quite a lecture on this topic as it is one that bothers me alot. however, i do realize that we should understand the attitudes out there and drive accordingly when possible. but bear in mind that the roads were built with taxpayer money for all to use in whatever legal way they choose. ok, i will stop now and go drive my 54 chrysler in a slow lesiurely manner down the road. capt den

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Well said, Skyler. I was in a traffic flow over the weekend, doing the same rate as eveyone else, we come to a two lane merge, in town type traffic, with no cars in the left lane, & maybe 150 feet of space to merge. A person behind me then decides to try to pass?! Well, she backed off and less than 1/4 mile down the road she turned off to a side street. Probably cursing that old car that was holding up her progress..

I try to drive as deffensively as possible (modern or antique) and always look to give people an opportunity to pass, etc. I rarely have a problem with the Packard but in the "A" it was difficult, people give you no quarter I think in part due to a lack of understanding of the design of the car, and in part due to lack of common courtesy or understanding of the law.

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I used to drive my 51 Cadillac at what ever speed the rest of the flow was going. I had no trouble keeping up or for that matter pass any slow pokes that got in my way. I gave myself a little extra room for stopping but the stock brake system was adequate in most situations.

The car was not much different from the cars I grew up driving, even better than the first car I drove. It all boils down to the experience you have driving what ever cars you drive.

The newer cars on the roads these days have dumbed down current drivers. People have gotten used cars doing everything for them and it doesn't take much skill any more to drive. Overall a lot of people have just plain forgotten how to drive.

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Guest Steve Hughes

I concur with most of what has been said. However, those of you from those metropolitan areas need to understand that there are areas in Montana, Wyoming, etc. where the Interstate is the ONLY road to get from one point to the other. The original 2 lane highway was replaced by the Interstate and not just supplementing it. Also the amount of traffic in those areas, although still high, is nothing like it is in those east or west coast areas.

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Guest Bob Call

I was rear ended on I-44 about 4 years ago. Traffic was fairly heavy with cars and trucks in all 3 lanes and moving at the posted legal limit. Ahead of me an 18 wheeler lost a tire tread from one of the recapped trailer tires. The car in from of me slowed a little to manuver around the big pile of rubber and so did I to maintain a safe distance from the car in front of me. A lady behind me didn't slow at all and rear ended me and totaled my car. SHE WAS TALKING ON HER CELL PHONE WHILE DRIVING AND DIDN'T NOTICE TRAFFIC IN FRONT OF HER SLOWING. I suspect that a lot of accidents are a result of distractions like cell phones and eyepads (note how I swerved around using a registered trademark name).

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Tragic, and it's definitely the driver's fault who hit from behind (number one job while driving, both from a legal and common sense standpoint, is don't hit what's in front of you), but from a defensive driving standpoint, no way would I drive 40 to 45 on an Interstate.

Remember, it takes half a brain to drive, and half a brain to talk on a cell phone. It's when people use the same half to do both (or maybe that's all that's there) that trouble occurs.....

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A friend driving home to Ohio from New York recently in his Studebaker Champ driving 65 on the interstate was rear ended. At times it doesn't matter how fast or slow you are driving too many drivers out there who don't pay attention.

I've been rear ended numerous times when at a complete stop with a line of stopped cars ahead of me. Last time was at Hershey and our car was totaled by a Dodge Ram driven by a driver that just wasn't paying attention.

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Guest windjamer

:mad:I dont think its possable to improve on Skylars post, but I still want to add my 2 cents. No,I dont want to drive a model a on a major highway,BUT the owner of that A has just as much right on ANY public road as the Im in a hurry get the he** out of my way speed demon so long as he can maintain the posted min. Speed. Lots of large trucks with a heavy load slow to 40mph or less on a steep upgrade,should we ban them? A drunk driver causes the death of anouther he should go to jail. A speeder/reckless driver causes a death he should also go to jail and the guy that hit this Model A has no excause,he needs to get three hots and a cot from the state for a few years. On the way home from New Bern last year my nephews truck quit on the highway. (interstate,70mph posted) I got all wheels of the road and on the shoulder and then walked back at least 150 yds. I placed a flair on the edge of the road and walked foward about 50 yds where I placed a second flair IN the lane. walked foward some more and put a flair near the center of the lane. About 50 yds from my truck I placed 1 more flair smack in the middle of the lane, so help me THEY RAN OVER ALL MY FLAIRS :eek: and blew by at about 90.:eek:. SOME just SOME folks have a me first and get out of my way attatude and they NEED an ajustment. My prayers to the family of the A

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Guest Dave Boyer

I also think it has something to do with "tailights" Older cars have small ones, not as bright, and no 3rd light. Whenever I drive my Maverick, it always seems like people come up on me pretty quick, it's not like they can't see the car, but I think they looking for the bright red light....?? drives me nuts.

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Guest DagoRed

My condolences to the family of the deceased.

Most of the problems I see today, after 40 years on the road now, seem to be caused by distracted drivers. Here is todays observations after driving a 90 mile round trip on a 3 lane Interstate:

  • 18 wheelers - 3 abreast - passing (on a hill!)
  • One 18 wheeler just jerked out from the middle lane to the left lane w/o signaling and nearly caused a wreck (trucks not allowed in the 3rd lane in these parts, or so say the signs...)
  • Roughly one in 5 drivers has a cell phone attached to his or her face
  • Some drivers are looking down at their lap (texting...??)
  • Two fools from FL chasing each other at a high rate of speed (90-100 ..?) behind over-tinted windows (illegal in these parts, or so they say ... )

In Europe (Germany, Scandanavia), driving is treated as privilege, not a right. This country needs to wake up and smell the coffee before we all lose someone we know and love to these people on the road that should not be behind the wheel.

Driving up on ones stern and hitting that vehicle is not called an accident - it is called carelessness/recklessness. I prefer to call it negligence. Until it is called what it is and drivers get away with such abhorrent driving, we all drive in peril.

We all can't wrap ourselves in Volvo's and carry Rosary beads for every trip on America's byways....

Edited by DagoRed (see edit history)
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I also think it has something to do with "tailights" Older cars have small ones, not as bright, and no 3rd light. Whenever I drive my Maverick, it always seems like people come up on me pretty quick, it's not like they can't see the car, but I think they looking for the bright red light....?? drives me nuts.

The news article does not mention weather, so there could be restricted visibility not mentioned. But it did say that the accident occurred at 3PM, so I assume lighting or lack there of was not an issue in this case.

I don't know anything about this sad situation other than what was in the article but I do know that I would not consider driving on any freeway in my area at 40 MPH.

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Two fools from FL chasing each other at a high rate of speed (90-100 ..?) behind over-tinted windows (illegal in these parts, or so they say ... )

This is a game that these guys play. I was once passed on I-81, I was in the right lane on an overpass, and the two guys passed on the right between me and the guardrail. I was at 70, they had to be at 100 or more, with inches to spare. Had I had, in my possession and ready to fire, a heat seaking rocket, I'd be in jail now, my malice was palpable.....

I've seen others do it. If you notice, it'll usually be a pair of small, foreign, four door sedan, with a wing on the back and huge exhaust pipe. There's probably a name for it.

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it's a game that is played, and I'm sure the idiots that play it have a name, cat and mouse or something.....but as is oft said, they're from the shallow end of the gene pool, the trick is not to have them take you with them when they leave the pool...

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Guest Skyking

The first thing they teach you in "Driver's Ed" is .........1 car length for every 10mph..... while driving. Try doing that on any road in America.......

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Well, you can do the car length thing, but the only thing it'll get you is a car cutting in front of you, so you do the car length thing, and another car cuts in front of you, and so forth.

I've told my son, on the Interstate, watch me control this other driver. I'll speed up in the left hand lane, and he'll speed up in the right hand lane. I'll get behind him, he'll go to the left hand lane, I'll pull up even, he'll speed up. I'll get in the right lane, in front of him, slow down slightly, he'll pull out in the left hand lane to pass, which is all kosher...but then I just keep speeding up, and so will he....full control, and he doesn't even realize it...

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A few years ago, a family friend took us out in his 1909 Model T. We rode on residential streets for the most part but to get back, we had to go out on a 45 mph 4 lane road that most people travel 50-55. I was plenty nervous going 25 on that road even for a short distance.

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To enjoy life in the slow lane, I find that a rural area with a lot of country roads is a great advantage. I was raised in L.A. County, so traffic doesn't bother me when I'm driving a modern car made after 1930. But when I'm driving a T I count it a blessing to be here in Podunk. There are incompetent drivers to watch out for here too, but a lot fewer of them.

post-79505-143138692557_thumb.jpg

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I, too, live out in the country and drive such roads. They're all two lane roads and if you're not driving at least the speed limit, there are idiots that will ride your bumper to no end. They'll also try passing passing you even if it's not entirely safe to do so practically running you off the road in the process. The other thing that happens frequently you'll get idiots making left turns almost right in front of you. I hit one not too long ago but luckily no one got hurt and fortunately the driver admitted fault. I used to live in L.A. County too, but I swear I've had more near misses and accidents here than I ever did there.

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Guest Cadillac Country Club

I see a lot of younger drivers lately moving from the middle lanes to the right lane to pass. I totally agree with the statement above that some kids nowadays think it is a huge video game. When they do this and a slower moving car is in the way it doesn't work.

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Dick

I didn't intend to sound like I was making an excuse for the minivan driver, I just wanted to state that the sun was probably a contributing factor.

I know that in the northern hemisphere after the fall equinox the farther north you go the earlier the sun sets. But Montana must be a lot further north than where I live if the sun in the west at 3 PM this time of year was a factor. While west bound last night at 5:15 PM the sun was still high enough that is was not a factor in seeing things.

Edit:

Sorry the above seems so strong.

My feelings are mixed: It seems the Model A driver had every legal right to be where they were and there was no information, or at least no information available to me, that indicated that an environmental reason made the Model A hard to see.

But I know that accidents can be caused by large differences in speed. So part of my defensive driving is avoiding as best possible roads that my old car can not go near the prevailing speeds. For example, I will go up and down US-101 where most of it is posted at 65 MPH and I can maintain 60 MPH. But I avoid I-5 with its posted 70 MPH speed and a lot of traffic goes at 75 MPH.

Edited by ply33 (see edit history)
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This is obviously a very sad situation. From the limited information available, it is obvious that the minivan is "at fault" in this traffic crash. With that said, there are multiple factors that constitute "contributing factors" in most, if not all, traffic crashes. Among these are, weather, visibility, driver condition, vehicle condition, driver distraction, and many others. The investigating agency will probably do an accident reconstruction, which is an analysis of the factors involved in the traffic crash. The results of a reconstruction will probably not make the news. While I also don't like the way the writer chose to write the story that we have seen, I am not going to lose too much sleep over it. A lot of people tend to jump in and jump to conclusions about what causes these types of crashes. I am not going to try to defend the at fault driver, nor am I going to try to condemn the driver. I will just state that there are many different things that can contribute to these types of crashes. Instead of immediately accusing the driver of being on a phone or texting, I will just point out that a lot of folks were accused of this type of behavior before it was determined that there were uncontrollable acceleration issues caused by defects in their cars.

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That's true, Matt, but in many cases the "uncontrollable acceleration" was caused by the foot being on the wrong pedal. Also, even in such a case of true accelerator malfunction, on the highway the option is simple, turn the key off. The first off position in most cars doesn't lock the steering wheel, but even if it did, I'd rather have a car I can't steer but stop, than a car I can steer and can't stop.

I 100% agree it's the minivan driver at fault, and the Model A driver had a "right" to be on the highway.

However, common sense tells us that doing 40 on an Interstate is dangerous. I have a "right" to go to the worst part of town, find the baddest guy there, and call him an a*****e, but common sense tells me that really isn't a good plan.....

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However, common sense tells us that doing 40 on an Interstate is dangerous. I have a "right" to go to the worst part of town, find the baddest guy there, and call him an a*****e, but common sense tells me that really isn't a good plan.....

This about sums it up!

Having been rear ended in a modern car 3 times in the past 4 years while driving to work on the interstate, one realizes driving as we knew it will never be the same.

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This about sums it up!

Having been rear ended in a modern car 3 times in the past 4 years while driving to work on the interstate, one realizes driving as we knew it will never be the same.

Yep, my grandfather used to run along the side of the road just to the right of the outside lane marker. He said that if anyone hit him it would be their fault. We told him we would put that on his tombstone. Drivers are distracted and drive very poorly these days. You've got to be on your game. When the light changes to green at a stop light I don't enter the intersection until I can get a visual on cars approaching from the other directions. Every time I go to touch the brake I look in my rear view mirror. I always look into the other cars to see if I can see the driver's eyes. It may be their fault if they are not paying attention but I don't want to be in an accident. Yes, this is exhausting and I hate it, but someone has to pay attention.

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