City driving

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Steve Jelf
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City driving

Post by Steve Jelf » Mon Jul 22, 2019 10:22 am

Some folks are afraid to drive a Model T in city traffic. To me it's the bramble patch and I'm Brer Rabbit. Born and raised in southern California traffic, I sometimes find it annoying but it doesn't scare me. Of course I stay off interstates and other high speed roads, just as I do in the country. Most city streets have T-friendly speed limits. While Model T brakes are less efficient than modern ones, I found them quite adequate for my passage through Chicago last year. Much of the driving was stop-and-go, and I never came close to colliding with cars in front of me. I did tire of the excessive stop-and-go, and if I go though the Third City again I'll choose a different route. The only traffic hazard I encountered was the giant pothole that stalled my engine. :)
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Greg Griffin
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Re: City driving

Post by Greg Griffin » Mon Jul 22, 2019 5:55 pm

I agree with you about city traffic. The thing that scares me is a winding mountain road that the locals know by heart (read: 50+ mph uphill without looking) while I'm hiding just around the next bend in the road doing 23 mph, thank you. In the mountains, I seek the roads that are the long way around (fewer locals), or at least generally straighter so they see me. This may only be an issue if your mountains are too accessible to major population centers (and all that goes with that), as around southern California.

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Re: City driving

Post by BuddyTheRoadster » Mon Jul 22, 2019 8:54 pm

Agreed. The last long drive I took on my T was the Holiday Motor Excursion in Pasadena CA. Since I was up in the city, I drove through Pasadena, to LA, to Santa Monica to show my car to an old friend. It was fine in rush hour surface traffic.

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Re: City driving

Post by SurfCityGene » Mon Jul 22, 2019 11:21 pm

You both know I prefer the freeways here in SoCal most of the time. Here's Why:

No cross traffic, No signal lights to turn from Yellow to Red, No soccer Moms to cut in front of you to stop in a McD's, Many times our freeway speeds are below 30! Of course I like driving my car with the Warford O/D closer to 55.
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Re: City driving

Post by Jugster » Tue Jul 23, 2019 12:30 am

Maybe I'm just getting old. Today, while driving my modern car, some knucklehead in firm disagreement with the 30 mph speed limit zoomed up to my posterior and continued to ride about three feet away from my bumper; this, apparently, to intimidate me into driving faster or, as the case turned out, to get me to pull over and let him continue to drive at a very fast pace through a residential neighborhoods and school zones. There was a time when I was young and full of vinegar and wasn't afraid to exit my car and get up close and personal with such morons, but regardless of whether that was ever a good idea, I don't do it anymore.

Not all raised pickup-truck and SUV drivers are of the hat-backwards knucklehead variety, but one cannot help but notice how, quite often, when such individuals delight in creating traffic hazards, those two models seem to be the vehicles of choice. I've learned what trouble looks like and so, avoid it.

In my Model T, I'm not afraid of traffic-jamming, per se, but aware as I am of my Flivver's inability to accelerate swiftly, maneuver sharply or brake hard, my head is always on a swivel and I'm always trying to anticipate dicey situations, spot knucklehead drivers and just generally maintain a red-alert state of situational awareness. It does help a great deal that with almost a decade of Tin Lizzie time in my logbook, the actual operation of the car has become second nature and my hands and feet just do what needs to be done without my thinking about it. If you can do that—great. If not, you probably shouldn't be traffic-jamming in your Model T just yet.

My Ford doesn't have a Ruckstell and so, steep hills are a real problem, particularly where a lot of traffic is involved. The only real solution to that is to pre-plan my route around such obstacles and take the long way. The other challenge is traffic lights. I've learned not to approach a green light faster than 30 mph because if it turns yellow, I won't have the acceleration to blast through before it turns red, nor the braking ability to come to a halt without resorting to a wheel-locking panic stop. No doubt, following drivers wonder why the heck it is my habit to slow down for green lights.

Generally speaking, other drivers have been patient with my Flivver's languid pace. Quite often, when I pull over to let a line of cars go by, they'll also pull over because they'd rather watch the show than pass it by. I've gotten a lot of thumbs-up and waves and smiles, but so far, no middle finger salutes. Unlike a motorcycle, my brass T sticks out like the proverbial sore thumb and the drivers around me are generally aware of my presence. Three brake lights and turn signals in all four corners keep them apprised of what it is I'm going to do. My raucously loud ahooga horn is also a big help in traffic.

It has happened twice at car shows that the weather turned sour and we had to drive home in the rain. Brother, that is some singular kind of unpleasantness. Every time a truck zoomed past us, our Touring got puddle-splashed and swamped though the open side. Even with the top up, we arrived home soaked to the skin, cold as a witch's heart and quite miserable. I sure don't recommend traffic-jamming in bad weather.
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Re: City driving

Post by TWrenn » Wed Jul 24, 2019 10:00 am

Problem is, today the roads are just plain full of idiots who don't give a s--t about anyone but themselves. The last two years I've had more people pass me and my T on a double yellow line in some very precarious locations than in the last 6 years combined. Now it's even happening when I'm in my MODERN vehicle, doing the posted speed limit! No one gives a damn. We need "open season" once a month on these jackasses and that will take care of it.

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Re: City driving

Post by RustyFords » Wed Jul 24, 2019 10:12 am

A big part of the problem is that today's cars are so amazingly good at stopping, accelerating and steering that anyone, including a complete novice, gets the impression that they're Mario Andretti and they don't understand that something like a Model T simply can't function in a similar manner.
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Rich Bingham
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Re: City driving

Post by Rich Bingham » Wed Jul 24, 2019 10:27 am

A while back there was a cartoon captioned "Amish Road Rage".
I wonder what "Model T Road Rage" would look like ? :lol:

Around here, it helps there are so many 4-wheelers and ATVs used by farm workers on the county roads. Drivers seem more aware of smaller, slower vehicles. I keep the top up on Lizzie because the larger profile helps other drivers see me more easily. I'm leery of using the highways, and plan my routes around "problem areas". There have always been knuckleheaded dangerous drivers - there's just a whole lot more of them now, going a whole lot faster ! :o
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Norman Kling
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Re: City driving

Post by Norman Kling » Wed Jul 24, 2019 10:51 am

I live in Southern California, so am used to city driving. Stop and go driving is not a problem to me because those in front of me are usually faster and so they leave me stopping distance. Also my brakes work pretty well at a slow speed.
My biggest fear is on the highway out of town. I try not to use freeways if I can avoid them, however, the frontage roads and 2 lane roads usually have a 55 mph speed limit and the modern cars like to violate it. And even if they go 55 they are going faster than the T can comfortably travel. Anyway, I avoid driving after dark as much as possible. I will drive in town for a short distance in well lit areas such as going from a hotel to restaurant nearby. But not on the dark roads after dark.

One place I don't particularly like is going up a hill in high gear and the cars behind me want to pass. Two potential problems here. One is when I find a pull over lane for slow moving vehicles, the person passing me slows down to take my picture or ask a question. Then when I come to the end of the pull over lane, I have to stop. The other is using turnouts to stop to let cars pass me. If I do this, then I can't get back into high gear till the top of the hill and am going even slower so the next cars behind me are even more irked. My usual conduct is to wait until I get to the top and then pull over and let as many cars as possible pass me until the road is clear. Of course, on long hills like a mile or several miles this might be too long and I have to stop along the way. Anyway, I do have Ruckstell so can usually get at least into Ruckstel low/Ford high when I pull back into the road.

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