Category Archives: Transportation

Driving on the Autobahn

An excellent summary and explanation of driving rules and regulations on the German Autobahn (found here).

Optimal Packing for Travel

On I read about a truly interesting website, solely dedicated to the Optimality of packing lightly for travel: Continue reading

Tinted Windows – The Inside Perspective

I wrote in the past about my dislike for tinted windows. So far I only had the perspective of another driver. Tinted windows don’t allow me to look through the rear of windows of cars driving in front of me, thus preventing me from observing the traffic ahead which can give you additional warning and therefore more time to react, i.e., tinted windows make the road less safe for other drivers.

In the past I argued that they also make it less safe for drivers of such vehicles, but I was only speculating about that.

No more, I had the pleasure of a Jeep Grand Cherokee rental car for the last week and drove it at night several times.

All windows except the driver, passenger, and front are tinted. And not even as dark as some cars you see on the road these days.

Rear vision at night on the street is noticeably impaired. Looking over my shoulder when changing lanes on the highway all I see is black. And trying to backup in a dark parking lot I might as well close my eyes, I’d see not much less.

I cannot imagine what it would be like to have my side windows tinted. I cannot understand why this is legal. Now having driven myself with tinted windows I am shocked that lawmakes allow such a gross impairment to everybody’s road safety.

Why doesn’t Volkswagen offer more Fuel Efficient Cars in the US?

Comparing the German and US offerings of Volkswagen is very frustrating. I’d imagine most people in the US won’t know (since they don’t speak German) and thus happily buy their 2.5 liter/170 HP Jetta with EPA estimated mileage of 24 MGP (9.8 liters/100km).

In Germany, this is not even an option, because the engine is weigh oversized for that kind of car. In Germany, you can buy this car with a choice of NINE different engine configurations for the entry level model (Catalog, Technical Data, Price List, all in German) . In the US you get ONE. But this isn’t the worst part. Why doesn’t Volkswagen offer at least a fuel efficient engine in the US market?

For instance, the 1.6 liter, 5 gear manual transmission with has 102 horse power and an estimated mileage of 31 MPG. This would be a good alternative for folks that like to have a fuel efficient Volkswagen and don’t want to wait for the Diesel version which is scheduled to come out later this year.

Vastly Increased Google Street View Coverage

Since it was first introduced, Google Street View has now a significantly increased area of coverage. Check for yourself here.

Little Known facts About On-Ramps

The final straight section of on-ramps, just where or before where you merge with traffic on the highway is also known as the acceleration lane. You can read more about it here at the Federal Highway Administration Website. Continue reading

Saving on Washer Fluid

It’s winter again, we’ve had out first two snow storms, so it’s the time of year when I use plenty of washer fluid. To my dismay, prices have gone up quite a bit recently. Last year I was able to buy a gallon for about 95 cents, this year, the cheapest I can find is $1.4 and many other places over $2.. Not much you might say, but when there’s a lot of salt and dirt on the road, I can run through a whole gallon is less than two weeks. That adds up quickly. What to do? Continue reading

Even Easier Driving Directions: Just Right Click the Map

When computing driving direction all you need is right clicks, keyboard not required. Simply right click on the map and select “Directions to here” or “Directions from here”, then point to your destination/origin and repeat. That’s it.

Left Turns Cost Time and Gas

This short NYT article points out a nice piece of optimization at work to save money and at the same be more environmentally friendly. Well done!

Future Traffic – Dark Times

I just have to write another update on my tinted window posts. In the past I talked about SUVs/Pickups/Minivans as well as certain kinds of passenger cars (either luxury limousines or souped-up ghetto cars). Unfortunately, I now find that this is not true any more either. I see more and more “normal” cars with tinted windows, and not only rear windows and rear side windows, frequently even FRONT SIDE windows; on all sorts of conventional passenger cars. Continue reading