As the weather begins to warm up and there are more prime driving days, we are seeing an increase in event participation from both new and seasoned members. We are incredibly excited to continue our legendary rallies and events, and have new drivers join us on our adventures.
There always seems to be the same questions on what is required for a drive and what the general driving etiquette for our group is. In an effort to make getting out on drives with NEDE a bit easier as well as increasing the safety and fun for all drivers involved, this post will be all about the general rules we always follow on our drives.
· First and foremost: our drives are NOT a race. We abide by all local and state traffic laws during our drives. We don’t own the roads, and every effort needs to be made to ensure that local traffic can freely travel while we are driving as well.
· Walkie-talkies are required for all of our drives. We cannot understate just how important having effective communication is during a drive. Hands free and cell-service independent communication helps keep the group together and avoid hazards in the road, as well as coordinate arrival and departure from meet points and check points on our routes. For more information on walkie talkies and cruise communication, please see our blog post here https://www.newenglanddriving.club/post/cruise-communication
· On larger drives, you may be separated into run groups with a designated lead car. Please stay with your group and do not pass fellow drivers or the lead driver of the group. The groups ensure that casual rallies do not become sprints to the front, and allow participants to remain together on more technical sections of road such as intersections and traffic circles.
· On open sections of roadway such as multi-lane highway, stay in line with the cars in front of and behind you. We know everyone loves to be at the front, but the drives are about the journey, not getting to the destination first. Racing to the front can cause dangerous situations and split up the effective run groups.
· While driving, please pass radio messages back through the group until the last car in the procession confirms that they have received the message. As we cover in the Cruise Communication blog post, radio transmission range is in actuality quite a bit lower than you would expect. Communicating messages through the group is essential for a successful drive.
· Another major issue we sometimes see on drives is the accordion effect. This effect is an exponentially increasing acceleration and deceleration caused by small speed deviations at the front of the group. A 2 MPH decrease in speed in a group that spans nearly 2 miles of road can mean going from road speed to stopped every minute. What we have found to be effective is please be easy on the gas and brakes while driving. Drive as if your grandparents were in the car. Would they want to be jerked back and forth trying to accelerate hard then brake hard? Keeping the group tight and keeping the foot off the brake as much as possible alleviates this problem in conjunction with effective communication of driving conditions over the radio. When the front of the group calls out slowing or braking, it is to inform the back of the group to start braking before they even see brake lights, allowing the entire group to come to a stop smoothly at the same time.
· Managing the accordion effect has repercussions in and of itself. One of the goals of the group leaders during a drive is to keep the line of drivers tight and neat. We try to minimize the gap between cars so that the wild local drivers we all know are out there do not decide they just have to be in the same lane as us for nearly no logical reason, and then proceed to jam on the brakes anyway. Please maintain a short distance between the car in front of you, adjusting that distance based on the safety of the road conditions and travel speed.
Obviously one car length on a slow back road is significantly different than one car length on a curvy highway. In addition to maintaining the integrity of the group, keeping the spacing tight and consistent assists in reducing the accordion effect we have been harping about so much.
Hopefully this provides a bit of a baseline for new drivers to follow on our drives. Our goal is to promote enthusiastic driving, driver education, and doing so in a safe and respectful manner. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to the NEDE admin team.
Thank you all so much, and we hope to see you soon!