Barton Springs Road

Barton Springs Road is a thoroughfare that runs through Zilker Park. On very nice days, everyone and their dogs can be found at Zilker Park. Unfortunately, everyone is driving there due to the poor public transit which means Barton Springs Road is a major fustercluck, especially at Stratford Drive which branches off into several parking areas. If you’re trying to make a left turn out of the park at Stratford Drive onto Barton Springs Road, good luck to you! You’ll have to deal with those super-cautious and afraid-to-drive motorists who shouldn’t be driving that will block traffic for twenty minutes because their Prius isn’t powerful enough to play Frogger! If you give up, make a U-turn, and try and go around MoPac on Stratford you’ll just end up lost in the hills because it doesn’t go around MoPac at all. Barton Springs Road would really benefit from having roundabouts installed in Zilker Park since there’s so much traffic coming and going at a constant rate.

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Turn on your lights in bad weather

Use your lights

Use your lights

Since people aren’t turning on their lights at night, they also don’t turn on their lights in inclement weather. A neutral colored car in the fog or pouring rain is going to blend right in. Maybe if the car was a wild color such as ruby red or emerald green then it’d probably stand out. But using your headlights when it’s foggy, raining, or snowing makes you more visible to other motorists. Yeah, turn on the lights manually so the taillights are lit, too. I’ve come into some close encounters with some of these morons that aren’t turning on their lights. Automatic headlights should be a standard feature since it’s starting to become common in most cars. Since the lights are computer controlled, it can also be turned on with the wipers. Brilliant! Until then, flash your lights at these motorists that aren’t using common sense.


The Volvo You Know

Volvo’s new ad campaign for the S60 features a comparison with the classic 240 as shown in the clips below.


I like the ad, but the S60 just doesn’t compare to the 240. The 240 is a classic because it’s a simple, stoic sedan. The S60 is a sexy-looking computer on wheels. The two cars are on opposite sides of the spectrum which appeals to two different types of people. The ones that are attracted to the 240 aren’t going to be cross shopping with the S60 and vice versa because there are different ideals with the two demographics. The 240 has an audience that values modestly-priced solid transportation while the S60 has an audience that values safety at any cost. The S60 isn’t a terrible car, but I find that Volvo has priced themselves out of the market they should be aiming for. The 240 must be the best car Volvo ever built if they’re using it as the benchmark to compare their latest offerings. Volvo needs to bring to market a car that has the same philosophy the 240 had: modestly priced, solidly built, and angular aesthetics. They don’t need to bring back the 240 as it has never left in the first place.


License plate bulbs

W5W bulb = Sylvania 2825

W5W bulb = Sylvania 2825

The license plate illumination bulbs in the Volvo burned out. You’d think it was a trivial exercise to get new bulbs, but apparently part changes happen and screw you up. Accessing the bulbs was no problem: two screws for each of the two lenses above the license plate. Easy enough. I head over to AutoZone to buy some bulbs. I would have thought they had a book with the bulb listing on there, but they didn’t have such book. Their system pulls up a round base bulb for the license plate illumination, but they are wrong! The 940 sedan uses a wedge base bulb while other Volvos of that era (240 and 740 sedans) used the round base bulbs. The owner’s manual (and the lens) indicated that the illumination bulb was a W5W. I really should have taken the bulb out and took it to the store in the first place.

I remember I bought W5W bulbs years ago, and I don’t remember these bulbs being hard to find. AutoZone didn’t have the bulbs and neither did Wal-Mart. This was not something I wanted to special order because I knew there had to be an alternative. It turns out W5W bulbs were relabeled as 2825 at some point and this bulb was available at any place that sold car parts (because this is a common light bulb for license plate illumination on foreign cars). Go figure.


Like-minded drivers

Look how nice this drive is!

Look how nice this drive is!

I went home for the holidays and driving around I felt like I was around courteous drivers. When I was growing up I thought everyone around me were terrible drivers cutting people off or speeding. It wasn’t until I moved to Austin that I realized I was terribly wrong and haven’t seen bad driving up to that point. Austin traffic is a mix of drivers from metropolitan cities that have to be somewhere fast, laid-back hypermiling hippies, and new residents who have never driven before. This complete chaos results in people who can’t merge properly, can’t maintain the speed limit, don’t care about other drivers, etc. Whenever I go out I put on my battle helmet to prepare for the onslaught of slow drivers. It doesn’t seem right when I’m doing the speed limit and I’m passing cars like they were standing still! It was a breath of fresh air when I realized how much nicer people were on the roads back home. I would be going 5 over the speed limit and still get passed. People would move over if you were coming up the on-ramp to merge. People would move over to the right lane when you came up behind them in the left lane. People would accelerate from the stop light quickly because they knew the green light was a finite resource. It was just so pleasant to drive again! I seriously want good public transportation in Austin only to take people who don’t want to drive off the roads.


Come at me bro

Servers you right!

Serves you right!

The other day I’m driving to work and I’m driving on a residential street that is pretty wide and has a double yellow line down the middle. As I approach an intersection I see a pickup truck (an early to mid ’90s Dodge Ram 2500) decide to make a U-turn in the middle of the street. Since the truck was pretty long, he had to make a K-turn. He was totally blocking the other lane and was about to reverse into my lane. I had zero fks to give that morning and decided to stay my course. I won. I figured if I hit him, I would say that he was making an illegal U-turn and sue the pants off for injuries. I mean, come on!

There was a church nearby that he could have driven into to make the turn around without blocking traffic. He could have also waited patiently for traffic to die down before attempting the illegal U-turn. But no, he decided he needed to make a U-turn NOW! Like I said, I just had zero fks to give and a $1500 beater with airbags. I have nothing to lose. Come at me bro.


You must be new at driving

Genius!

Genius!

The other night I was driving home when I was behind a Toyota Corolla. It was about 10:00 PM and this person didn’t have any taillights on. This means that the headlights aren’t on and they’re probably driving with the daytime running lights only. The driver stops at the red light at the MoPac frontage road. I assume the driver wants to go straight as the turn signal wasn’t on and the car wasn’t moving. After a few seconds I see the right-hand turn signal come on, but the driver still isn’t moving. Right-on-red is allowed at this intersection and there was no other traffic. The driver scoots up a little, but still doesn’t make the turn. I see on-coming traffic coming and a Jeep with it’s left-hand turn signal on. He has the right-of-way at this point, but what does the Corolla driver do? Drives out leisurely into the path of the Jeep that’s already turning. The Jeep driver hits the brakes and has to follow the pokey Corolla up the MoPac on-ramp. I follow suit to see this show. Nothing really happens other than another driver getting behind the Corolla and flashes his lights to indicate to the Corolla driver that the lights aren’t on. It must have been the Corolla driver’s first day driving ever with no clue what is happening. That has to explain it, right?