RaceSchool.com Podcast CHP Officer Craig Mosley Interview

During the weekend of the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach, I stopped by the California Highway Patrol display in the Expo area. Officer Craig Mosley works for the CHP and as it turns out is a former student at Fast Lane Racing School. We had a nice chat about his experience at Fast Lane and how that’s helped him and his fellow officers when it came time to pass the Emergency Vehicle Operations Course (EVOC). With the Fourth of July holiday weekend coming up, he gives us some safety tips for city and highway driving and also what to do just in case you see those flashing lights in your rear view mirror. He’s truly a dedicated and professional officer. Enjoy!

By Larry Mason

Copyright © 2022 Larry Mason

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A former Fast Lane student, Officer Craig Mosley epitomizes professionalism.

Craig Mosley CHP crop

Safety, Service and Security is what Officer Craig Mosley provides on a daily basis.

Interview and photos by Larry Mason, Copyright © Larry Mason

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Street Car Driving Aids – Technology to Help Keep You Safe

Blind-Spot-Intervention-1200x691 In this illustration, the RADAR is looking back and to both sides to recognize if there are any other vehicles in your blind spot. Photo Credit Infiniti

In our previous installment, we looked at Lane Departure Warning Systems. 

Today we’ll take a look at Blind Spot Warning (BSW) and Intervention (BSI) systems. Keep in mind that if your mirrors are adjusted properly, you would rarely need the electronic nanny. The fact is that the vast majority of drivers have their side-view mirrors improperly adjusted (you can see your door handles) so therefore, the electronic version plays a handy part.

Most BSW systems utilize RADAR systems located within the rear bumper to actively “look” for vehicles encroaching into the space within a set distance around your vehicle. When you’re driving along a highway (usually these systems are set to activate above a certain minimum speed) and another vehicle enters the pre-set (by the manufacturer) drive zone that could be a potential danger if you were to change lanes, the system will alert the driver with a warning light typically mounted in the side-view mirror (or sometimes in the A-pillar). If you use your turn signal to indicate a move into the lane where the other vehicle is located, the system will then typically flash the warning light and also beep at you letting you know that another vehicle is in that restricted space.

Newer systems also include an Intervention function to the feature that will actually use the Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) to apply light braking on the opposite side of the vehicle to help keep you in your lane. Other systems can use the electric power steering systems to try and keep you in your lane. Upping the escalation in warning, there may also be haptic feedback in the steering wheel to make a point of “now is not a good time to change lanes.”

Typically these systems work very well but aren’t perfect. It’s up to the driver to use all of the available tools; mirrors, physically moving your eyes and head to look, and always having an awareness of what’s going on around you. Scanning your mirrors every 8-10 seconds is a good rule of thumb. Also, it’s always a great idea to keep your vision up and look way ahead of you down the road. The further ahead you look, the less likely you are to find yourself caught in a situation where you have very little time to change lanes. Looking ahead is a great way to “buy” you some time – and that’s a commodity that’s extremely valuable!

NOTE: Different manufacturers have similar technologies and will use different feature names to describe their individual systems. 

By Larry Mason

Copyright © 2022 Larry Mason

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Street Car Driving Aids – Helpful or Harassing?

QX60_59_BB1A0505-4-1200x800 Today's technology is showcased in this photo of the 2022 Infiniti QX60 instrument panel display. The all-new QX60 builds on LDW and LDI and goes a step further with the ProPILOT Assist with Navi-Link SAE Level 2 driving assistance program. From this picture you can tell that the camera has picked up the lane lines (displayed in green) and also that the steering assist for lane centering is working (green steering wheel). It's also showing that it has a RADAR lock on the vehicle in front (icon of vehicle under the word Cruise) for the system's Intelligent Cruise Control. In the case of the QX60 it gives you a haptic feedback response in the steering wheel should you begin to depart your lane without signaling. Photo Credit Infiniti

With technology in today’s street cars expanding at an ever more rapid clip, it’s no wonder that the supply chain chip shortage has slowed production and availability of new cars at your local dealership. However, once you get behind the wheel of a new car, you’ll be seeing, hearing and feeling multiple bits of sensory feedback based on the sensors, lights, speakers and electronic bits throughout.

Today we’ll take a look at Lane Centering, Lane Departure Warning (LDW) and Intervention (LDI) systems. Highway traffic safety studies have shown that when an unintended departure from a driver’s lane occurs, a significant percentage of traffic accidents follow. At first, there were LDW systems that utilized a forward-facing camera that was looking for clearly defined lane lines (via contrast with the rest of the road) and if the software associated with that camera found that you had departed your lane (without signaling) then it would typically sound a beeping tone to alarm you of your failure to keep your car in its lane. Great idea - right? It was until the reality of everyday driving sometimes has you getting out of your lane, whether it’s a passing maneuver or avoidance of debris in the road. Sometimes there could be a black tar line that the camera would mistake as a lane line and the beeping would go on constantly even though you stayed in your lane. It’s the beeping that typically gets people annoyed to the point where they want to turn off these driver aids.

From there, LDI was brought into play via the vehicle’s ABS system. This allowed the vehicle to apply slight braking pressure on the opposite side of the car from where the vehicle was veering out of its lane. This wouldn’t necessarily prevent the car from departing its lane in all circumstances, but it still would work under certain conditions to help prevent a big “off” into the weeds. The driver, through steering, could still overpower this system.

With the advent of electric power steering systems, the cars of today can actually see (through that forward-facing camera) and steer (electronically) and help keep you centered in your lane and therefore hopefully not even have to use the LDW or LDI in the first place. If for some reason the vehicle can’t stay centered in its lane and it does stray adrift, the vehicle can not only beep but also give the driver some sort of haptic feedback like vibrating the steering wheel or the seat cushion (depending on the manufacturer). Of course with all of these systems you’ll also typically get an audible alarm (beeping) and also a visual cue (lights on the dash and/or somewhere else). 

The bottom line is that an undistracted driver is the best driver behind the wheel. 

NOTE: Different manufacturers have similar technologies and will use different feature names to describe their individual systems. 

By Larry Mason

Copyright © 2022 Larry Mason

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