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How Should We Line Up for Our Drives?

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Triviawayne
(@triviawayne)
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Having been on several rides now, here are some thoughts and experiences from the journey; along with suggestions to possibly improve the rides (which are already amazeballs).

The following is not meant to state anything good/bad, or otherwise regarding anyone. Everyone is different, and everyone has a different comfort level with their cars. This is only about my observations, how I have tried to have the best experience on rides, and how I believe we can set ourselves up for everyone to have the best experience on the rides.

Everyone is welcome to provide insight/further suggestions or thoughts to spur more suggestions; and the link at the end is for a survey I posted.

I would have to say my favorite ride was the one with a small number of cars, and everyone was fast and stayed tight.

My least favorite ride was the one with a good number of cars, and while I struggled and lagged behind the person in front of me to keep the person behind me in my rear-view, the person in front of me was trying to keep me in their rear-view while still being able to follow the group. There were enormous gaps between cars.

Between the above and a few other rides, I began to "keep a book" on the other cars to know who I would try and ride near and who I would try and avoid.

On April 2nd, we had a ride and placed the slower/inexperienced drivers near the front, with the faster/experienced drivers in the back. While this seemed at the time like it wouldn't be the best idea, I was so wrong and I now think it was a great idea! This was one of the best rides I have participated in.

The more I think about it, the more advantages I see with this lineup; and I just don't see any advantages with a mix or a reverse of this lineup.

What happens is the leader, as always, sets the pace; and can adjust as needed to keep the car in the #2 slot at a proper distance. The slower/inexperienced drivers seem to be more comfortable in the front as there becomes no "peer pressure" to keep up. At the same time, the cars in the back are faster and more experienced, and have no issues keeping it tight with the group.

When the group gets split, as tends to happen at red lights and such, it is easier for everyone to repack without waiting long, and possibly without waiting at all because the faster/experienced cars are in the back. With everyone in a tighter line, there are fewer aliens as well.

Also, with more people having the routes programmed in the Garmin units, it might be best to put one of those cars about 2/3 through the pack so they can take the lead of the back of the pack when needed if there is a split.

Finally, during our pre-ride meetings, I think the 2-second rule should be brought up as a way to remind everyone to be close but not too close. I mostly think this is important due to the size of our groups. If we have 20 cars, that's 38 seconds from nose to tail, and on those twistys we travel, at the 45mph we often run, that equals 0.475 miles. Add just one second between cars, and it increases to 0.725 miles - a 53% increase in distance. That is stretching the capability of some of our radios.

Here is the survey:  Survey Here


Flying Dutchman
(@flying-dutchman)
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Joined: 3 years ago
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Excellent, Wayne... thanks for spelling this out.  I've been observing this, and following the policy of having slower / less experienced cars up front, for a long time.

As for the 2-second rule, this depends on the speed at which the group is traveling.  I'd say that, under 30-35 mph (twisty or rough roads), 2 seconds should be OK.  But, as the speed picks up, that time gap can be stretched a bit.

And thanks for setting up the survey!

David

Silver 2011 NC PRHT Grand Touring (actually Janice's car)


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Triviawayne
(@triviawayne)
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@flying-dutchman I don’t think the time gap needs changing as the distance automatically increases with speed. 


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StormND2Club
(@stormnd2club)
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i did enjoy 4/2’s drive. 

here's the thing. When Walt asked who considered themselves a slower driver to raise their hands, only 2/3 people said they were out of the 24 ish drivers. That of course is statistically impossible, when just considering this group. 

What if we split groups (when 18 plus cars) from those who drive slower and those who drive faster?Into 2 groups? Of course that means two leaders. I’m not sure. Tough call. I def am in the faster group but I’ve been on the racetracks for a dozen years. I don’t go all out but I prefer to go faster as it’s just more fun, within limits of course. 

- Jordan White
2020 Mazda MX-5 Club & 2020 Toyota Prime PHEV


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Triviawayne
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@stormnd2club

At first I read that as two/thirds 😛

I think that number was newbies on that drive, which should also go to the front with my theory posted.

Yes, people would be "self-policing" to admit they are in the "slow" group, I don't think there's any way around that. But if people do realize their comfort level is lower and admit it, I believe it will help the overall group.

We have done some split groups with a larger amount of cars, but it's more than just two leaders, it becomes two tails and possibly two relay people. Personally, I didn't like it when we split like that; and if we put all the "slower" ones in one group, if they left first, the "fast" group would possibly catch up. If we put the "slow" group second, they would get to the breaks/destination so much later than the "fast" group.


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Triviawayne
(@triviawayne)
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@flying-dutchman

Now that I have time to check the math...

At 20mph, having 20 cars with 2 seconds between each comes out to 0.21 miles nose to tail.

At 40mph, it is 0.42 miles.

At 60mph, it is 0.63 miles.

Unlike the change in time between cars, when keeping the same time, the distance growth is linear.


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livetodrive
(@livetodrive)
LVMOC President Moderator
Joined: 3 years ago
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As someone who has created, and led drives, as well as participated in over 100 since joining, I am a fan of letting the person who created the drive make that choice. 

I am personally a fan of faster cars in the front, and slowing down on straights, and pausing at stop signs. It is my run, that is what I prefer. Anyone who has been on one of my runs will know that. 

If anything, I believe that the more people in our Club create and lead rides the better. Every leader has a slightly different style. Diversity is fantastic in a Club, as some people prefer certain styles over others.

As far as one large group or two smaller ones, that too, is up to the person who creates the route. Walter is capable of herding 25 cars. I am not. I am more comfortable with 12. So if 20 people sign up for one of my Runs, I split it. I prefer that to limiting the number of cars. Some people limit their Runs. And since it is their Run, God bless them. As President,  I appreciate every member who spends countless hours creating the Runs for all of us to enjoy. 

2014 Club 2.5L "Punisher Edition", 2017 RF GT


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livetodrive
(@livetodrive)
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A quick thought on the 2 second rule... If we have the slowest cars in front, it is easy to do the 2 second rule. Everyone will be stacked up behind those in our group that drive below the speed limit.  If on the other hand, someone believes they are a faster driver than they truly are, they will place themselves at the back, and create a gap from an intersection, then be too uncomfortable to close the gap. 

So trying to enforce a small gap is extra stress on the leader and creator of the drive. We have so few members already that volunteer their time and energy to create , pre-run a drive several times, then lead a drive.... I think it is fine the way we do it now. And that is to mention to be mindful of keeping a tight group, and HAVE FUN.  No one likes to be told what to do, just ask my wife. (That is a joke First Lady...)

2014 Club 2.5L "Punisher Edition", 2017 RF GT


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rhetlaw
(@rhetlaw)
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This topic has been around since I joined LVMOC in 2010. In the 2014 - 2016 era there was a small group that enjoyed “speedy driving”. As you would imagine, there were complaints. On a particular traditional Pocono Drive, we gathered at Young Mazda. The “speedy leader” arranged for drivers to line up in one of three lanes - speedy, moderate, and slower. That way everyone would enjoy themselves. Unfortunately, he did not label the lanes. We did not know which lane was which. 

This is a sensitive topic and always has been. We are an inclusive Club and accept and enjoy all driving styles. 

As a person who leads Drives, it is important to me that each driver enjoys the drive in the manner they enjoy driving. For Wayne, April 2nd’s drive was his most enjoyed. However, after he left the group early, there was a message from the rear of the group on the FRS asking to “slow down”. Go figure.

For me, that is what stop signs are for. We sit, we wait and we gather. I am a patient person. I do not want anyone driving outside of their comfort range. We will not leave anyone behind.

However, when you have a 300 - 400 yard gap between yourself and the Miata in front of you, you have to realize, you are holding up several Miatas behind you. Many of those drivers would prefer a faster pace. One needs to recognize that fact and at the approaching stop sign, get on the FRS radio and let folks know you are going to pull over and let Miatas get in front of you. That way, both driving styles are being enjoyed.

Louie was very complimentary in my being able to lead large groups. Walter was able to lead that group because of the team he surrounded himself with. My relay team (12th Miata) of Michele and Dave are both seasoned and experienced drivers. Michele comes to the Drives with my driving route loaded into her GPS and provides solid information via her FRS. My next relay person (17th Miata) was Ken Hill, another seasoned and experience driver. And his bright yellow Miata is very easy to spot. I recall waiting at stop signs and seeing Ken’s yellow Miata in my rear view. That was my signal that the rear of the group was close and I could continue. And finally, my awesome tail with the team of Haley and her Uncle Jeff. Jeff is another patient person. Jeff has been a dedicated and responsive member since his onset. 

I would be interested to hear input from Wayner Puello, Art Braunwell, Keith Reinhard and Matt Leiderman on the pace of the Drive. These were the four drivers that opted to drive up front with me. I felt I drove my normal pace and watching them in my rearview, they seemed to stay close.


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Jim Turner
(@jim-turner)
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This is a good topic with thoughtful discussion - thanks to all for the various perspectives, and math!

My 2 cents:  given the greater stopping distance required with greater speed and greater age (slower reaction time) it’s probably wise to relax the 2 second rule as conditions warrant - which of course is obvious and was certainly implied at the beginning of the thread.  

I’ve found myself occasionally fumbling with the FRS radio or distracted by bees in my bonnet from time to time, and occasionally have a delayed response to what’s going on up ahead on the road.  

Collision avoidance technology is fine, but I’m resisting the move towards auto-pilot. But, in 20 years we’ll probably wonder how we lived without it, just like microwaves and cell phones…

'02 SE ti/br (retired)
'21 RF-GT 6MT mg/wh


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CTt3MX5
(@ctt3mx5)
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This is a very good topic.  When I first joined the club, the faster drivers were generally in the front so I opted to jump near the back of the line.  I will happily admit that I am 2/3 of those that can be a slow driver....oh wait...haha Jordan.  😉  At first I felt the need to drive a little faster to catch up but then realized that the group would wait at a stop sign so I settled in.  The first time I was the tail, I was nervous wondering if I could keep pace but I now enjoy being the tail.  In this position, I don't need to wait for that Miata behind me, I just have to focus on the one in front while ensuring they are following the pack on turns.  So far, I have never had to radio ahead that we missed a turn so that is kudos to the group ahead for waiting for that Miata behind them when needed.

I have been the tail with both fast drivers in the front or the rear and from that perspective there is no difference, for me at least.  IMO it is the middle of the pack that gets affected the most.  If fast drivers are up front, which driver slows down to ensure the Miata behind them sees them turn?  If the slow drivers are up front, does the "lead" fastest driver hang back a bit so they can get some spirited turns in?  Does this then allow an opportunity for aliens to jump in?

Again great topic for discussion and already love the points and counterpoints made.  While there is no "one size fits all", I am sure we can continue discussion and find some elasticity.  😀

 

2016 ST Ceramic Metallic GT aka Ghost


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Triviawayne
(@triviawayne)
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Topic starter  

@rhetlaw I left at the end of segment 1, when everyone pulled into the Sheetz.  Maybe the order we were in got a little jumbled?

I found the speed on segment 1 to be typical for your drives; not too fast, not too slow.

My main thought on lining up as suggested is really about "how do we best keep the group together".  I was impressed how we had 24 cars and other than after a tough left on to Route 100 north, we all kept together; and even then the tail caught the group quickly.


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Triviawayne
(@triviawayne)
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@jim-turner 

at 2 seconds, then 3 seconds (distance in feet):

20mph - 59 & 88
30mph - 88 & 132
40mph - 117 & 176
50mph - 147 & 220

at 60mph, a 2010 MX-5 needs 117 feet to brake.


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StormND2Club
(@stormnd2club)
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Yeah it definitely is not easy to have 24 cars in a group for one person. Good work Walt. 

- Jordan White
2020 Mazda MX-5 Club & 2020 Toyota Prime PHEV


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Jim Turner
(@jim-turner)
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@triviawayne 

Good data - and add to that the 88 feet/second travelled at 60 mph to factor the effect of response time in calculating actual stopping distances.

'02 SE ti/br (retired)
'21 RF-GT 6MT mg/wh


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