It's time to vote for your favourite story and author in this year's clitoridesawards. [ X Dismiss ]
Home « Forum « Author Hangout

Forum: Author Hangout

New Amazon features

Crumbly Writer
Updated:

Just noticed a couple new features on Amazon (for authors, not readers). I know few of us actually publish online, but I thought these were worth mentioning for the few of us who do.

Just so you can see what it looks like, here's a preview to my newest book, "Zombie Leza".

Book previews. Amazon now allows you to embed a book preview in either email (html) or on a website. Typically, I create 3 separate pages for 'preview chapters' so new visitors can review my content. By adding a single line of text (that Amazon generates for me), Amazon will handle all of that for me. I'm guessing I can now eliminate between 20 to 25% of my webpages based on this single feature, making webpage creation of new books much easier!

Kindle Print. Amazon Kindle (KDP) now offers a 'print' option, where it'll create a print copy of your ebook automatically. So far, it's only in beta release, so no one really knows how good it is, but it would save a lot of time. However, on the negative side, Kindle typically strips ALL for formatting from your document, so I'm guessing a print book will look pretty crappy! (I don't think I'll volunteer to test it.)

Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

Book previews. Amazon now allows you to embed a book preview in either email (html) or on a website.


I've been doing that all along with Lulu for the print books, and have an extra PDF of selected pages I upload for the e-pub version. So it seems Amazon is playing catch-up.

I worry about what a print created from an e-pub or Kindle file would come out like.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

I've been doing that all along with Lulu for the print books, and have an extra PDF of selected pages I upload for the e-pub version. So it seems Amazon is playing catch-up.

Yes, but in your case, you need to create a separate pdf version of the story just for someone else to reference. In this case, Amazon automatically creates a 'preview' content (typically the first couple chapters), and including the link automates the entire process (readers can navigate from page to page, depending on which device they're reading on). It's actually quite clever, and eliminates trying to read a full 6"x9" print display on a cell phone.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer


Yes, but in your case, you need to create a separate pdf version of the story just for someone else to reference.


That's because I choose to use the options for a specialised preview instead of the automated one they have.

edit to add: it's good to see Amazon is finally getting around to including a preview, but I still won't use them for anything I don't mind going out free. - I'm still waiting for them to forward the income for a few sales they made three years ago when I let them have Rough Diamond as a trial.

Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

Book previews. Amazon now allows you to embed a book preview


That's been around for a while. I tried it when it came out and didn't get it to work.

Kindle Print. Amazon Kindle (KDP) now offers a 'print' option, where it'll create a print copy of your ebook automatically.


I don't know how they can do that. How will they handle the cover (spine and back cover)? How will they avoid ending chapters with a few words? Doesn't make sense.

doctor_wing_nut

@Crumbly Writer

When I click on your posted link, I get this:

"Oops! Sorry. We had trouble loading the page."

When I go to the actual listing page on Amazon, and click on the cover, then I get a 'preview'.

Is that how it's supposed to work? Or is it just that way for me.

Crumbly Writer
Updated:

@doctor_wing_nut


Is that how it's supposed to work? Or is it just that way for me.

The link was supposed to work (there are separate lines for html code (to include in emails) and another to include into webpages. But the preview is the entire thing I was discussing. Instead of creating several pages of html code to list sample chapters in any given book, I can simply include the link and readers get an instant preview, along with the ability to 'click to buy'.

All in all, it's much neater and cleaner than doing it yourself (which is why I'm trimming on websites coding).

Note: The inserted code (on the website) shows the cover with a button to "buy" or "View the Preview". The link, however, should take you directly into the preview (it doesn't display the cover first). It works on Firefox. Let me know which browser you're using and I'll see whether there are incompatibility issues with it.

Replies:   doctor_wing_nut
Ernest Bywater

@doctor_wing_nut

When I click on your posted link, I get this:


The link works for me, but it takes a long while for the almost 100 java scripts Amazon shoves at me to go through before anything is displayed - damned if I know why they need so many scripts to run what i can provide with a single line of html code.

Replies:   REP
doctor_wing_nut

@Crumbly Writer

I used Firefox (50.1), but as Ernest pointed out, there are a shit-ton of scripts that have to run, and I had one of them blocked. It's now working as I believe it should.

I'm surprised I didn't have to allow Faceplant (aka facebook) to read it. They're everywhere, just like dogshit, and about as useful.

/rant

REP

@Ernest Bywater

damned if I know why they need so many scripts to run what i can provide with a single line of html code.


Does it have to do with all the ads they are going to impose on you when the link does open? :(

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@REP

Does it have to do with all the ads they are going to impose on you when the link does open? :(


No. Based on the servers and folders they're calling the scripts from the first 11 seem to relate to their Kindle Player, while the last half dozen relate to their way of trying to track down who you are and where you're from, while the rest appear to relate to book being provided - don't understand why they need so many of them for any of the activities. But that seems to be the case now with so many idiots creating web pages using software to drag and drop miniature routines instead of taking the time to write any actual code.

Replies:   REP  Crumbly Writer
REP

@Ernest Bywater

Well that accounts for 22 of the 100.

I don't expect you to know or provide an explanation, but I wonder what the remaining 78 are doing.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@REP

I don't expect you to know or provide an explanation, but I wonder what the remaining 78 are doing.


that's what the bit where I said - while the rest appear to relate to book being provided - don't understand why they need so many of them for any of the activities. - is about. They are all scripts from a server to do with books and calling things from the same folder - maybe a different script per line of text, I don't know.

sejintenej

Another new feature from Amazon is the incredible increase in postage. We were looking at something fairly cheap and they came up with a postage charge for ordinary basic mail of about £35 which was a multiple of the item price. We no longer buy from them. Period

Michael Loucks

@sejintenej

Another new feature from Amazon is the incredible increase in postage. We were looking at something fairly cheap and they came up with a postage charge for ordinary basic mail of about £35 which was a multiple of the item price. We no longer buy from them. Period


I haven't encountered this as a 'Prime' customer, but I have had four of my shipments in the last three weeks go awry in some way, such that they didn't keep the '2 day' promise of Amazon Prime. The reliability of their deliveries is slipping badly. The three additional months of 'Prime' service they used to compensate me don't make up for things not showing up when they are needed...

Replies:   Crumbly Writer  REP
awnlee jawking

@sejintenej

Presumably, having reached the critical mass required by their business model, they're now turning the business into a cash-cow. Yay for eBay.

AJ

Replies:   Crumbly Writer  REP
Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

Based on the servers and folders they're calling the scripts from the first 11 seem to relate to their Kindle Player, while the last half dozen relate to their way of trying to track down who you are and where you're from, while the rest appear to relate to book being provided - don't understand why they need so many of them for any of the activities.

That makes sense (the ones you identified) since the preview depends on the Kindle reader functionality, and the identifying who you are is directly tied into the "buy this book" functionality (when you finish the preview). I'm sure much of the rest is tied to these same functions, but as always with Amazon, much of it will be to track you. (Hint: I've also got a tie in there where, if you buy anything else on Amazon while there, I get a pittance of the sale.)

Crumbly Writer

@sejintenej

Another new feature from Amazon is the incredible increase in postage. We were looking at something fairly cheap and they came up with a postage charge for ordinary basic mail of about £35 which was a multiple of the item price. We no longer buy from them. Period

Believe it or not, that's their 'encouragement' to purchase an Amazon Prime account. By making their own postage exorbitant, they somehow think you'll purchase an expensive account whose main benefit is ... free shipping for everything else you buy on Amazon!

Crumbly Writer

@Michael Loucks

I haven't encountered this as a 'Prime' customer, but I have had four of my shipments in the last three weeks go awry in some way, such that they didn't keep the '2 day' promise of Amazon Prime. The reliability of their deliveries is slipping badly. The three additional months of 'Prime' service they used to compensate me don't make up for things not showing up when they are needed...

I've never been able to use the 1-day shipping, not only from Amazon, but from UPS and everyone else. That's not because of them, but because they all use the tiny regional airport, which restricts flights to the late evening, meaning any deliveries are delayed until the following day.

Every time my sister visits, and invariably orders something, she calls to complain, and gets the delivery fees waved, while those of us who live here are terrified of doing the same out of fear UPS will simply abandon us if their costs grow too large.

One-day shipping is nice, but it only works when you live in certain areas (even within the Continental U.S.).

Replies:   Dominions Son
Crumbly Writer

@awnlee jawking

Yay for eBay.

eBay isn't any better, as the majority of each item's profit margin rests on their own exorbitant shipping costs (quoted, not by UPS or some other reliable service, but by the person shipping the item to deposit in their account).

When you consider the huge array of $.01 items, which charge several dollars to ship (mostly for books ripped-off from the rightful authors), you'll understand why it's such a scam.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

I've never been able to use the 1-day shipping, not only from Amazon, but from UPS and everyone else. That's not because of them, but because they all use the tiny regional airport, which restricts flights to the late evening, meaning any deliveries are delayed until the following day.

Where the heck do you live? Barrow, Ak?

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Dominions Son

I live in a small section of beach on the eastern shore of N.C. (think a 200 mile long island, only 1 mile wide at its widest). It's very popular (our small population expands by 10 times during the summer), but we only have a single, limited airport (technically, we have two, but UPS is restricted to one).

To this day, I've yet to see a single "same day" delivery make good on its pledge.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

You'd think they would ship goods out to you by boat instead of bothering with a small airport.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
awnlee jawking

@Crumbly Writer

My Unchristmas Prezzie arrived yesterday, a piece of cheap tat from China bought on eBay, postage free. A similar item would cost 2-3 the net price in the shops, and if I bought it from America, it would cost three times as much again for the postage.

It's a strange world.

AJ

Replies:   StarFleetCarl
REP

@Michael Loucks

The reliability of their deliveries is slipping badly.


I've noticed that also. I suspect their Christmas sales volume has overwhelmed their delivery capacity. Perhaps it will improve after the holidays.

REP

@awnlee jawking

Yay for eBay.


I had a problem with eBay several years ago. I needed an immediate answer to a question. Nowhere on any of their websites to they provide a phone number that you can call to get assistance.

The typically scenario is you have to send them an email. Then you get a form letter telling you your email was received and that they value you as a customer. BS! If they really valued my business they would provide a customer service phone number. A couple of days later, you get an answer. Unfortunately, their answers often fail to answer my question. So the whole process repeats.

Yes, I do know the other big internet companies are much the same way, but my problem occurred with eBay. That is why they are not my first or second choice for purchasing merchandise on line.

doctor_wing_nut
Updated:

@REP

"Then you get a form letter telling you your email was received and that they value you as a customer."

Whenever I hear a company's phone message that says "Your call is very important to us" I can be absolutely certain it is, in fact, just the opposite. It's the same thing as your email, a thinly-veiled blow-off.

Several times last year I had Amazon shipping get an item to my state, then watch it sit there for 2-3 days before continuing on tour. I have no interest in Prime, nor do I do enough business to warrant it, but without it you're S-O-L.

I have not done business with Amazon this year, for that reason. They don't care, and neither do I.

awnlee jawking

@REP

I had a problem with eBay several years ago. I needed an immediate answer to a question. Nowhere on any of their websites to they provide a phone number that you can call to get assistance.


That's always going to be a problem when the business model is based on automation. It's the tiny few percent of situations their programmers haven't thought about that fall through the cracks. And for the same reason, I think it will be a very, very long time before driverless cars can be trusted with complete autonomy.

AJ

Replies:   Crumbly Writer  REP
Crumbly Writer

@Dominions Son

You'd think they would ship goods out to you by boat instead of bothering with a small airport.

All the things I bought which they "absolutely" promised would arrive today ... you guessed it, didn't. Hopefully I'll get them tomorrow. But when they make such extravagant claims, it really makes you want to sue them for broken claims, just to get them to stop hyping it when they can't deliver on time.

Crumbly Writer

@awnlee jawking

That's always going to be a problem when the business model is based on automation. It's the tiny few percent of situations their programmers haven't thought about that fall through the cracks. And for the same reason, I think it will be a very, very long time before driverless cars can be trusted with complete autonomy.

I'll trust driverless cars the day after they can provide me with a working GPS unit. Years ago, both Google and Apple Maps got me to my location, now roughly a third of the time they won't, often leaving me in the middle of the street, roughly 6 blocks from my eventual destination.

If they can't handle basic GPS, what makes you think they'll avoid the car ahead of you driving the one way on a one-way road?

Replies:   Dominions Son
richardshagrin

When Federal Express and United Parcel merge it will be called Fed UP, which is what many of the customers are now.

"I have no interest in Prime, nor do I do enough business to warrant it, but without it you're S-O-L."

I don't think we should use the initials for Shit Outa Luck on this site, its wrong to say unpleasant things about Stories on Line.

Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

If they can't handle basic GPS, what makes you think they'll avoid the car ahead of you driving the one way on a one-way road?


Google and Apple maps on a smart phone aren't actually using GPS, Most smart phone's don't have actual GPS receivers, so they are using cell tower signal strength data to triangulate your position. It's drastically less precise than GPS.

If you want proper GPS precision, get a Garmin or other brand of dedicated GPS device.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Dominions Son

Google and Apple maps on a smart phone aren't actually using GPS, Most smart phone's don't have actual GPS receivers, so they are using cell tower signal strength data to triangulate your position. It's drastically less precise than GPS.

Whichever technique they use, they used to do a decent job, but their quality has fallen tremendously in only a few years, which doesn't reflect a fall in cell towers during the same period. In short, I don't trust the major international companies of issues of quality, and definitely not enough to bet my life on!

StarFleetCarl

@awnlee jawking

a piece of cheap tat from China bought on eBay, postage free. A similar item would cost 2-3 the net price in the shops, and if I bought it from America, it would cost three times as much again for the postage


My wife does that all the time. She'll buy something on eBay for maybe 25 cents. It's shipped, from China to America, postage free for us. At most she spends $1. I think she managed to buy Christmas presents for her entire staff (about 50 people) for about $30. Would've cost her at least $400 for stuff retail here.

Dominions Son
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer


Whichever technique they use, they used to do a decent job, but their quality has fallen tremendously in only a few years


There are a number of possibilities.

1. If you move from an area with lots of towers and small cells to an area with few towers and large cell, that will impact the precision.

2. If you didn't move, but the number of cell phones in your area has increased. Higher usage in an area degrades their ability to precisely triangulate the position of a single phone.

If a given tower is already at or near it's traffic capacity they may not be able to use that tower to help triangulate your location. The fewer towers they can use, the less precise the result will be.

3. There was an effort at one point to put real GPS in phones, however, since GPS runs on completely separate frequencies than the cellular network, it requires a separate radio receiver and possibly a separate antenna.

Then there are licensing fees that have to be paid to the DOD.

Since the extra receiver reduces battery life and increases the cost of making the phones, the phone makers mostly gave up on real GPS.

So if you had a phone with real GPS and then latter "upgraded" to a phone that didn't, that will reduce the precision of the phone's location data.

4. I don't know which of the above 3 factors might be impacting you (potentially all three). However, the thing you need to understand is that none of them are under the control of the developers of the Google and Apple map apps.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
REP

@awnlee jawking

I think it will be a very, very long time before driverless cars can be trusted


They can never be trusted!

The manufacturers focus your attention on how good the software performs. Electronic equipment fails. When the computer operating the system suffers a fatal hardware failure, the car instantly becomes a 4,500 pound (about 2,000 KG) projectile.

In a properly designed system, IF the failure is detected, the car's brakes should automatically be applied for a Panic Stop. Human drivers typically follow too close and they are not expecting the car in front of them to come to a panic stop for no apparent reason. Something that is against the law in many states. The inevitable result will be a collision.

If that failure happens to occur while the car in, going into, or coming out of a curve, any vehicle beside the driverless car will be at risk of a collision, especially those operated by human drivers. Another computer controlled car may be able to avoid a collision, but its sudden braking and swerving may cause a collision.

Now if the road is icy when the failure occurs and the default is a panic stop, only God knows where the car will end up. That is especially true if the car's brakes pull to the left or right.

Dominions Son

@REP

The manufacturers focus your attention on how good the software performs. Electronic equipment fails.


I am a computer programmer. Software is only ever as good as the programmer who wrote it. Large complex applications are never/will never be bug free.

Short of fully sentient AI (Which we are no where near being able to build), self driving cars are a disaster/lawsuit waiting to happen.

Replies:   Grant  awnlee jawking  REP
Crumbly Writer

@Dominions Son

So if you had a phone with real GPS and then latter "upgraded" to a phone that didn't, that will reduce the precision of the phone's location data.

I suspect that's the case. iPhones used to have a GPS/Compass feature which has gone away a few upgrades ago, so I'm guessing they stopped using actual GPS signals. I'm in the same area, and we recently replaced a downed cell phone with a massive new tower, plus several towns have put up their own cell-phone towers on their water towers (ringed with electronics to get the best signal with the fewest resources possible). So I doubt the cell phone towers are 'exhausted' as of yet.

Ernest Bywater

@REP

In a properly designed system, IF the failure is detected, the car's brakes should automatically be applied for a Panic Stop.


There are already emergency fail safe braking systems in place with trains that have worked well for many decades. Similar systems work well with the tractor-trailer rigs. They can be designed for a slam on the brakes panic stop or a less drastic, but still very fast, emergency stop. The issue is in how to program the computer software as to what constitutes an emergency stop.

In the USA and Europe there are already some tractor-trailer rigs with a computer controlled radar unit mounted on the front so when they get too close to a car in front the brakes are applied to stop the truck. Great, you say, reduces the risk of them running up the back of someone. This is true, but the risk of an unneeded emergency stop causing an accident and the truck getting hit goes up by a factor several times higher. The reason for this is idiots see the safe stopping gap the truck driver keeps, and decide they can switch lanes to be in front of the truck. Often they switch lanes and accelerate away - that's good, except the radar suddenly sees a car in front that's way too close and slams on the brakes. The result is the truck has a major decrease in speed for no real reason due to the safety software, thus you get increased wear on the vehicle, more fuel used, more gas emissions, and there's already been many cases of trucks being struck from behind by cars following too close when this happens.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Ernest Bywater

There are already emergency fail safe braking systems in place with trains that have worked well for many decades.


With trains, it's not really an emergency fail safe system as such.

Train brakes are operated pneumatically, but they work the opposite way of car brakes. The default state is full on and for the train to go, air pressure must be applied to open the breaks.

If the system loses pressure, or the engineer lets go of the break lever, the breaks close and the train stops.

I suppose you could put that kind of a break system in a car, but it would require retraining drivers to operate cars with the new system. It would either be hugely expensive or take a very long time to replace the entire fleet of existing cars. It's not really a practical idea at this point.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

they used to do a decent job, but their quality has fallen


The maps on my iPhone 7+ is better than the GPS on my Lexus. It's outstanding.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

The maps on my iPhone 7+ is better than the GPS on my Lexus. It's outstanding.

I don't live in or near any major cities, but the local information isn't up to the same level as it is in more populous areas.

Both maps used to be reliable (although it could never find my house, confusing East street with West street), but it could find most destinations. But for the past couple years, it misses local locations and also locations in Norfolk and Virginia Beach (a smaller city in Virginia).

Grant

@REP

stop for no apparent reason. Something that is against the law in many states.

Seriously?
It's illegal to make an emergency stop if the idiot behind you doesn't know why you're doing it?
Doesn't make any sense to me.

Here in Australia you are required to keep a safe distance between vehicles. If someone suddenly stops, and you hit them from behind then you are the driver at fault for not driving safely.

Grant

@Dominions Son

Short of fully sentient AI (Which we are no where near being able to build), self driving cars are a disaster/lawsuit waiting to happen.

Yet they will still probably be safer than present human drivers. Only because so many of them aren't anywhere near as good as they think they are.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Ross at Play

@REP

(driverless cars) can never be trusted!

Isn't the point whether software can be trusted more than the meatware it would be replacing?
I think it will be, soon. At least it doesn't drink!
***
The delay I see is sorting out who gets sued when something does go wrong - which it will!

Replies:   awnlee jawking
Crumbly Writer

@Grant

Here in Australia you are required to keep a safe distance between vehicles. If someone suddenly stops, and you hit them from behind then you are the driver at fault for not driving safely.

The same is true in the States, except, on my highways, where the traffic is going 70+mph, if everyone kept the 'safe distance', travel times would take another couple hours. Thus everyone on the highway (with the exception of those endangering others) typically trails the car ahead of them by only a single car length (Note: this is not a semi/truck/or SUV-length, but simply a single passenger car length). What's more, NO ONE gets a ticket to traveling to close behind the other drivers unless they're riding their bumper.

On local roads, though, it's another story entirely!

Replies:   Grant
Crumbly Writer

@Grant

Yet they will still probably be safer than present human drivers. Only because so many of them aren't anywhere near as good as they think they are.

The fact they're currently forbidden from traveling any faster than the posted speed limit means they'll (ultimately) end up being banned from most interstate highways, where the 'average' speeds are all at least 10+ mph above the posted limits, often much more.

If everyone slowed down to the posted limit, it would again result in increased traffic congestion, whether the cops want to admit it or not. Thus they'll only target the fastest drives on the road.

Ernest Bywater

@Dominions Son

If the system loses pressure, or the engineer lets go of the break lever, the breaks close and the train stops.


That's the way they designed it to work - fail safe brakes, and it works perfectly in the big trucks in the exact same way. There's no reason why the same design of system can't be put into a normal car. The reason they don't is the cost.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Ernest Bywater

@Grant

Seriously?
It's illegal to make an emergency stop if the idiot behind you doesn't know why you're doing it?


The process he's referring to is what they call brake checking in the US, and it's against the law here in Australia as well. In brake checking someone moves in front of you by changing lanes when you're so close they shouldn't, and standing on the brakes - it's also used by crash for cash scammers. In the Australian Road Rules it's also against the law to suddenly brake hard when there's no real need to. So the practice some people have of braking hard to piss off the person behind them can be charged with 'Driving in a manner dangerous.'

Replies:   Grant
Grant
Updated:

@Ernest Bywater

In the Australian Road Rules it's also against the law to suddenly brake hard when there's no real need to. So the practice some people have of braking hard to piss off the person behind them can be charged with 'Driving in a manner dangerous.'


Yep.

But actually having someone convicted of that is another thing entirely. And even if they are, the person behind that hit them is still responsible for the accident for not allowing enough room to avoid contact.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Grant

@Crumbly Writer

Thus everyone on the highway (with the exception of those endangering others) typically trails the car ahead of them by only a single car length (Note: this is not a semi/truck/or SUV-length, but simply a single passenger car length).

That would explain huge multi-car pileups then.

If everyone slowed down to the posted limit, it would again result in increased traffic congestion,

Actually that isn't entirely correct.
Higher speeds actually result in less vehicles per hour being able travel on a road, due to the impact of merging & exiting vehicles & their effects on the flow of traffic as well as slower moving vehicles within the traffic flow.
Of course there are lower limits, and if people ignore safe following distances the effects are reduced. And of course when there is an accident, then the traffic flow is effectively non existent.

Replies:   graybyrd  Crumbly Writer
Ernest Bywater

@Grant

But actually having someone convicted of that is another thing entirely. And even if they are, the person behind that hit them is still responsible for the accident for not allowing enough room to avoid contact.


In most of the few cases where I've seen it happen both have been charged. But I did see one case where the one in front was charged because they'd cut the other off first.

sejintenej

Our road safety people and police suggest the 2 second concept - the minimum distance to the vehicle in front. You can now actually be arrested for being too close though lorry drivers continue to ignore that

Ernest Bywater

@sejintenej

Our road safety people and police suggest the 2 second concept - the minimum distance to the vehicle in front.


The better driving schools in Australia have been teaching the 3 second gap rule for nearly 50 years, to my knowledge. It works on the basis of the vehicles needing close to the same space to stop, so you need only allow for the reaction time between when they start to slow down or stop and when you notice it and start to stop. Research said 2 seconds, so they teach 3 seconds just to be safe.

Replies:   Grant  Crumbly Writer
Grant

@Ernest Bywater

Research said 2 seconds, so they teach 3 seconds just to be safe.

It was based on people's reaction time. Ideally it's around 1.5s, but that's the ideal time. Even 3 seconds isn't even close to enough time for many drivers. In wet/hazardous conditions it should be double the normal time (2-3 secs becomes 4-6 secs).

graybyrd
Updated:

@Grant

In five years of driving Class A license long-haul 18-wheel rigs (over 600,000 miles in 47 states (missed Maine) and three Canadian provinces, I found the ONLY effective defensive driving measure was to allow several vehicle lengths between my rig and the vehicle ahead. And to focus on the vehicles ahead of that one... to track whatever would cause that followed vehicle to react.

Inevitably, aggressive vehicles would crowd into my "buffer" zone; so I'd drift back to open the gap again. Since I was required to drive the speed limit, most vehicles that crowded past me would soon speed away, but not always. One out of ten would pass, usually on my right (illegal passing) and crowd ahead, then ease off the gas and force me to drop my cruise control and slow. Then they'd notice their lag, and they'd hammer down and speed away.

The other unsafe habit of most US drivers is to travel in dog packs, each with their nose up the lead dog's ass. It's typical to see 20 to 30 cars running in a pack, with many of them weaving and jostling and trying to force their way through.

The only defensive counter for traffic packs is to drift back, or find a clear lane and hammer down to pass the pack, open a gap, and resume normal traffic speed.

As for "over the limit" freeway speeds of 10 to 15 mph for the majority of drivers, I have yet to see in the states' driver handbooks where even the "limit plus five mph" is sanctioned. A trooper close to his quota will pull over a group of three or four cars running 10 over, and ticket them all. The excuse "I was following the flow of traffic" counts for nothing when the trooper writes the ticket. It's a guaranteed revenue producer, and a sure way to meet the traffic stop quota.

Never run beside a big truck in hot weather, unless you'd like to win the lottery of having a thrown tread--50 or 60 lbs of two-inch thick rubber--come through your windshield. My experience was that few truck drivers would check the tire pressure on the eight trailer tires, and a low tire quickly overheats when carrying 36,000 lbs of freight... and most trailer tires are recapped. That "alligator" that blows off is a real killer. People have died. Be aware.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer  Grant
awnlee jawking

@Ross at Play

How long before driverless cars can interpret a temporary 'road closed sign' and the accompanying yellow (in the UK) signs with arrows indicating the route of a diversion to avoid the blockage?

There are so many unusual situations which have to be programmed into a driverless car in order to achieve full autonomy that a meatware driver can understand relatively easily.

AJ

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
awnlee jawking

@Dominions Son

I am a computer programmer. Software is only ever as good as the programmer who wrote it. Large complex applications are never/will never be bug free.


My antiquated Volkswagen has a control panel with buttons marked '+' and '-' to increase or decrease the fan speed. Sometimes the software gets confused (probably object-oriented) and pressing the '-' button increases the fan speed.

A friend recently bought a brand new Toyota for his wife. The fan controls are on a touch screen and it has exactly the same fault, the software sometimes gets confused and accelerates the fan rather than slowing it.

I shudder to think what would happen if more vital systems suffer from the same sort of problem and there's no driver to override them.

AJ

Dominions Son

@Ernest Bywater

There's no reason why the same design of system can't be put into a normal car. The reason they don't is the cost.


It's not just cost, it's driver retraining. Those kinds of breaks have to be operated differently than normal breaks.

Replies:   richardshagrin
Capt. Zapp

@awnlee jawking

the software sometimes gets confused and accelerates the fan rather than slowing it.


I rented a car once with cruise control that would spontaneously engage or change speeds. If I tapped the brake it would usually disengage - until the next time. It was a local company that was gracious enough to rent it for a trip out of town and I was on the return leg so I just dealt with it until I returned. Fortunately it didn't cause me any major headaches.

Almost all automotive systems are controlled or 'assisted' by the on-board computer these days. You can't even turn on your headlights or wipers unless the computer allows it. I hate them.

Crumbly Writer

@Grant

Higher speeds actually result in less vehicles per hour being able travel on a road, due to the impact of merging & exiting vehicles & their effects on the flow of traffic as well as slower moving vehicles within the traffic flow.

Yep, all the highways I'm thinking of (mainly those into and out of the major cities) have huge backups every time it changes from a 8-line highway down to a 7 or 6 lane highway. People just can't cope. However, all the research suggests it's best for everyone if you give up on being nice, and just drive to the very end of the lane and THEN merge, rather than merging immediately.

In short, it's all the 'nice' fuckers who screw us over. ;D

Crumbly Writer

@sejintenej

Our road safety people and police suggest the 2 second concept - the minimum distance to the vehicle in front. You can now actually be arrested for being too close though lorry drivers continue to ignore that

Again, it's against the law in the States too, but it's almost never enforced. Instead, they'll ticket you if you ride someone's bumper (get closer than a single passenger car length). The 2 or 3 second rule is, at this point, simply an amusing historical detail for most locations.

Ernest Bywater

@awnlee jawking

A friend recently bought a brand new Toyota for his wife. The fan controls are on a touch screen and it has exactly the same fault, the software sometimes gets confused and accelerates the fan rather than slowing it.


Some of those types of systems are a circuit control, and when you reach one end it wraps around to the other, and all the buttons do is to move the location along once spot on the circuit to the next rheostat setting. Thus when you reach the bottom or the top there's a major change when it switches to the other end of the circuit.

Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

The better driving schools in Australia have been teaching the 3 second gap rule for nearly 50 years, to my knowledge. It works on the basis of the vehicles needing close to the same space to stop, so you need only allow for the reaction time between when they start to slow down or stop and when you notice it and start to stop.

Driving defensively is fine, just remember to stay out of the passing lane, or else you'll piss off everyone who's in a hurry to get somewhere, and cause more problems than you solve by being overly cautious. Modern driving isn't centered around safety, but in getting the most people to their destinations in the shortest amount of time. Occasional multi-vehicle crashes are simply seen as the 'cost of doing business', both by the drivers and by the cops. :(

Ernest Bywater

@Capt. Zapp

If I tapped the brake it would usually disengage


Every cruise control I've ever used has worked by disengaging when the brake is touched. It's a fail safe system so the motor won't run away in an emergency if your foot comes off the brake. Mind you, they do the reverse with the accelerator in that you can accelerate and they drop back to the control setting when you let off it.

Of course, we can't forget the great 'fly-by-wire' (is computer controlled) commercial planes that have crashed because the computers wouldn't let the pilots override their safety settings.

Replies:   Capt. Zapp
Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

Driving defensively is fine, just remember to stay out of the passing lane,


It works in the passing lane too. Just sit the 3 seconds behind the car in front, and when he pulls over you sped up a bit to pass him or pull back in front of the last car you passed. The beauty of the three second rule is it works at any speed, so it works when speeding as well.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@graybyrd

In five years of driving Class A license long-haul 18-wheel rigs (over 600,000 miles in 47 states (missed Maine) and three Canadian provinces, I found the ONLY effective defensive driving measure was to allow several vehicle lengths between my rig and the vehicle ahead. And to focus on the vehicles ahead of that one... to track whatever would cause that followed vehicle to react.

Driving a rig (or a semi) is a different ballgame than driving cars or 'simple' trucks. That's because of the multiple gears they have to go through, they can't slow and speed up as easily as most automatic cars, meaning if they slow, it'll take a long time to get back to cruising speed. If you cut off a rig, you're likely to hear their air-horn, as it pisses 'em off somethin' fierce!

However, for most other vehicles, those restrictions are a thing of the past, as their engines accelerate quickly.

Crumbly Writer

@awnlee jawking

How long before driverless cars can interpret a temporary 'road closed sign' and the accompanying yellow (in the UK) signs with arrows indicating the route of a diversion to avoid the blockage?

In most cases, 'driverless cars' require a substantial upgrade in highways to support automated flagging of traffic patterns, construction included. Until that happens, at substantial taxpayer expense, it'll never happen. Thus expect it to only be implemented in a few 'well-off' cities that can afford it. However, the driverless phenomenon is mostly finances by the Uber crowd, who want the service of an Uber cab without the fear of an unregulated driver who might harass or assault you (or be drunk or stoned). Thus it's more likely to be regulated to cities and larger towns.

Crumbly Writer

@awnlee jawking

I shudder to think what would happen if more vital systems suffer from the same sort of problem and there's no driver to override them.

All the driverless cars, at the moment at least, require someone to sit in the driver's seat, so they can (at least in theory) take over in case something goes wrong (as if someone sexting their gf can react to a multicar pile-up during a sudden downpour).

Crumbly Writer

@Capt. Zapp

Almost all automotive systems are controlled or 'assisted' by the on-board computer these days. You can't even turn on your headlights or wipers unless the computer allows it. I hate them.

The biggest trouble with most automated engine systems, is they use the exact same controllers that runs the entertainment system (i.e. it's accessible to hacking). Thus once they start driverless cars (or even worse, trucks), it's only a limited time until someone decides to 'take over and teach them a lesson).

Since the software techniques to access the car engine's system is generally dispersed across the internet, and idiot can figure out how to accomplish it (just like most idiots can figure out how to have you car open the doors and start the engine without a key now).

Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

The beauty of the three second rule is it works at any speed, so it works when speeding as well.

I'm assuming you've never driven into Manhattan, Houston or D.C. during the week (off-peak hours, when the speeds slow to a basic crawl). If there's not much congestion, then the 3-second rule makes the most sense, but when the entire highway is filled with overly aggressive corporate types, in a hurry to get nowhere, things get out of hand quickly.

REP
Updated:

@Dominions Son


Large complex applications are never/will never be bug free.


I managed a technical writing/training department for a large R&D Defense Contractor. I worked with computer programmers, so I am very much aware that what you say is true.

My company was having problems with one of its Army customers. Lots of bugs in the system software. They took about 6-8 months to focus of fixing all the bugs. Had a party with the customer to celebrate the software being "Hard As Nails". Then further bugs made themselves known.

Top Down-Bottoms Up is a good way to develop a software program. To bad, there isn't a similar approach used to evaluate Bug Fixes.

Capt. Zapp

@Ernest Bywater

If I tapped the brake it would usually disengage

Every cruise control I've ever used has worked by disengaging when the brake is touched.


I realize that. What I was pointing out was that I was fortunate that THAT actually worked after the CC spontaneously decided to engage or speed up.

Crumbly Writer

Thread drift is a funny thing. How we ever went from Amazon previews to computer automation of cars is beyond me. :)

Replies:   awnlee jawking
Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

Driving defensively is fine, just remember to stay out of the passing lane


In my state, Wisconsin, as a matter of law, there is no such thing as a passing lane. All lanes are for through traffic and the same speed limit applies across all lanes.

While there are "slower traffic keep right" signs, they are a courtesy reminder only, they have no force of law. You can't be ticketed for driving too slow in the left lane unless you are under the posted minimum speed.

The pass on the left, not the right rule is for two lane (single lane per direction) roads only. Basically don't use the shoulder for passing.

On any multi-lane / direction road it is perfectly legal to use any open lane for passing.

Replies:   sejintenej
awnlee jawking

@Crumbly Writer

A circular drift? Aren't Amazon developing driverless cars?

AJ

richardshagrin

@Dominions Son

Brakes break.

Dominions Son

@richardshagrin

Brakes break.


There is a significant and vital difference between push the break pedal to release the breaks and push the break pedal to apply the breaks.

Confusing the two could get someone dead.

Grant
Updated:

@graybyrd

In five years of driving Class A license long-haul 18-wheel rigs (over 600,000 miles in 47 states (missed Maine) and three Canadian provinces, I found the ONLY effective defensive driving measure was to allow several vehicle lengths between my rig and the vehicle ahead. And to focus on the vehicles ahead of that one... to track whatever would cause that followed vehicle to react.

Yep.
That's the way I drive my car, and ride my bikes.

Give myself time to react, and try to see what is going on up ahead, and not just the vehicle immediately in front of me.

One out of ten would pass, usually on my right (illegal passing) and crowd ahead, then ease off the gas and force me to drop my cruise control and slow. Then they'd notice their lag, and they'd hammer down and speed away.

A sign they are too stupid to be allowed to drive IMHO.

Never run beside a big truck in hot weather, unless you'd like to win the lottery of having a thrown tread--50 or 60 lbs of two-inch thick rubber--come through your windshield.

Or in to your head if you are a motorcyclist.

Up here in the NT (Northern Territory) we have Road Trains. A Prime mover (I think in the US they call them tractors?) and 3 trailers. Overall length up to 55 metres (53.5m bumper to bumper).

I always sit way back when following large tucks (6+ seconds) as we get a lot of road kill up here (not to mention retread casings galore), and while a road train might be able to pass over it without problems, hitting it with a car could be fatal. Doing it on a bike would be.

Plus from back there, when I go to overtake i'm pretty much up to passing speed by the time I pull out, in to the other lane. I like to spend as little time as possible in the oncoming traffic lane when over taking. Less chance of having a head on, less chance of catching a retread casing when it separates.

Unlike the brain dead numpties that sit right behind a truck, swerve out, then sit in the oncoming traffic lane while they try to get enough speed up to at least get next to the truck, then eventually pass it, then swerve wildly back in to their lane to narrowly miss the vehicle that they were about to hit head on.

Too many fucktards are allowed to drive.

Replies:   Dominions Son
sejintenej

@Dominions Son

In my state, Wisconsin, as a matter of law, there is no such thing as a passing lane. All lanes are for through traffic and the same speed limit applies across all lanes.

The pass on the left, not the right rule is for two lane (single lane per direction) roads only. Basically don't use the shoulder for passing.

On any multi-lane / direction road it is perfectly legal to use any open lane for passing

Very different to any of the European and South American countries I have driven in. Yes, the road speed limit applies to all lanes (except on some roads in the UK we have variable speed limits where in theory you could have different speed limits for different lanes).
That said, slower cars plus all lorries should drive on the inside lane (right lane in the US, left lane in the UK) and pass in the next available lane. However it works out that the middle lane is used by vehicles travelling close to the speed limit and the outside lane is for overtaking.
On a three (or more) lane dual carriageway HGVs must never enter the outside lane.
Passing on the inside is prohibited on any road except when driving very slowly past stopped traffic (for example when approaching traffic lights)

Dominions Son

@Grant

Up here in the NT (Northern Territory) we have Road Trains. A Prime mover (I think in the US they call them tractors?) and 3 trailers. Overall length up to 55 metres (53.5m bumper to bumper).


Yes we call them tractors. The whole rig is called a semi or a tractor/trailer

In the US we don't use the term road train. A semi tractor hauling two trailers would be called a double bottom. Three trailers would be a triple bottom.

Triple bottoms are prohibited in most US states, a few of the less populous states allow them, and a couple more allow them only on specific designated highways.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater  Grant
Ernest Bywater

@Dominions Son


In the US we don't use the term road train. A semi tractor hauling two trailers would be called a double bottom. Three trailers would be a triple bottom.


We have both here. A B-Double is a trailer about 50 to 60% of a normal trailer and set up especially to sit between the tractor and the main trailer. While a Road Train is a single tractor pulling between three to six normal length full sized trailers - three and four are the most common sizes:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Road_train

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0iFkKRh5kcM

Grant

@Dominions Son

Yes we call them tractors. The whole rig is called a semi or a tractor/trailer

Thanks.
I thought so as i'd seen it mentioned in stories here. When I first read it, it initially made no sense.
Here a tractor is a farm machine, and it doesn't make much sense to use a farm tractor to pull a payload on a trailer- not very fast at all. Not to mention a significant traffic hazard on a main highway.
I eventually figured it out.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son
Updated:

@Grant


When I first read it, it initially made no sense.


A look at a dictionary might have helped.

tractor

[trak-ter]

noun

1.

a powerful motor-driven vehicle with large, heavy treads, used for pulling farm machinery, other vehicles, etc.

2.

Also called truck tractor. a short truck with a driver's cab but no body, designed for hauling a trailer or semitrailer.

3. something used for drawing or pulling.

4. Aeronautics.

a. a propeller mounted at the front of an airplane, thus exerting a pull.

b. Also called tractor airplane. an airplane with a propeller so mounted.




3 is actually the primary definition. 1, 2, and 4 are all really specialized applications of 3.

Replies:   Grant  Crumbly Writer
Grant
Updated:

@Dominions Son

A look at a dictionary might have helped.

https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/tractor
Tractor

noun
A powerful motor vehicle with large rear wheels, used chiefly on farms for hauling equipment and trailers.

All depends on the dictionary you use.
Being a US story, a US dictionary would be the way to go. Even with the use of a dictionary, i'd still be rather confused until i'd looked it up.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Grant

All depends on the dictionary you use.


You missed this from your own reference:

Origin
Late 18th century (in the general sense 'someone or something that pulls'): from Latin, from tract- pulled, from the verb trahere.


The word tractor goes back to the 18th century. In other words, it predates the internal combustion engine and the earliest steam engine driven farm tractors.

Of course in England, a steam tractor wasn't for farming.

In Great Britain, the term steam tractor is more usually applied to the smallest models of traction engine - typically those weighing seven tons or less - used for hauling small loads on public roads. Although known as light steam tractors, these engines are generally just smaller versions of the 'road locomotive'.

Crumbly Writer

@richardshagrin

Brakes break.

So do people when they do.

Crumbly Writer

@Dominions Son

2. Also called truck tractor. a short truck with a driver's cab but no body, designed for hauling a trailer or semitrailer.

It wouldn't hurt to use that term "truck tractor" the first time you use the term (tractor) in a story, for all the non-Americans out there. After that, it's fine to keep repeating it.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

It wouldn't hurt to use that term "truck tractor" the first time you use the term (tractor) in a story


1. I wasn't using it in a story. nit->pick :)

2. I would probably go with semi-tractor for the first use in a story. The non-American readers might not get it right away, but it would be specific enough for them to look it up.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Dominions Son

2. I would probably go with semi-tractor for the first use in a story.

I agree. "Truck Tractor" is an unknown term in the U.S. "Semi-tractor" is a common term, which is also more detailed and easy to look up.

Replies:   Capt. Zapp
Capt. Zapp

@Crumbly Writer

Truck Tractor" is an unknown term in the U.S. "Semi-tractor" is a common term, which is also more detailed and easy to look up.


I remember when I was in the U.K. being confused at the term 'Artic' which I later found to be the shortened version of 'articulated lorry', which we in the U.S. generally refer to as a 'semi' or 'tractor-trailer'

Ernest Bywater

@Capt. Zapp

we in the U.S. generally refer to as a 'semi' or 'tractor-trailer'


This twist in the thread drift is an oddity, to me. Here in New South Wales, Australia we call the semitrailers for the combined rig, and semi for the truck by itself (some people in the industry call running the truck by itself as 'running a bob-tail'). I first came across the reference of the truck as a tractor in some US based stories by US authors where they tended to call them tractor-trailers and just a truck when no trailer - - which I found confusing at first.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
sejintenej
Updated:

@Capt. Zapp


I remember when I was in the U.K. being confused at the term 'Artic' which I later found to be the shortened version of 'articulated lorry', which we in the U.S. generally refer to as a 'semi' or 'tractor-trailer'


Good example of the differences between theoretical names and colloquial names: Someone referred to "traction engines" with one definition (which I assume is correct) whereas colloquially it is an ancient steampowered vehicle, often with metal wheels. Uses varied - road rollers, power plants using belts to power agricultural equipment ....

I have just come across some other variations

- the author refers to snow skiing whereas here skiing is always on snow unless a descriptor such as "water" is added.

- he refers to a tramway. OK so I understand that San Francisco has a famous tram running on rails let into the roas; that to me is a tram running on a tramway but this author is referring (I think) to a cable car or gondola or perhaps even a form of ski lift.

Another difference is the "tug" which pulls trailers - the power unit in an American semi.

(numerous edits due to unintended saves)

Replies:   ustourist  Grant  graybyrd
ustourist

@sejintenej

The confusion is much more notable in sports, where one country hijacked terms such as football and hockey, and created sports that were nothing like the original name, but American authors expect people to assume that when they refer to those that it is understood, even though most of the world uses the other meaning.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@ustourist

where one country hijacked terms such as football and hockey,


Wrong. Ice hockey was invented in Canada, not the US.

Replies:   sejintenej
sejintenej

@Dominions Son

Wrong. Ice hockey was invented in Canada, not the US.

3Canadian" ice hockey seems to be a variation of:

Bandy is played with a ball on a football field-sized ice arena (bandy rink), typically outdoors,

Bandy has its roots in England in the 19th century, was originally called "hockey on the ice",[9] and spread from England to other European countries around 1900; a similar Russian sport can also be seen as a predecessor and in Russia, bandy is sometimes called "Russian hockey"

The concept of hockey is said, in Wikipedia, to be around 3000 years old.

I agree with ustourist:

...more notable in sports, where one country hijacked terms such as football and hockey, and created sports that were nothing like the original name,


One can argue these things until the cows come home and never get to the bottom of it.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@sejintenej

I agree with ustourist:


Then you are both wrong.

One can argue these things until the cows come home and never get to the bottom of it.


Except in this case, it very easy to get to the bottom of it. I don't dispute that the terms football and hockey were hijacked.

However, one was hijacked by the US (football) and the other was hijacked by Canada (Hockey). Not one country, but two different countries.

That modern ice hockey originated in Canada is well documented.

Crumbly Writer
Updated:

@Ernest Bywater


This twist in the thread drift is an oddity, to me. Here in New South Wales, Australia we call the semitrailers for the combined rig, and semi for the truck by itself (some people in the industry call running the truck by itself as 'running a bob-tail'). I first came across the reference of the truck as a tractor in some US based stories by US authors where they tended to call them tractor-trailers and just a truck when no trailer - - which I found confusing at first.


That usage is found in the States too ("semi" in reference to the cab), though it seems restricted to the truckers themselves, as it's never caught on with the general public. For them, the entire assembly is the semi (in which case, they need to ask "semi-what?").

I've also heard truckers (back in my CB days) use the term "bob-tail" too.

By the way, tramway seems to be more often used (at least in America) to refer to 'cable cars' that run across the sky (like ski lifts, or to cross wide distances in the mountains (there's one on Roosevelt Island in Manhattan, as well as the famous one in Argentina).

Replies:   graybyrd
Grant

@sejintenej

- he refers to a tramway. OK so I understand that San Francisco has a famous tram running on rails let into the roas; that to me is a tram running on a tramway but this author is referring (I think) to a cable car or gondola or perhaps even a form of ski lift.

Here in Australia (or at least in South Australia) a Tram line refers to a tram line that is either along a road or a private right of way (like a train line). A Tramway is only for lines that run along a private right of way.

graybyrd

@sejintenej

Another difference is the "tug" which pulls trailers - the power unit in an American semi.


A "tug" as applied to trucks and trailers is a highly specialized "tractor" that is basically a short cab-over (cab atop the engine) design with a bob-tail fifth wheel hitch that is generally hydraulically operated to engage/disengage the semi-trailers without getting out of the cab. They're sometimes called "yard dogs" as they're used for shuffling trailers from the yard to the loading docks and back again at large freight yards. Also, the short frame allows much easier backing and parking of the standard 53-foot trailer in crowded lanes. Over-the-road tractors are much longer, making it difficult to back and cramp a 53-foot trailer into a tight area.

As for multiple trailer "trains," there are limited allowances for tandem 53-foot trailers, known as "turnpike doubles" where operation is permitted on turnpikes and freeways, but not elsewhere. Tandem and triple 'trains' using 48-foot trailers (or sometimes shorter) is more common. The trucker term for these, especially the triples, is 'wiggly wagons' as they oscillate from side to side rather like a snake following the tractor. It was common along snow routes such as Interstate 80 in Wyoming to post prohibitions for multi-trailer rigs during storm events. The bans also applied to single-axle tractors sometimes used for pulling multiple trailers; these were always cab-over tractors to fit within overall length restrictions (tractor plus trailers). While I was driving, a triples-driver ignored the ban and lost control of his 'train' in an I-80 Wyoming blizzard. He killed a family of five.

Replies:   StarFleet Carl
graybyrd

@Crumbly Writer

That usage is found in the States too ("semi" in reference to the cab), though it seems restricted to the truckers themselves, as it's never caught on with the general public. For them, the entire assembly is the semi (in which case, they need to ask "semi-what?").


I've heard four-wheelers (car drivers) refer to big rigs as "semi's) but they generally don't understand what the term really means. It refers to the trailer, which cannot support itself as the front axles and wheels are missing. Instead, there is a circular plate on which is mounted in its center a heavy steel pin. This trailer plate is latched to and rides atop a heavily greased 'fifth wheel' plate on the tractor. It's the tractor axles and wheels that support the front of the 'semi' trailer. When parked, the driver cranks down a trailer landing gear to support the trailer's front half.

If the semi-trailer is to be used in a 'train', an independent set of axles with a hitch bar, a fifth wheel, and one or two axles are slid under the front of the semi-trailer, essentially turning it into a 'wagon' to be towed behind another trailer. This becomes an unstable towing arrangement, hence the oscillations and 'wiggly wagon' slang description.

StarFleet Carl

@graybyrd

Tandem and triple 'trains' using 48-foot trailers (or sometimes shorter) is more common.


The actual name that our DOT uses for them is tridem. They're all over the roads here. (And I mean that in both ways - lots of them on the roads, and like you said, that third trailer 'wiggles' all over the place.)

Back to Top