Tram drivers have nerves of steel

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/06/09/tram-drivers-have-nerves-of-st.html

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I had to look up statistics:

In Helsinki, Finland, more than 200 collisions happened between trams and vehicles in 2009. Most of the accidents happened when a car driver turned his vehicle in front of a tram. 29 persons were injured, but no one died. If all small touches between trams and car mirrors are included, 347 accidents happened in 2009.[13] Helsinki is a city of approx. 590 000 inhabitants, 9 tram routes in the inner city, 130 tram, 49,5 kilometers of tram routes and approx. 200 000 passengers on tram per day.[14] These figures can be compared with the 5,37 million kilometres driven by trams in Helsinki in 2008.[15]

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I’d feel kinda dumb turning infront of one of these.

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The physics is similar with big city buses. One morning commute, our driver was hit nearly head-on by a car driver who was driving in the direction of the sunrise. It barely felt like a nudge to us passengers.

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I remember being taught in the driving school that the tram always has the right of way, even if it drops in front of you from the sky.

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According to sources this was blasting in the tram…

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A variant from back when I was in drivers’ ed was that “Arizona law might say that you have the right of way, but if the laws of physics say otherwise, bet on the physics.”

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Drops in front of you from the sky???

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Damn good drivers (and their trainers, as well)! unsarcastic applause

I would think the tram should have a horn so you can at least have a chance at warning the dummy. Or maybe it does but they just don’t care?

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They have a horn, certainly, but these accidents all showed very little time between normal traffic flow and “Oh, crap.” By the time the drivers can react, I’d guess they’re busier stopping the tram safely.

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I saw this on Reddit a couple of weeks ago and it was quite amazing. I don’t know if it’s nerves of steel so much as learned experience.

In every case the driver has applied the brakes, often times well in advance of the actual crash (knowing full well a collision is imminent). They also know that whatever they are hitting is almost certainly going to be on the losing end of the exchange.

Just another Tuesday.

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It’s like with freight trains between Norway and Sweden up in the north. If the driver sees a group of reindeer on the track he just turns on the wipers, it’s all he can do.

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The maxim I use is “the vehicle with the most lug nuts wins.”

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truly the internet is full of wonders.

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I was on a Toronto streetcar that hit a cab running a light at a right angle to us, and what we felt was the driver ramming on the brakes, not the impact.

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Yeah, I was going to say - it helps one’s nerves if you can see the accident coming well before it happens (and know you can’t do anything to stop it). Also, knowing it’s primarily going to be the car driver’s issue must help - as far as the tram driver is concerned, it’s an instance of, “Uh oh, here comes some paperwork.”

I met someone who drove a double-decker bus in London, which is almost as bad in terms of maneuverability and stopping distance, and she seemed to have a pretty relaxed attitude about collisions. She said something along the lines of, “What some people don’t seem to understand is: they have to get out of my way.”

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They actually have a bell. You can hear it in the video, it is the muted “rriiiiiing” in the background once the driver starts braking (the audio is crappy). I think the bell is triggered automatically when the emergency brakes are activated on these Czech trams.

This is what it normally sounds like:

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Pretty sure they know who’s gonna win. There might be a different reaction to a concrete truck.

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This is the tram driver. It’s pretty bad-ass. Look out, here comes a car! You think the tram driver cares? Tram driver don’t care.

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