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Hot Rods Safety and driving with traffic

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Joe H, Oct 21, 2019.

  1. Joe H
    Joined: Feb 10, 2008
    Posts: 794

    Joe H

    I took my '37 out yesterday, Kansas City to Mokan drag strip for the Hotrod reunion race. It's an easy 130 mile drive on interstate. My truck will run 70 to 80 mph all day long with a 250 inline six and 3.08 gears. The truck has stock front axle with all new parts, new springs all around, new tires, front sway bar, and disk / drum brakes. I have done all I can to make it road worthy and safe, including three point seat belts. I have had the truck on the road for 19 years now. I got to thinking while driving 75 mph and keeping up with traffic, this is about twice the speed the truck was designed for, and what could happen if it goes off the road or someone else does something stupid. The truck has a really quick steering response, so high speed lane changes or maneuvers are risky. It does stop really good.

    Does this worry anyone else? Does one need airbags, padded dash,and crumple zones to feel safe? Do you drive slower and risk a traffic back up? I tend to keep back from traffic but still keep up with them, or stay in front, I seldom stay in a crowd. Its interstate for a long way any direction to get out of the Kansas City area, so affording it is really an option.

  2. anthony myrick
    Joined: Sep 4, 2009
    Posts: 5,045

    anthony myrick

  3. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 44,346


    I never got around to putting seat belts in the Hudson before I went on a 4400 mile trip last August. I didn't worry too much about it. Usually that was because I had to worry more about keeping the car working!

    But I usually try to drive a little bit slower than traffic, so most folks pass me, and I don't have to pass others too often.

    I don't dwell on how badly I'll be mangled if something bad happens, because I know it won't be pretty. The odds of getting in an accident even in an old car are pretty low, but they are not zero. Keep in mind that about 40,000 or more Americans die on our highways every year, in modern cars that have all that safety stuff. And two thirds of those are wearing their seat belts, and are not drunk, and are not on the phone.
  4. If you are paranoid every time you drive your hot rod at speed how can you relax and enjoy the ride.

    Personally I believe when your time comes, whether your driving your hot rod or stretched out in your recliner watching a football game your time is up.

    Do whatever makes you comfortable in your hot rod or custom, as far as all the safety equipment I have seat belts and a fire extinguisher, that's it. HRP
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  5. Chappy444
    Joined: Jan 27, 2012
    Posts: 972

    1. Maryland HAMBers

    I have had my coupe on the interstate one time... I was in the right lane doing about 60-65. Thankfully it was a light traffic day and I wasn't holding up anyone forcing them to ride my a$$. I don't care to do it again but its nice to know that I can manage it if necessary.
    I prefer to take the scenic route with the hot rod... it just seems like the right thing to do to me.
  6. GordonC
    Joined: Mar 6, 2006
    Posts: 1,702


    Drive at whatever speed you feel comfortable with. You don't have to do 70 or 80. You do have to do the minimum speed limit tho and as long as you aren't out in the passing lane blocking traffic you should be good. If folks need to get around you they can. If you need all the other items to feel safe then you shouldn't be driving the truck on the interstate.
  7. dana barlow
    Joined: May 30, 2006
    Posts: 3,644

    dana barlow
    from Miami Fla.

    Sounds to me,you got the right way too deal with other cars,keeping space {more then most is great when you can}. I have a hot rod 28A an drive same way,look out for those that cut ya off,or running beside me try to take pic's an get too close even at 70. I don't even think about airbag,but do use seatbelts. The MC riders that fly by me,some seem to have airbag in there helmet;LOL
    No,I don't worry about it other then that. I do enjoy running with other hot rods on trips.
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2019
  8. The speed limit on the Interstate out here is 75. If you go 80, some body will have to go by you about 85-90 just to let you know they can. I just let them go, knowing I could easily catch and pass them at any time if I want to!

    About the only time I think about the traffic, is in town where everybody thinks they need the space you leave in front of your car in case something gets harry.

    Then there's the perpetual tailgater that has to follow so close, that all you can see in the rear view mirror, is their windshield. Sometimes I intentionally go slow just to p--- them off. :D I do like the 3rd brake light though.

    Airbags, I don't think so...
  9. I drive my old cars the same as I do my new ones, I don’t worry about it. I am one of the terrible people who endanger my children by letting them ride in them, including one in a car seat

    Sent from my iPhone using H.A.M.B.
    61Cruiser, loudbang, catdad49 and 3 others like this.
  10. Jalopy Joker
    Joined: Sep 3, 2006
    Posts: 23,976

    Jalopy Joker

    more worry in stop'n'go traffic than high speeds, especially during rush hour traffic - which in some areas lasts most of the day -
  11. trollst
    Joined: Jan 27, 2012
    Posts: 1,599


    I rode for years, drove old cars even longer, I know one day they may kill me, but I enjoy driving them. I had a widow maker in my yard on a sunday morning, luckily lived through it, so death can happen anywhere. Its coming, so I enjoy the ride.
    bobss396 and seadog like this.
  12. RmK57
    Joined: Dec 31, 2008
    Posts: 1,221


    I keep thinking about the couple in the green woody wagon that was rear ended. What a mess and it happens when least expect it. At least lap belts are are a good idea if only to keep from getting ejected from the car.
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2019
    DenK and loudbang like this.
  13. Turnipseed
    Joined: Oct 26, 2010
    Posts: 92


    I ride a motorcycle and drive a T-Bucket. I just try to be as careful as I can. I prefer the back roads, but will take the interstate if needed. I'm usually not in any hurry when I'm on my bike or in the bucket.
    Driver50x and catdad49 like this.
  14. Cheater Chrome
    Joined: Sep 13, 2019
    Posts: 38

    Cheater Chrome
    from So Cal

    I think about it every now and then, but when I'm on the road it doesn't cross my mind too much. I put a lap belt in for my kids, but have yet to put one in for myself. I try not to drive much in heavy traffic on these So Cal freeways but its just part of the gig out here. It's real fun when these bias ply tires grab some of the grooves and splits in the freeway going 70mph! Ha! The biggest bummer is when I get stuck in stop and go traffic- that takes all the fun out of driving in all vehicles but especially in an old pick up truck.
    catdad49 likes this.
  15. 66gmc
    Joined: Dec 4, 2005
    Posts: 475


    Vehicles are only as safe as the person behind the wheel. I just drive mine within their limitations and stay aware of my surroundings. One thing I have found with old trucks is it doesnt matter how fast you go people still want to pass you, so I just go slow and let the idiots fly by. This doesnt happen as often with old cars for some reason??
  16. Joe H
    Joined: Feb 10, 2008
    Posts: 794

    Joe H

    The truck drives so nice at highway speeds, its easy to forget all the bad things that can happen. Next trip out though, I will slow down and enjoy the ride a little more. About 25 miles around I-435 with it's 6 lanes of 65 mph idiots will do a fellow in, even in a newer car, I avoid it at all costs. At night or at dusk, I tend to follow semi trucks, figure they will knock out any deer or true idiots before I get to them! On a side note, MOKAN put on a pretty good drag race, even though not many showed up, it made the trip worth it.
  17. Petejoe
    Joined: Nov 27, 2002
    Posts: 10,270

    from Zoar, Ohio

    Everyday driver or the old ones I drive, I always drive either 5 mph faster or 5 mph slower than the traffic around me. It gives you more space for emergency maneuvers.
    When it all comes down to it.
    "None of us is getting out of here alive"
    Hombre, Charlie K and seb fontana like this.
  18. I have never understood "Keeping up with traffic". I hear people say I built my to run 75-80 miles an hour. I always point out the speed limit is 55 M.P.H. two lane state roads 65 M.P.H. Interstate. I don't drive my modern truck over the speed limit.

    Two weeks ago I got it to it with I guy at work about my speed on the way to work.
    It was 5:30 A.M. dark and foggy and on a two lane state road, I was running 45 M.P.H. about 10 miles from work he passes me going 65 plus.
    As I walked in the door he was just coming out of the break room still wearing he coat (he clearly had just walk in before me) shooting he mouth off about passing me.

    I asked "What did you gain by doing that!!? Two minutes? What about the fact you passed me in a heavy deer crossing area? And what about the fact just as you got back in the lane a car came out of the fog coming the opposite way?"
    He ran his mouth some more and said "That's what insurance is for."
    I said "Lucky You! I have to fix mine myself!"
    catdad49 likes this.
  19. 2935ford
    Joined: Jan 6, 2006
    Posts: 3,214


    When I drive any sole job......driving. If my cell beeps,or rings too bad, I'll get it when I reach my destination. I have driven long enough to pretty much know what people are going to do before they do it. Even with delayed green lights, I am cautious as I pull into the intersection always aware of Mr. T Bone lurking. Yes, I'm speed limit slow and folks get frustrated with me but their option.........go around! The few times I get the digit sent my way, as the fool goes by, I just smile!
    My first maiden run in my Tudor told me high speed and touchy steering.......not a good combo, so, I don't.
    In my stock A coupe, I yield the road when in single lane conditions. Folks often honk when I do this as a thank you.
    Driving my old iron is still a pleasure.
    61Cruiser, catdad49 and LAROKE like this.
  20. I think one item to consider, and it's probably not a HAMB-friendly suggestion is... If LED lighting (taillights, etc) are available for your ride, it may be a good idea to upgrade, if you haven't already. I'll be rewiring my '56 in the coming months, and as much as I'm trying to stay away from certain modernizations, I've had to make my peace with I will likely upgrade to LED lights atleast in the back to help reduce the chances of a rear-end collision. May not prevent it, but I'd rather do something preventative than nothing at all. Love'm or hate'm the original bulbs may not be as bright and eye-catching as the modern solutions. Part of my rational is the following distances of some people are horrible, maybe more so in heavy commute areas, like where I live.

  21. Sting Ray
    Joined: Mar 24, 2012
    Posts: 916

    Sting Ray

    I find that driving an old car it doesn't matter what speed I'm going everybody has to pass me even if I'm over the speed limit or "keeping up with traffic". Everybody likes an old car unless they're behind it.
  22. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 26,098


    I've probably got 300K on the 48 since 1973. It was my daily driver for most of the time between 1975 and 2003. Having been driving since before some of the above mentioned cars and trucks were even built I grew up understanding the need for extra stopping distance with drum brakes, I learned to drive in a 54 Chevy pickup so I beam axles have been part of my life for 60 years. I learned to drive by driving my step father home from the Bucket of Blood Tavern on Bainbridge Island Wa when I was 12.

    I like to have a 1 reflective marker space (not sure all states have them but this state has plastic things sticking up about every 50 yards with a reflector on them) that gives me enough space to be able to see far enough ahead to see what is going on ahead of me and be able to take evasive actions if I have to. I always try to know where my out is in heavier traffic and prefer the far right lane most of the time. The big problem with having that space is that self absorbed drivers with boxes with wheels think that I left it so they had room to pull over in front of me and then I have to back off to give myself more room.
    The main thing is to drive within your comfort zone and within the limits of the vehicle you are driving even if you have power to lead the pack down the long roads. The speed limit in parts of Idaho, utah and Wyoming is 80 on the freeway and the roads are built to do it. That doesn't mean you have to do it though.

    When you think about it though, a lot of guys on here up into their mid 40's may never have driven a drum brake ride or a vehicle with an I beam front axle until they got their "enthusiast" ride. Some have never driven a rig without 4 wheel disk and ABS before they got their hot rod. That might be part of the fear.

    As far as the actual vehicle safety issues, the worst thing on our old rides isn't drum brakes or skinny tires. It is that 4 ft long solid steel rod that the steering wheel sets on that is aimed directly at our chests. If you get in direct frontal impact wreck that is what is going to kill you. Second is being thrown around or out if you don't have decent seat belts and from experience it is a whole lot better to have a seat belt on if you hydroplane on a puddle and spin out. My 48 has spunout on water on the road three times. Twice in Texas and once here all due to wide tires with tread that didn't work with water well. Firestone N-50 14 Bias tires didn't handle rain at all.
    Still the best advice I can give is to learn to know what is going on as far ahead of you as you can see on the road. Don't just watch the car ahead of you waiting to react to it's brake lights. Keep an idea of what is going on way up the road, what that Semi is doing, what that guy in the late model Mustang that blew by you a few seconds ago is doing when he is switching lanes to work through traffic because he thinks everyone is going too slow even though the group of vehicles you are with has been moving along quite smoothly at at a decent pace for the past 30 miles. I thought I was going to see one of the famous US 97 head on wrecks a week ago when some clown in an Suv decided that he had enough power to pass 4 cars and a semi and didn't see the earth tone sedan coming towards us with his headlights off until he was beside the semi. He made it and we didn't have to give reports to the state patrol but the guy in the tan car probably needed to change his skivvies. Turn the damned headlights on in the daytime on the highway no matter if the cool guys or folks from your ethnic background don't do it back home.
  23. Good point!

    I don't remember where I got the information about 10-15 years ago... but I try to watch the car ahead of the car I'm following, either through the next car's windshield or around the side of it on curves. It's a small but effective trick that I think has saved my bacon on a few different occassions. I start braking earlier when braking is needed, and more importantly when the traffic ahead is panic-braking. Since my daily-driver is a '01 Silverado 4x4 I can usually look mostly over the top the top of the vehicle in front of me, as needed to monitor the traffic ahead of the person I'm following.
    BigO and TrailerTrashToo like this.
  24. Gman0046
    Joined: Jul 24, 2005
    Posts: 5,773


    Theres a lot of cobbled up old cars out there I wouldn't be comfortable riding in at 80 MPH plus.
  25. blackanblue
    Joined: Feb 20, 2009
    Posts: 416


    New Jersey turnpike then New York thruway with a 66 year old truck and camper I'm still unpuckering two weeks later.
    Lepus, 6inarow, catdad49 and 2 others like this.
  26. There is something to be said for safety in numbers but I will relate the incident that happen on the way to Atlanta a good number of years ago we ran into a construction zone on the interstate, we would speed up and the get on the rakes hard because some idiot up ahead thought they could make better time diving into every small opening ahead of them.

    This went on for several miles and the 8 of us got separated, but it seems Mike driving a '32 Chevy sedan and his dad driving a '36 Ford sedan had someone slam on brakes and Mike just tapped the offender but his dad plowed into his Chevy, it did a lot of damage to both cars but we were able to get to our destination, we removed and repaired the radiator in the 36 and used a bungee cord to hold the hood down, the bent up grille was in the back seat, Mike Chevy had a big tire mounted on the back of his Chevy and although the tire pushed in on the back of the body the damage was minimal compared to his dads car. HRP
    BigO and dana barlow like this.
  27. LAROKE
    Joined: Sep 5, 2007
    Posts: 1,539


    "Safety" is relative. There are many on the roads in the latest cocoon, convinced of their invincibility, clueless about the capabilities of their vehicle, who are in much greater danger than I am at the same speed in my hot rod. Everything you do in life has it's risks.
  28. Chainsaw chipper
    Joined: Nov 29, 2007
    Posts: 156

    Chainsaw chipper
    from Illinois

    I think about it a lot,driving my 29 sedan delivery I had a semi so close behind me I could not read the brand emblem on the grill shell.He must have thought it was cute to have a small truck in front of a big truck.I always stayed out of harms way in it but not everyone has the same fear Of what could happen.We came close to getting taken out a few years back outside of Milwaukee by some crazed mini van driver that hit me four times as he was passing me,again I was in the right hand lane.He left in a ambulance,My f150 four door continued on the rest of a 500 mile trip with the drivers side beat in,and the running board and mirror held in place with Green Bay duct tape.I love duct tape .Go Packers
    BigO likes this.
  29. anthony myrick
    Joined: Sep 4, 2009
    Posts: 5,045

    anthony myrick

  30. 41rodderz
    Joined: Sep 27, 2010
    Posts: 3,396

    from Oregon

    Get out to Idaho, Wyoming, Kansas and it's " Katy bar the door". Posted speed limits are 70 mph plus. At 65 mph you will get run over. The other fun route is the beltway around D.C.
    OLSKOOL57, Montana1 and BigO like this.

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