Invisible Prius?

Discussion in 'Gen 3 Prius Main Forum' started by spudnut, Jun 17, 2021.

  1. spudnut

    spudnut Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2016
    110
    134
    0
    Location:
    Idaho Falls/Pocatello, ID
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius Plug-in
    Model:
    Plug-in Base
    On my 14 mile drive into town yesterday, on a secondary 2 lane highway with a 45 mph limit, I had two odd occurrences. The first was a small SUV pulling out from a home, that waited for cars passing in the opposite direction I was going to pass,, then he checked the lane I was driving in for oncoming traffic, I think we even made eye contact, and then he pulled out in front of me. I could have easily T-boned him if I hadn't been paying attention, as it was it took very hard braking and a little swerve to maintain clearance. I got a good luck at his face, from 5' away: utter shock, he never saw me coming!

    8 miles later, I see a pickup in the opposing lane pull over, and the driver get out, a few hundred yards in front of me. He looks across the road at the freeway exit he had just taken, looks in the bed of his truck for a second, back at the exit, then checks for oncoming traffic (ME....) and walks out into the road! Again, heavy braking on my part, and utter shock on his part. And chagrin, like he couldn't believe what he had just did. I considered stopping and telling him about my other incident just minutes later, and asking him (in a totally non confrontational way, just being curious) how could he have failed to see me, OR, if he had just misjudged my closure speed. I should mention I was pulling my light single axle utility trailer, with a tractor box blade strapped to it, not enough weight to make much stopping difference (no anymore than a full load of passengers, I was solo) and not an issue there, I'm just glad I had the load well secured.

    These two incidents were not cases of "Prius dissing", they just didn't see me or badly misjudged my speed, which both times was at or well below the normal flow in the area, making it even odder. Blizzard white gen3, and it was 89 degrees out, broad daylight. 50+ years of driving, this struck me as damn odd, twice within minutes, I will continue to drive like I am on a motorcycle, very defensively, it paid off twice within minutes.
     
  2. rjparker

    rjparker Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2008
    3,359
    1,709
    2
    Location:
    Texas Hill Country
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius v wagon
    Model:
    Three
    I am pretty sure people see the small front profile and assume the Prius is much further away. This combined with a perception that Prii are driven slowly causes a problem from time to time.
     
    Samuel Williams Jr likes this.
  3. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

    Joined:
    May 11, 2005
    93,035
    42,156
    0
    Location:
    boston
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius Plug-in
    Model:
    Plug-in Base
    i just find people completely rude these days
     
  4. xliderider

    xliderider Senior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2012
    6,683
    2,436
    0
    Location:
    Honolulu, HI
    Vehicle:
    2011 Prius
    Model:
    Three
    We've had many similar experiences in our winter gray metallic Prius, people don't seem to see the car and pull out of driveways or turn out as if we weren't there.

    That's why I added DRLs, in some form or other, to our 2011.

    Currently, it's LED foglights, wired to be on in Ready Mode, wrapped in yellow vinyl film for better daytime visibility.

    This has made a huge difference and has virtually eliminated the problem.

    I've also installed FIAMM freeway blaster hi/lo tone very loud horns for the rare times that the inattentive driver needs a reminder that we are there. Most commonly a lane change into their blind spot, where we are. 20200817_155247.jpeg

    Posted via the PriusChat mobile app.
     
    #4 xliderider, Jun 17, 2021
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2021
  5. mmmodem

    mmmodem Senior Taste Tester

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2011
    2,653
    1,620
    0
    Location:
    Bay Area, CA
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius Plug-in
    Model:
    Plug-in Base
    Yup, I think they saw you just fine and just plain don't care. My experience is it happens quite often in rural two lane roads regardless if you're in a Prius or not.
     
  6. Grit

    Grit Senior Member

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2017
    5,121
    3,650
    1
    Location:
    Wilkes Land
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius
    Model:
    Four
    Click bait. I expected a new Prius or modified Prius that can make its solid particles suspend apart in mid air as it travels like the book “Prey” by Michael Critchton. Subject headline should be changed to careless drivers.
     
    Krall likes this.
  7. Johnny Cakes

    Johnny Cakes Senior Member

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2016
    769
    597
    2
    Location:
    Virginia, USA
    Vehicle:
    2015 Prius
    Model:
    Five
    bisco likes this.
  8. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2009
    14,911
    8,333
    90
    Location:
    Western Washington
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius
    Model:
    Three
    With mental distractions, humans can be astoundingly bad at noticing things that should be blindingly obvious. Have you ever heard of the Gorilla Experiment, where a person in a gorilla suit walks into a basketball scene, stops in the middle and pounds his chest, then walks out? Half of the participating observers don't notice it at all:

    The Invisible Gorilla: And Other Ways Our Intuitions Deceive Us
    'Invisible Gorilla' Test Shows How Little We Notice | Live Science
    But Did You See the Gorilla? The Problem With Inattentional Blindness |Science | Smithsonian Magazine
    Bet You Didn't Notice 'The Invisible Gorilla' : NPR

    A few years back, at a red flashing traffic light where a side street meets main street, my dad looked but didn't see the tractor-trailer coming along main street. That is, until he T-boned into the trailer's rear wheels. (Thankfully, after a couple years of prodding, he quit driving a few months later.)
     
    Mendel Leisk likes this.
  9. Elektroingenieur

    Elektroingenieur Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2017
    2,136
    2,875
    9
    Location:
    California
    Vehicle:
    2016 Prius
    Model:
    Three Touring
    Were the headlights or daytime running lights turned on?
    Indeed—using daytime running lights or low-beam headlights for improved conspicuity is a well-known, effective safety measure. Minnesota DOT has a summary of research in this area as of 2011 (PDF).
    Perhaps Toyota will catch up to Aston Martin someday.
     
  10. BZzap!

    BZzap! Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2012
    1,575
    851
    0
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius
    Model:
    Two
    I never drive without my DRL’s on. People misjudge the speeds that are way too high on surface streets. 40-45 MPH are common posted speeds on streets that have secondary cross traffic. Trust no one!!!
     
  11. tvpierce

    tvpierce Senior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2015
    933
    849
    2
    Location:
    Maine
    Vehicle:
    2013 Prius v wagon
    Model:
    Five
    In motorcycling, we call an incident like that a "SMIDSY": Sorry Mate, I Didn't See You! People are looking for the large frontal area of a car. When they don't see that, the brain tells them the coast is clear, and they progress. My thoery on this is that as vehicles tend to get larger, drivers are slowly becoming conditioned to look for larger frontal areas. But that's just my uneducated hypothesis.

    In any event, let's be careful out there!
     
    Samuel Williams Jr likes this.
  12. ETC(SS)

    ETC(SS) The OTHER One Percenter.....

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2010
    6,882
    5,703
    0
    Location:
    Redneck Riviera (Gulf South)
    Vehicle:
    2010 Prius
    Model:
    II
    Turn on your headlights.
    …leave them on.

    I have people turn out in front of me every now and then.
    It’s not because they didn’t see me, but rather they presumed that I had enough time to slow down, and they just didn’t give a rats.

    I don’t take it personally because I get paid by the hour, and windshield time pays me as much as troubleshooting a cellular outage.
    My rule of thumb is that if I have to tap the brakes a little bit, then you did not “cut me off” but rather I let you into traffic and “WE” are making more efficient use of the road.

    NOT judging the OP AT ALL but sometimes people do not understand the difference.

    If you think it’s a visibility thing, then turn on your headlights.

    MY Light switch stays on for months at a time.
    It would be ALL the time, but every now and then somebody else will drive my car and turn them off.
     
  13. Valiant V

    Valiant V Member

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2021
    239
    157
    0
    Location:
    Winnsboro, TX
    Vehicle:
    2017 Prius
    Model:
    Three
    Makes no difference if you drive a Prius, a pickup truck, minivan, or full-size van - people will STILL pull out on front of you as if you were invisible.

    Distracted drivers - whether than be cell phones, tuning their radio, screaming kids in the car, couples having discussions, or people with their heads in the clouds - are a huge factor - worse than ever.

    Unskilled drivers are another huge problem - just plain old "not being good at this" is another issue. Our driver's ed (in the USA at least) makes for BARELY competent drivers. And that assumes that people actually paid attention during driver's ed and that the "examiner" was actually very competent in his judging of their skills.

    Drivers on the highway also seem to think that they're Bulletproof, Invincible, or Immortal. I can think of no other reason why when travelling at 70+ miles an hour - you'd follow a vehicle ahead less than one car length behind.

    Maybe that's why we have about 40,000 MVA deaths a year in the USA...

    As a flight instructor once told me that you should "Resign yourself to the fact that every one of your students is trying to kill you." I think the same caution applies to every driver on the road.
     
    #13 Valiant V, Jun 19, 2021
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2021
    xliderider and Mendel Leisk like this.
  14. spudnut

    spudnut Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2016
    110
    134
    0
    Location:
    Idaho Falls/Pocatello, ID
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius Plug-in
    Model:
    Plug-in Base
    I had no lights on, never do, just old school I guess but doesn't the Prius shut them off automatically if I forget? I've never noticed, as I never leave them on.


    What got me about the two incidents was that just 10 minutes separated them, and both times i made direct eye contact with the, and the look on their faces was pure shock. They were not being rude or reckless, on purpose anyway, not that it would have mattered! A long time former motorcycle rider, I do drive defensively, and that's what saved me here, even driving my day job crane truck I look both ways before going through a green light. It was over 90 degrees, maybe the heat was making people especially stupid that day.
     
  15. Grit

    Grit Senior Member

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2017
    5,121
    3,650
    1
    Location:
    Wilkes Land
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius
    Model:
    Four
    :LOL:
     
  16. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2009
    14,911
    8,333
    90
    Location:
    Western Washington
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius
    Model:
    Three
    Yes, you can turn on Prius headlights once, and just forget about them, they'll turn off automatically at ignition shutdown. (Though beware that there ways to defeat this, fumble-fingered and otherwise.)

    I would have guessed that older, long-surviving motorcyclists would be more likely than others to use always-on lights on their cars. A selection bias.
     
    gromittoo likes this.
  17. ETC(SS)

    ETC(SS) The OTHER One Percenter.....

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2010
    6,882
    5,703
    0
    Location:
    Redneck Riviera (Gulf South)
    Vehicle:
    2010 Prius
    Model:
    II
    ^That.

    If I see another driver I presume that either they do not see me, or they DO see me and they're trying to hit me.

    The only times my lights are ever turned off is when another driver drives my car, or when I waggle my lights to tell a truck driver that they're clear to come right (or left) - or thank them for doing the same for me.
    Since the 2010 that I drive is technologically inferior to similarly aged cars, I also do not have to worry about being one of "those" cars that are driving around during civil twilight with their headlights off....because "they can see just fine."
    I'd also mention not having to wonder if I'm driving with lights on when the wipers are active, but I always reach over and physically check the switch after I turn on the wipers....even if I'm the only one who has driven the car in a while.

    Normally I'm not given to being anal about such things, but as we see on the news EVERY DAY.....older people sometimes forget stuff....
    THIS is why pilots use checklists.
    I know.
    They got that habit from us submariners! ;)
     
    #17 ETC(SS), Jun 22, 2021
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2021
    Valiant V likes this.
  18. rjparker

    rjparker Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2008
    3,359
    1,709
    2
    Location:
    Texas Hill Country
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius v wagon
    Model:
    Three
    Agree that all you have to is leave the lights on and forget them.

    There is an option on the mfd display to give you 90, 60, 30 or zero seconds after exiting the car before the lights go off. Default is 30 seconds. Zero gives you an immediate feedback but thirty gives you light if you need it.

    If you stay in the car after shutdown the lights stay on. So don't go to the mall, roll down the windows and wait hours for the wife. The lights will stay on. Just open and close the door once.

    Also don't shutdown and then shut off the lights manually and turn right around and turn them on again while shutdown. They will stay on. Both of these behaviors are really safety features if you were stranded on a dark road somewhere and need the parking or headlights for safety.

    With that said, I am approaching ten years and 250,000 miles with my v. Lights left on in auto the whole time. A reasonable idea is to carry a lithium jump pack under the passenger's seat. The 12v will eventually let you down on its own or with help. Plus you can aid others if desired without risking your Prius electronics.

    127FD9EE-85DE-42C8-9F9C-0E0F18C1CE29.jpeg

    Partial list:

    3CE50EB4-26A7-4B91-92D1-75B1E4142733.jpeg
     
    Raytheeagle and Mendel Leisk like this.
  19. Valiant V

    Valiant V Member

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2021
    239
    157
    0
    Location:
    Winnsboro, TX
    Vehicle:
    2017 Prius
    Model:
    Three
    Unfortunately, the headlights don't automatically turn on when it rains if it's bright. I switch them on manually (from "Auto" to ON). I also don't like lights staying on when I shut off the vehicle, nor do I appreciate being blinded in a restaurant when people drive up and park with their HID headlights facing the dining area - so I shut mine off when approaching or when departing before I'm headed away.

    IOW - "auto" has drawbacks - So as much as I like it, I override it frequently.

    Since you have to have headlights on - by law - when operating the windshield wipers in many state (not Texas, unfortunately). I'm surprised there's not some kind of "interlock" that turned on the headlights when you switched on the wipers.

    I don't think a lot of people realize that a grey car on grey pavement on a grey morning with a little fog or rain thrown in is pretty much invisible until the moment of impact.

    All that just gives too many excuses to the folks who just plain don't look before maneuvering or think that "the other guy" is supposed to brake or swerve to avoid them.
     
  20. rjparker

    rjparker Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2008
    3,359
    1,709
    2
    Location:
    Texas Hill Country
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius v wagon
    Model:
    Three
    Actually the normal gen3 lights operate differently in auto. If left on, they Auto on when you go to Ready and Auto off when you shutdown. They are On all the time when driving if you want it that way. Essentially DRLs which you don't otherwise have on most trims. In Canada they had DRLs standard.
     
    #20 rjparker, Jun 23, 2021
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2021
    Valiant V likes this.
Loading...