Near Miss


#1

With people discussing the brakes on the Twizy in another thread, I thought I would share with you my experience from last night.

I was dropping a friend home at around 11pm in wet conditions and admittedly I was doing 40 in a 30 zone. However, I was on a straight road with my lights on. Anyone would see me from a mile away. If they looked.

I noticed a mini pull up at a side turning and he looked eager to get going. I covered my brake as I always do just in case, never normally having to use it. However this time I did.

The mini pulled out halfway, saw me, then stopped. I slammed my brakes on but the Twizy just slid across the surface and I had to guide it round the mini into what could have been oncoming traffic. Thankfully not though.

As someone who learnt to drive in a car with ABS, and has only ever driven cars with ABS until the Twizy, you don’t half notice the difference. The Twizy just locked up and skidded about 50 metres.

I just thought it was worth sharing to remind everyone not to get carried away with the Twizy. The grip isn’t great, especially in wet conditions, and you just never know when some idiot is going to pull out in front of you.


(mender) #2

Glad you and Twizy are ok!

It goes back to my earlier comments about how drivers should be taught in a non-assisted vehicle (no ABS, power steering, ESP etc) so they can master the necessary skills neeeded. We were all taught cadence braking years ago for our tests, but ABS has made instructors think it is irrelevant now. In my eyes, the Twizy is the perfect learner vehicle, although you cannot officially learn or pass your test in it! A modern 3 door Corsa or similar is the worst possible thing to learn in.

Cadence braking is useful to learn-especially as the Twizy has low resistance eco tyres that offer little rolling resistance, but therefore little grip.

Keep safe!


(system) #3

Ahhh Eco tyres! They are pretty rubbish on cars with ABS too. There not called low rolling resistance for nothing.


(Bassflex) #4

Roll on the snow!!!


(mender) #5

The biggest danger with the Twizy is losing control with an oversteer skid and ending up in opposing live traffic flow side on-it is easy to do and there is little protection.

If using progressive braking techniques and if needed, cadence braking the Twizy is ok, but for me the main issue with the Twizy is that the eco tyres and rear wheel drive conspire to make the back end fight the grip on slippery curves and the narrow track of the Twizy means that one side is often ploughing through the greasy centre of the lane rather than the well used dry bit that all the other wheels go on-making the situation much worse.

I have had to use my skid pan training numerous times with the Twizy to avoid an accident; on our plastered muddy lanes when someone does something daft, on greasy islands when I got cut up, on a diesel spill-every time the back wants to comes around and send me sideways or not follow the direction of steering and I have counter-steered and got away with it. For fun I have launched it into (empty!) roads I know are greasy and drifted it-but a few times, I have had to correct a squirm just keeping up with traffic at normal speeds.

The worry is less that someone will have a front impact while skidding to stop, as there is a crumple zone, airbag and seatbelts, but that someone will lose the back end and not know how to correct it, will end up side on on the opposite side of the road side on and get hit in the unprotected sides-with disastrous consequences.

With the Twizy, there is fair warning when it is about the let go and the tyres and chassis are safely designed to let you know what is going on-but it really helps if you have training for progressive braking (correctly modulating the pedal pressure during the braking period), cadence braking (learning how to pump the brake pedal to retain steering control under emergency braking-in effect what an ABS pump does electronically) and decent skid training in a real car in real conditions (not a hydraulically assisted mule on a school playground!).

Or we could all drive a 15mph :lol:


(Trevor) #6

Hi Mender - I would not say that it is easy to loose control of a Twizy, particularly in oversteer. On regular roads (we live in the New Forest so mud and wet leaves are a regular obstacle) I find it hard to push anything but understeer and I wonder if there is a difference between alloys and the steel pans. We have steel and with the right tyre pressures I have tried so hard to loose the back end but fail every time with understeer :slight_smile: Drivings styles do vary and if your roads are muddy and slimy then anything is going to slide.

I just wanted to put another side of Twizy handling out here.


(mender) #7

The Twizy handles excellently and is hard to lose control 99% of the time-if you try to lose it and have some fun, it will go, but that is only if you really try!

However, it can skit around on greasy surfaces-the way it oversteers or understeers may be down the weight of the driver as it is such a light vehicle.
For me, initially the front goes light as you say, then the back lets go; so initial understeer, then oversteer, but my point was that skinny eco tyres and rear drive can in some instances cause oversteer, which can catch out the untrained and it is far worse to be hit side on than to hit the front!

Round here they apparently use the awful pig-urine mix to salt the roads which does not wash off easily, which saves money, but holds moisture on the road surface, making it lethal-2 of my mates came to visit last week and ended up dropping/wrecking both bikes on an island at 25mph. On this surface I can get the Twizy sideways in a line of normal traffic if I want to provoke it!

I can’t criticise the handling, chassis, tyres, brakes etc of the Twizy; it is superbly set up-but the lack of any electronic safety net for those used to it may present a problem. My wife drives very gently and she’s had it let go-but only at low speeds. Someone driving it like a Clio on our surfaces will end up in oversteer and…


(Julianh) #8

If you join the institute of advanced motorists they’ll teaching you all you need to know, for free, well except the membership fee. Pass the test and you’ll get cheaper insurance too. Good branches will organise skid pan lessons too. Mind you it would be interesting going for ‘drives’ with them in a Twizy.


(Trevor) #9

Sounds like I need to come over to have fun on the surfaces. The best we managed here was the old airfield covered in snow in a 1967 Fiat 500F.
That’s if my brake fluid doesn’t seep all over the rear discs :lol:


(mender) #10

If you want to avoid the skid in the first place IAM can work-if you want to know what to do when you skid then skid pan work and specialised advanced training works best.

I’ve done a stack of training, passed bike, car, automatic PCV then manual PCV then done a ruck of advanced training as well as covering approx 1.5 million miles driving for a living! My Dad was a police motorcyclist and I got some great in-house tuition as well as paying for some training on my own back like the skid-pan and off-road stuff; but even after all of this I still make mistakes and get careless. I enjoy pushing the Twizy to its limits, knowing it is well set up and easy to correct (famous last words!).

My own experience of the actual IAM was not the best-different “instructors” gave different advice depending on how long ago they left the police (the advice in Roadcraft does change year to year-eg pull push steering), it was all a bit stuffy and how anyone can pass a test on one day and get life membership (*with cheaper insurance) being an “advanced driver” is just beyond me. Funny how many of the crash damaged cars I repair have IAM badges…!!

Seriously, though-once a car test is passed, further training should be mandatory; I would suggest a two year probation in a car of less than 100bhp with the need to pass modules in first aid, skid pan, motorway, night driving and emergency situation training before getting an unrestricted licence.
A curfew of midnight-6am for the under 21s and a lower alcohol limit may work too.

Cars should display clearly on a sticker on the sun visor the systems fitted and the car set up so people can drive according; eg ABS, ESP, TC, no. of airbags, type of fuel, driven wheels etc.


(mender) #11

:lol::lol: Rear drive and snow=:cool:

Just bring a VERY long extension lead, Herefordshire has 0 charge points…!


(Lightly) #12

Who is gonna be the first to post a gopro video of some sideways snow action :wink:


(system) #13

The GoPro I have is busted right now. I’m waiting for a replacement, but I’ll give it a go when I get my Twizy back… or perhaps not… I don’t want another crash! :smiley:

Seriously though, I’d agree with those who said cadence braking is the way to go.

Although I learned to drive in a Vauxhall Corsa – and my first car was a Corsa too – I quickly migrated to a 1969 Morris Minor with old-school brakes. And then to a hotrod 1962 Morris Minor with disks and vacuum assist which locked up really quickly.

Then I had a City El, which had amusing narrow wheels and locked up quite a lot. Cadence braking was a must!

[video]http://blip.tv/nikki-drives/nikki-drives-a-trip-back-in-time-with-the-city-el-2302539[/video]

I’ve locked up the Twizy a couple of times on the ring road in Bristol. It’s a 70 mph road in places, so I was going flat out. The trick is to pulse the brake pedal, which brings the car under control quickly and safely.

I’d advise anyone who isn’t familiar to find somewhere safe to try it out. It does take a while to get the hang of :slight_smile:

Nikki.


(osbrook) #14

I’ve locked up the Twizy a couple of times on the ring road in Bristol. It’s a 70 mph road in places, so I was going flat out. The trick is to pulse the brake pedal, which brings the car under control quickly and safely.

I’d advise anyone who isn’t familiar to find somewhere safe to try it out. It does take a while to get the hang of :slight_smile:

Don’t wait to you need it to try it. You need to do it without thinking about it as too much other stuff will be going on.

There must be a difference between steel and alloy wheels. I have steel ones and have only ever experienced under steer. Despite trying.:slight_smile: I always try to take my cars for a slide just to learn how they and I react. Snow in an empty car park is best place to start. Try putting the car into a bay in a slide.:smiley:


(system) #15

Just getting back on topic.
I’m not surprised that mini pulled out in front of the Twizy. With its narrow width and close together headlights the Twizy profile could easily be interpreted as a larger car much further away when given a glancing look.
Think once, think twice, think Twizy.


(Trevor) #16

Sorry for the topic evolute

Os - have you tried handbrake turns yet? My first and only attempt was a complete failure…Turn sharply, hit neutral, pull handbrake, release handbrake. Ahh. Cant without foot on brake pedal. Twizy stopped.


(mender) #17

Is there a staying on topic police? :slight_smile:

10/10 for trying that :lol:

But which wheels do the handbrake act on? Front or rear? Would a j-turn work with some quick footwork…?


(system) #18

when I was being taught to drive by my dad I felt so victimised and almost dishearten by how harsh and heavy going the lessons were compared to my friends who had paid lessons. Week after week I would be put through the most complex and what i thought were tiresome routines, as i was unlucky enough to have a dad who was an Traffic Policeman, who was an Advance Class1 Pursuit Instructor. Now looking back I am soooo glad of all the skid drills, braking techniques, and everything I was taught.

Basically put the biggest lesson you need to know is the performance envelope of the vehicle you are in at a given time. The Twizy is far from dangerous, in fact is very safe, but yes has limited grip. Modern city cars cosset and pamper the driver into the false belief that they often have greater grip and control then you often have in reality, making it sometime a difficult transition when moving to a car with less grip. Trust me as a driver of a Lotus Elise which also has no ABS, you’d be surprised how many Lotus owner has posted exactly the same type of post when they have been caught out.

Its a simple case of driving to the conditions and within the limits of the vehicle. I would defiantly recommend that EVERYONE should at least have a few advance lessons. I just wish that learner could drive in cars with all driving aids disabled, as I believe it would make all safer drivers.

Keep safe out there everyone.


(mender) #19

Absolutely spot on :wink:


(plugin) #20

I have to say for me one of the biggest delights is no power assist / traction control / ABS etc ‘benefits’. It’s real driving like I did in a variety of cars for the first 15 years or so of getting my licence. Perhaps having competed in motorsport for nearly 40 years (I started while still at school) is another reason. Roll on the snow . . . . the nearest flat car park is only 4 miles return so I should have 15 or 20 minutes of unadulterated fun!!! (sorry if this is not politically correct!).
PS James, assume every body is always looking to have an accident with you and drive accordingly.