Driving Assessment 2013 – Day 2

Alternative Title: Signs, Fines, and Perfect Tipping

Today’s conference events were in the afternoon only, starting with registration and a later ‘meet and greet’. This post is written in chronological order, but the conference-related details are on the way in the second half!

To break with broadcasting tradition, here the daily forecast precedes the news. Having missed the opportunity to present you with a photo of a sunshine-bathed island yesterday, the same is true today. While there were moments of lovely weather….for the majority of the day we were treated to thunderstorms.


However, after a morning of work, we dodged the downpours and headed south around the lake for lunch.


In addition to monster ants….


…..for some reason, signs and traffic signals caught my eye today. I’m about to start work on a research project investigating features of motorway signs, so perhaps this explains the focus of my highlights reel for the day:


A curfew sign in the local town….I wonder how this would be received in Leeds?


A quirky take on the ‘No Smoking’ sign


A pedestrian crossing countdown timer – in contrast to those I’ve seen recently in the Netherlands which countdown to ‘green for pedestrians’, these countdown to ‘green for vehicles/red for pedestrians’.


My picture of a sign-post for Slingshot Road was not readable, however, it deserves a mention!

On returning to the car after lunch, we had not kept track of time, and this was the result for our unfortunate friends who have kindly been in charge of the driving!


Even more concerning was the presence of two police cars nearby.


Alas, they were not here to rid me of my room-mate for the trip and so I’m still on the pull-out sofa bed. Shame.


This evening was the first official conference event, and really enjoyable. After a mid-afternoon registration and an apparent competition in ‘Who has the worst jetlag?’ – the Australians won comfortably – the welcome event took place.


An excellent conference pack, including proceedings, various stationary, mints(!) and a T-shirt.

Now, I’m lucky to be here with Hamish and Natasha – six time attendees at this conference – who are familiar with almost everyone. However, as an early career researcher, it is also good to leave the security of those you know, and make a few introductions. This led to a recommendation of where to send the next paper I have prepared from my PhD thesis, numerous discussions about both my PhD findings and the eco-driving work that is now my main focus, and the discovery that my first journal article has recently been cited (I’m still at the stage where I count each citation, so that is always encouraging). I forgot my business cards, but there is plenty of time to hand those out yet!


And finally, a lesson in tipping from our meal last night. This could fill on entire post on its own, however, I will keep it brief. Tipping etiquette in the UK and USA service industries are very different. However, after a dinner for a large group and some smartphone calculations, a $620 bill resulted in a $120 tip…near enough 20%. Simple, yes? Not quite…. The mistake of handing over the money and not separating the cost of the food from the gratuity almost led to an evening of dish-washing! A chat with the manager spared the group.

And the second ‘And finally’, I’ve been told that it is unacceptable not to appear in your own blog post (Thank you Natasha!). So, welcome to Driving Assessment 2013!


Three days of talks, posters and discussion to follow….so more updates to come!


2 thoughts on “Driving Assessment 2013 – Day 2

  1. A run in with the local traffic police seems appropriate for a Driving Assessment conference, but i didn’t see it listed in on the programme of conference sessions or activities! 😉

    • Fortunately no ITS employees were harmed in the making of this blog! A dispute between a local driver and a parking attendant I believe was the reason for the police. It seemed a good opportunity for a (discrete) photo though!

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