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Loose nut behind the wheel
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Dennis made a funny suggestion to bring up a point about stage stoppage/blockage.

How about this, the OK and Red Cross keep their original definitions and uses.
OK=Keep going but don't hit my car, co-driver, driver, downed tree, Sasquatch, etc..
Red Cross=Medical situation, stop, assess situation, render appropriate aid or relay info based on situation.

In the case of a road blockage with no medical situation, one person waves a triangle. The triangle will be very recognizible and the motion of the triangle will define what it means. This is a signal that there is a complete blockage and you will need to stop and then help clear the blockage. This will require that the first car wait for the second car to arrive before attempting to clear the blockage. I think it will send a clear signal that you will need to stop. I feel there should be a stationary triangle upstream of the waving triangle to get the driver's attention.

As far as if any time allowance will be made is a separate issue that should be resolved in a different discussion. This is only part of the total solution but I think it is the first step.
 

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I'd be in favor of that, in another thread I suggested:


- move away from the paper red cross and ok attached to the route book

- require each crew to carry two sets of reflective plastic boards about 1 foot by 1 foot that can be held in a fabric sleeve to the car doors, one set for the driver, one set for the co-driver

-- I suggest three reflective boards all printed on both sides
----- an OK board
----- a Red Cross board
----- a third board to indicate a blocked stage, maybe a circle with a line through it, I suggest it be red, because red means stop


As one triangle is already supposed to be within reach of the driver/co-driver it would be a good start.

Mike
 

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The good thing about Mark's suggestion is that it doesn't require much retraining. We already have the OK and red cross, and supposedly know how to use them. We also have the triangles...and waving one in that situation would be almost instinctive. At the town hall at S*D. someone mentioned that he didn't want an extra thing to fumble for...

It has also been suggested that three (or more) triangles across the road could signal a blocked stage. This could work, too, at less risk to people...but it would have to be far enough back to be effective, and we'd have to deal with the next guy running them over.

Bruce
 

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Ok, playing Devil's Advocate here...

There are only two situations that you will come across on a stage

1.) Everything's fine - you can keep going...

or

2.) Things are not fine - STOP NOW.


First case is identified by the OK sign, a signal from the crew, whatever. It's the responsibility of the stopped crew to let cars behind them know that things are OK and they don't have to stop.

Second case means you have to stop. Doesn't really matter why - you just have to stop. Whether we continue to use a Red Cross or some other signal, the result is always the same - YOU NEED TO STOP AND STOP NOW!

Think about it.

You have to stop no matter what the situation is. If it's a medical emergency, then there are procedures to follow (second car arrives, one car is dispatched to the next radio point to get help). If it's a blockage of the road, then everyone stops and figures out how to get the road cleared.

As you come up on an accident or blockage, you would not do anything different if it was a tree down across the road or someone that was seriously injured - first thing you are going to do is stop. The difference comes in how you handle the situation after you have stopped.

There is a stigma with using the Red Cross right now. People have this instant assumption that it means there is a Medical Emergency and the stage is cancelled. I don't feel that is the correct interpretation - it is only one of the possible uses. Perhaps the Red Cross symbol is not the correct choice. A Red Octagon might be a better choice.

I don't see the need for three different displays. There is a need for two (either stop or go). Keep it as simple as possible.

And it goes without saying that the lack of either must be considered to be a "Stop" situation. If you find that it isn't, then chew out the crew that wasted your time and ask the organizers to note it in their log books.

As for the suggestion to use larger and highly visible indicators rather than the last page of the route book. I'm all for that. The sooner you can see and identify what is being displayed to you, the better.

Tim
 

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Way back in old fart days someone told me to put all three triangles across the road if it was blocked. Is there some reason this wouldn't work today?
 

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The KISS principle

>Ok, playing Devil's Advocate here...

Fine, but.....


In a perfect world radios work, everyone understands what is going on, etc. But, this isn't a perfect world. The car sent to the stage end can break, and plenty of other things can go wrong.

I am all for the KISS "Keep It Simple Stupid" principle, but...

I still think there should be a second way to stop a stage so that there is no ***possible*** confusion regarding if there is a medical emergency or not.

Lives can hang in the balance. A red cross should mean one thing: there is a MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

That is my opinion and I am sticking to it.

Jens Larsen
Flying Kiwi Racing
 

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RE: The KISS principle

>I still think there should be a second way to stop a stage so
>that there is no ***possible*** confusion regarding if there
>is a medical emergency or not.

Please describe this "confusion" that may occur.

Pete
 

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RE: The KISS principle

I'm begging to think the confusion is arising from the fact that most people immediately relate "medical" with the Red Cross symbol.

We do not use the Red Cross to indicate only a medical emergency. We use it to tell other competitors to stop. The fact that there is a medical emergency should then be communicated verbally, the proper facts gathered and a crew sent on to the next radio location (if neither car has a radio).

I'm beginning to think that we should ditch the Red Cross and use something generic - like a red octagon - to indicate that you should stop.

I do not think we should be using any indicator to signal a medical emeregency without direct verbal communication.

Now Jens...

Honestly, what are you going to do differently as you are coming down a stage and see someone waving a Red Cross at you rather than a Red Octagon? Would you not stop and find out what the deal is first? Does it really matter at the moment you see something being waved at you what the reason is?

Tim
 

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Three triangles is still the first thing I would do as well. But I would also be standing near them making damn sure that the next car saw us and was stopping. And then reset what's left of the triangles after they got mowed over.

Tim
 

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I replied in the other thread about this too before I read this one.

I do agree with the three triangles across the road, but in the middle of the night there are possibilities of getting it confused with maybe a partial blockage of the road.

The problem with another symbol like an octagon or some other "road sign-type" sign is that there could be signs like it out in the woods. You will not come across a red cross out in the woods unless it is a problem with the rally. This is where the "Keep It Simple" plan comes into play. If it is serious enough to have to stop the oncoming competitors (medical or otherwise), we need a serious sign. A red cross immediately flashes "problem" in the mind. And for a driver at speed, it is much easier to understand than some other style of sign.

Like I said in the other post, codrivers are not the only people out in the woods with red crosses. Marshalls don't have triangles. All they have are red crosses. I think we should keep it universal and simple for all involved.
 

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RE: The KISS principle

Hi Tim,

Hope you are keeping the 'Orange Crush' in good shape!

Yes, I would react quite differently to a medical emergency than a non-medical stage blockage. I would move much faster, and do some things and take risks that I would not do otherwise. For example, in a medical emergency, I would run myself to the point of collapse to go back a mile or more to an intersection where I had seen spectators or know there was radio (if I felt like there was no other way to ge the word out, like if that car with injuries were blocking the way forward). I can imagine taking more risks to communicate if the siutation was really imminenetly life threatening. I woud NOT do these things if it was fallen tree.

A medical situation is hugely different than a stage blockage. The Force Majeure rules even recognize this: no safety issues, tough luck. A safety issue? We'll try to cover you.

Having seen the Red Cross temporarily used at the 2003 STPR for other purposes (in that case to indicate a spectator problem), it was immediately abused at that event by some competitors who wanted to stop a stage from being timed, and it triggered the safety procedures and the competitor's desired throwing of the stage. So, I can't advocate the use of the Red Cross for anything else but a medical ememrgency. That action was even defended by some here on SSForum, so that tells me even more that we have to keep things very clearly differentiated.

Thre is no issue to having 2 signs that mean stop, so I think this suggesition is a very good one. It's intended to give a clear warning of a dangerous situation that is unambiguous. Gee, look at me, I'm advocating change; can you imagine!!

Regards as always,
Mark B.
 

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The KISS principle continued.....

There are two threads on this topic, but I'm going to answer some stuff from both threads in this thread.

Pete Kuncis asked me to cite an example where the red cross was not suitable for a non-medical emergency. His reasoning is that displaying a red cross means stop regardless of the reason. Okay, I accept that, however...

My gut instinct tells me there will some day be a situation where a displayed red cross will not be appropriate. Can I cite a specific example? No, not at this time. Not because there is no such example, but only because I honestly don't have time to think about this in great detail right now. (I know that sounds like a real "cop out", but I have to do other stuff these days).

What first comes to my mind is that the red cross is an internationally known symbol related to medical matters. Yes, it is also related to disaster relief, blood drives, and other stuff. However, I believe, most people's first instinct upon seeing a red cross is to think there is a medical situation going on. The red cross is not known internationally as a stop sign. It is known in the U.S. and (I believe Canada) rallying as a stop sign. (If it is use in Europe for that reason perhaps someone can enlighten me).

How the display of a red cross might be intentionally or accidentally relayed to rally organizers (car sent to end of stage, radio communication, cell phone, or some other means) could be a topic of endless scenario speculation.

I am speaking for myself (not for more experienced or more situational aware drivers)... I get tunnel vision when I'm rallying. I have had MANY instances where my co-drivers (very good ones) comment to me about a car that was off that we just past, and I hadn't noticed anything! I have also had co-drivers ask me if I saw a red cross or OK sign; I couldn't tell them, because I hadn't seen anything... nothing! By that time we are too far down the road to consider backing up on a hot stage. We would tell the end control that we saw something at such and such a mile. Perhaps if I could afford to run many rallies I would have less tunnel vision and more surrounding situational awareness, but that isn't/wasn't the case.

Going back to 2 versus 3 signs:

I instinctively *feel* that the red cross symbol should be used for medical emergencies/conditions only, and that another mechanism (perhaps what Mark mentioned about 3 triangles) should be used for non-medical conditions. If the consensus is that 3 symbols are too much and there should only be 2, then I *feel* the stop signal should be something other than a red cross.

Utecht has been rallying for a long time and is a well respected driver. Although I don't remember all the circumstances, I do remember he was involved some how in stopping a stage in Maine a year or two ago where people were mistakenly looping around and coming down a hot stage in the wrong direction. He considers 3 triangles appropriate to ***help*** stop a stage. So do I.

I wish I had the time to think of various scenarios, but I ***MUST*** get on with other things unrelated to rally. Perhaps you guys will think about possible scenarios in detail where a red cross is not appropriate. Perhaps my reasoning is faulty. Perhaps not. Does my lack of time to pursue this mean I don't have valid points? I don't think so.


On a side note: (and not to hijack this interesting thread). In the past I have seen some really obscure international symbols (replacing written signs) that are very funny. If you know of a link to some of these I would love to see them. If you have any links please post a message in the off-topic forum.

Jens Larsen
Flying Kiwi Racing
 

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RE: The KISS principle

Hi Mark...

The Orange beast is sitting in the garage getting pampered. Trying to decide just how far to go with it and how much money to invest. :)

As to the topic at hand. One point I am trying to make is this.

As you, a competitor, approach an incident and someone is indicating that you need to stop. Does it matter to you, at that moment, why they are telling you to stop?

The moment you stop and they tell you what is going on, then everything changes. I agree 100% that I am going to react with a very different level of urgency if someone is hurt, trapped in a car, etc. than if a tree is blocking the road.

As you approach an incident there are only two basic actions that are going to be communicated to you. Either "everythings fine, keep going" or "stop immediately, there is a situation here".

The OK sign works well for the first situation, but the Red Cross is becoming very confusing in the second. The rules are written such that the display of a Red Cross terminates the stage which I don't feel is correct. We should have a mechanism in place to simply say "STOP". The why is secondary (but not unimportant) and is communicated to you after you stop. Should there be a situation that requires the stage to be terminated, then that gets communicated to the next radio crew and the stage captain terminates the stage.

Tim
 

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RE: The KISS principle continued.....

The RA rule book section 7.11 indicates the red cross is an medical sign, even mentions than emergency medical crew will be immediately dispatched. Doesn't really mention stage blockage or anything else.

NASA rule book 2.16.7 says to stop upon red cross and evaluate. Says to use red cross for medical also , but also says to use red cross to stop stage if non-rally traffic is caught on the stage...so a little better description of the uses. Also mentions marshalls with red flags.

3 triangles across road...it is conceivable to have car stuck or damaged in such a fashion that the two triangles in trunk aren't accesible. In the old days I've seen several triangles run over by competitors and that was before all you fast guys in AWD showed up...You may have less than 20 seconds to react, sometimes the guy behind you is having a good stage. I've been the first car (car2) at a fallen tree during a storm, car 1 made it through before tree fell. Our first thoughts were we missed an instruction...seconds lost before we fully realised what had happened. It was a scramble to get back up around the corner to stop car 3, who was much faster in a straight...no time to access and set out 3 triangles across road.

Maybe the red cross should be a red 'X' , induce less adrenalin or panic. Needs to be a rule or procedure that RA, NASA and CARS all agree on so it becomes instinctive and understood by every driver on the road.

OK = keep going

Red X = stop and evaluate

Co-D waving triangle = big danger

Co-D throwing triangle at your windshield = stop now before there is a medical emergency

Seriously..there has to be signage that is simple,effective and absolute. Someones life may well depend on it. Fearing the possible abuse by competitors cannot be a reason to modify the procedure. If someone is caught abusing or manipulating the system pull their license. Gene
 

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RE: The KISS principle continued.....

>The RA rule book section 7.11 indicates the red cross is an
>medical sign, even mentions than emergency medical crew will
>be immediately dispatched. Doesn't really mention stage
>blockage or anything else.

Waving a red cross does not automatically dispatch medical by some magical satellite reflector. It requires that rally car to stop and see what the situation is. The rally car has to stop. How do they know that just 1 ambulance is needed or a dozen ambulances are needed? That is why they stop and get out. The waver of the cross says what is going on.

If medical is needed, then the medical procedure is followed, radio is found, ambulance dispatched, stage is stopped and possibly tossed.

If medical is not needed, then they put their heads together and try to figure out how to fix the situation. At this time, the stage is not automatically tossed (it may be eventually). They move the car, obstruction, etc. They have to stop the stage regardless if it is done safely with a cross or a dozen cars plowing into each other. If you were in a car, I am sure you would not care what the sign is to tell you to stop....as long as it saves you and someone else from damage/injury.

>NASA rule book 2.16.7 says to stop upon red cross and
>evaluate. Says to use red cross for medical also , but also
>says to use red cross to stop stage if non-rally traffic is
>caught on the stage...so a little better description of the
>uses. Also mentions marshalls with red flags.

This one makes more sense, but still in my opinion should be elaborated to what I've posted before.

1. OK sign - keep going
2. Red cross - stop
3. Nothing - stop

A red X only means the picture wasn't linked properly :+

I'm usually not this opinionated, but it is a simple concept that doesn't need to get more complicated. I have been through my fair share of stages being temporarily stopped, whether it is a car blocking the road for just 3 minutes (2004 STPR), or the worst of the worst (2003 Sawmill). Both on opposite ends of the spectrum. Both used the same procedure I mentioned above. Both went off without a hitch.

Pete
 

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RE: The KISS principle continued.....

I agree with you Pete. The verbage in the rule books should maybe be changed. RA inparticular makes it seem like a med emergency only, when it should be a more broadbased statement. If a car needs to be stopped the reason is somewhat irrelevant. A tree blockage, civilian traffic or injury is of little consequence . Cars need stopped, situation quickly assesed and dealt with.
 

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RE: The KISS principle continued.....

> I agree with you Pete. The verbage in the rule books should
>maybe be changed. RA inparticular makes it seem like a med
>emergency only, when it should be a more broadbased statement.
>If a car needs to be stopped the reason is somewhat
>irrelevant. A tree blockage, civilian traffic or injury is of
>little consequence . Cars need stopped, situation quickly
>assesed and dealt with.

As I noted in another thread, I do not believe that the verbage in the rule book limits the use of the Red Cross to the conditions described in the rules, just as the verbage does not limit the use of the OK sign (otherwise one could only display the OK if the car cannot be seen).

This interpretation is my own and does not necessarily reflect the R-A Rules Committee or R-A itself.

alan
 

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RE: The KISS principle continued.....

>
>My gut instinct tells me there will some day be a situation
>where a displayed red cross will not be appropriate. Can I
>cite a specific example? No, not at this time. Not because
>there is no such example, but only because I honestly don't
>have time to think about this in great detail right now. (I
>know that sounds like a real "cop out", but I have to do other
>stuff these days).

If that is the case, that is why you are allowed to protest. If it is found that it was used to gain an advantage in the rally rather than an emergency or a true blockage, that competitor (I'm sure) will be HEAVILY repremanded (sp?) and/or kicked out of rallying for unsportsmanlike conduct.

>
>What first comes to my mind is that the red cross is an
>internationally known symbol related to medical matters. Yes,
>it is also related to disaster relief, blood drives, and other
>stuff. However, I believe, most people's first instinct upon
>seeing a red cross is to think there is a medical situation
>going on. The red cross is not known internationally as a
>stop sign. It is known in the U.S. and (I believe Canada)
>rallying as a stop sign. (If it is use in Europe for that
>reason perhaps someone can enlighten me).

If you see a competitor or marshall holding a red cross, it will get you to stop, correct? Well, then it's done it's intended job. Whether you feel that it stands for medical or not is beside the point. It is used to get your attention and to get you to stop before you make the situation worse. Once there, you find out what it is. If a tree is down across the road, and it's big enough to require a chainsaw, you won't get by it anyways and the stage will be tossed. So who cares if it is perceived as a medical sign at that point. I'm glad that you would react fast upon seeing such a sign. But, in a few moments you would find it's not a medical problem and you would settle down.

>
>I am speaking for myself (not for more experienced or more
>situational aware drivers)... I get tunnel vision when I'm
>rallying. I have had MANY instances where my co-drivers (very
>good ones) comment to me about a car that was off that we just
>past, and I hadn't noticed anything! I have also had
>co-drivers ask me if I saw a red cross or OK sign; I couldn't
>tell them, because I hadn't seen anything... nothing! By that
>time we are too far down the road to consider backing up on a
>hot stage. We would tell the end control that we saw
>something at such and such a mile. Perhaps if I could afford
>to run many rallies I would have less tunnel vision and more
>surrounding situational awareness, but that isn't/wasn't the
>case.

I sure hope you are never behind me if I ever have an off!! If any sign is shown (OK or otherwise), you are at least supposed to slow down to make sure you don't kill someone that might be trying to get out of their car on the side of the road.

>
>Going back to 2 versus 3 signs:
>
>I instinctively *feel* that the red cross symbol should be
>used for medical emergencies/conditions only, and that another
>mechanism (perhaps what Mark mentioned about 3 triangles)
>should be used for non-medical conditions. If the consensus
>is that 3 symbols are too much and there should only be 2,
>then I *feel* the stop signal should be something other than a
>red cross.

Ok. Then come up with something that everyone will understand an recognize immediately that will not be misconstrued with something else out in the woods (besides what only the competitors would have on them) to indicate that the next competitor must stop.

>
>Utecht has been rallying for a long time and is a well
>respected driver. Although I don't remember all the
>circumstances, I do remember he was involved some how in
>stopping a stage in Maine a year or two ago where people were
>mistakenly looping around and coming down a hot stage in the
>wrong direction. He considers 3 triangles appropriate to
>***help*** stop a stage. So do I.

I have much respect for Mr. Utecht for many reasons as well. The only flaw in his theory is it is only for the competitors. What about the workers that need to stop the competitors because of a situation (spectators, medical or otherwise)? We would have to come up with another thing for them to use for non-medical emergencies, so now we're up to 4 signs to show drivers. If it's something that can be dealt with in a few minutes by a couple of competitors on site without causing anybody to be put in harms way, I totally agree with the triangle scenarios. But if it's a total blockage that noone is going to get around, then the stage will be thrown. So if the red cross is used for that, who cares if it is not medical. I too agree that the verbage has to be better defined in the rule books to state "a red cross being displayed means that there is a situation that warrants shutting down the stage" and "that the stage is stopped at that point" or something to that effect.
 

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RE: The KISS principle continued.....

>But if it's a total blockage that noone
>is going to get around, then the stage will be thrown. So if
>the red cross is used for that, who cares if it is not
>medical. I too agree that the verbage has to be better
>defined in the rule books to state "a red cross being
>displayed means that there is a situation that warrants
>shutting down the stage" and "that the stage is stopped at
>that point" or something to that effect.

Hi Eric,

I think what started this discussion was the scenario that the stage was blocked in a way that we need to tell fellow competitors to stop to clear up a situation that wil be considered Force Majeure; in other words, that stage times will NOT be thrown, but the competitors need to deal with a road blockage, and them move on and HOPE that the organizers will listen to their pleadings and assign them a better time. The whole idea here is to slow down and stop the following competitors safely for this situation.

If you re-read the recent discussion about the Sno*Drift situation, there is a lot of input from the event rallymaster that road blockages that are considered Force Majeure are common at Sno*Drift. Most of these are temporary blockages, where a tug or some added hands will get the competitor unstuck or out of the way, and then we move on; Force Majeure applies. The use of the Red Cross is inappropriate for Force Majeure situations, because the red corss stops the the running of the stage and throws times on stage for a medical emergency. A medical emergency is the only circusmstance under which any competitor has the autohority to fully stop a stage, by our current rules structure. Use of the red cross to signify a Force Majeure situation is what I think those suggesting this added sign are trying to avoid.

The '3 triangles across the road' has been used for this '3rd signal' in the past, so we certainly have had a system in place for years where there is a separate, 3rd signal for 'Stop! Force Majuere blockage ahead'. I guess we can stick with this, but it is not documented in the rules, and has the problem of the triangles being mown down as has been described.

As far as adding signs, I don't see any issue with that. (As long as I don't have to spend $500 for a sign!). We've had so many changes in the control signs over the years that we have lost count; we've added FIA signs for radio locations, etc. I think the competitors can adjust to another one if need be.

Regards,
Mark B.
 
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