Heavy Footed? Better Not Hit Anything


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The most recent record top speed for a road legal car is 267 MPH. The car capable of this is the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport, and you have to shell out 2.4 million to get one. But still, 267 mph? Planes take off at lower speeds than that. Hit something going that fast, and there is no question about it, you die. Not concussion die, like you will die in a giant epic fireball where there will be no remains left for anyone to figure out who you were. Nobody is stupid enough to go that fast though, I mean, that's insane, driving over 200 miles per hour, especially when the maximum speed limit in the U.S. is 75 mph.


speeding-car-100MPH.jpg

 

Um....... Yeah........ it's been done

 

In fact, the 200 MPH barrier has been not just broken, but smashed. The fastest speeding ticket ever recorded was 243 miles per hour. That's not a typo, that's a legit number. In fact, the 200 mph barrier gets broken more often than we think, and surprisingly the drivers don't crash every time, despite the apparent danger in doing so. Speeding is at the tip of the iceberg when it comes to road laws we try to stop from being broken, so it gets a lot of heat for being the primary cause of a lot of accident fatalities.

 

But is it, as many people would argue, the most dangerous road habit of them all? This will be a two parter, the first part examining speeding, and the second part focusing on where I think we have a major pitfall in how we look at road accidents.

 

Lets start with the basic idea that speeding is bad. According to the NHTSA statistics from 2010, 32% of accident fatalities were due to speeding. This is a pretty constant percentage across the past decade or so. In addition to this, there has been observational research done for a long time that states quite clearly that driving faster is exponentially more dangerous. The one that most people point to is this one done by NOVA, which references facts dealing with the force of a hit, reaction time, and braking distance as their references for why speeding is such a bad thing

 

But I don't think any of this quite drives the point home like the death of Ryan Dunn (RIP) a little more than a year ago. He was said to be driving his Porsche 130 mph before he collided with a guardrail, and then continued into the woods where his car caught fire. This was arguably the most reported car accident of all time, and almost every news outlet, blog, and general website mentioned it in some way.

 

So speeding is dangerous, that's what I'm saying here. If you have a nice car, don't floor it on the highway, because if you hit something, your odds of dying or at least being fatally injured increase exponentially. This is where the argument ends for most people, and I think this might be one of the most overlooked errors we have made as a society.

 

How? We have talked about in class about how whenever we don't do science, we indirectly kill people. This idea applies to road safety as well, and we really have ignored what I believe to be the single biggest error in this subject area.

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