Comments for Wednesday, December 14, 2005

KBS (456 comments)
News and driving get no comments. Talk about Booty!
Chompy the Ghost (920 comments)
Same goes for Musicals.
The General Populace (1 comment)
GC Fire Emblem review!
Rob (209 comments)
That first photo looks like Springfield.
Rachel (250 comments)
Aggressive driving and speeding are both highly dangerous. If you don't understand why, you have no business on the road.

Don't make me write a whole essay on this, Brian. :P

The "conditions at the time" aren't the only thing that determines what a safe speed is, by the way. And no way is the average (or even very experienced) motorist qualified to judge what a safe speed is in any given situation. It depends on a whole bunch of factors, some of which they can't know, and some of which 99% of drivers don't understand (such as the laws of physics and the handling limits of cars).
Rachel (250 comments)
And to continue my grand tradition of posting a second comment about 5 minutes after my first one, Santa Claus has such a shabby history I'm not sure Paris Hilton is a less savoury choice of Christmas emblem.
Rachel (250 comments)
Who's Harry Crumb?

I voted for Angelina. <3
Beavis (225 comments)
Please explain to me the laws of physics or the poor construction methods of modern vehicles that should prevent me from driving 90 miles an hour down an straight, empty Texas highway...
Beavis (225 comments)
I must be one of those 99% of people that isn't responsible enough to make decisions for myself or live my own life. Oh if only the government would do it for me, I'd be so much better off....
Ex-Roomie (845 comments)
Yeah, and I know there are DEFINITELY diferences in people's ability to handle a vehicle, but I don't think those "conditions" have a single thing to do with physics. They pretty much have to do with the attention span and fine motor skills of the driver. Sadly enough, I think that for 85.6% of the population those two characteristics are .07 seconds and "none" respectively. I think the US should adopt the same policy as Jamaica. The people there have to successfully and flawlessly navigate an obstacle course of ramps, cement, and cones before they get a liscense. Funny, because the whole time we were there we saw no accidents, yet lots of aggressive/fast driving. Those were some of the most skilled (and crazy ) drivers I've ever seen.
BU (1531 comments)
The picture is the Fairfax County Parkway.

What if I understand the laws of physics? Can I speed?
Beavis (225 comments)
Drive in India sometime. you'll understand agressive driving then.

Those little f'ers will drive on the wrong side of the road to get around a traffic jam.

Rachel (250 comments)
Why, when somebody is impressing the need for speed limits and other important road laws, does some idiot (I don't know you, however your argument is unquestionably an idiotic one) always come along and bring up the "empty highway" situation as if that somehow proves some marvellous point?

I'll give you a better one. Driving through the outback in the Northern Territory in Australia. Huge fucking distances, no fucking traffic, nothing to run into. And guess what? No speed limit, either. But that's what we like to call, in technical terms, an UNUSUAL SITUATION. Just because you can drive however the fuck you like out there and probably not die or kill anybody else doesn't mean you should have free reign on every road in existence, OR that you're a good driver with good judgement.
Rachel (250 comments)
For Anna (I think?):

An example of the laws of physics that I was talking about is stopping distance. No matter how good a driver you are (and even with good tires and ABS and whatever else), your car will take a certain distance to stop when you hit the brakes.

This distance is dramatically affected by your speed. It's not a linear process, either. If you're going twice as fast as I am, it takes you *four times* as far as me to stop. If you're going three times faster, it'll take nine times as far to stop. Stopping distance is proportional to the square of your velocity.

So what you might think of as a "small" difference in speed (say five or ten miles per hour) can make a SIGNIFICANT difference in stopping distance.

Not only that, but you're travelling at a speed sufficient to kill a pedestrian, or have an accident resulting serious or fatal injuries to your or other people involved in the accident.

Five or ten miles per hour difference is a life or death kind of difference, and speed limits are extremely important.

(Tens of?) Thousands of people are killed every year by vehicle accidents in the US, and a huge fucking heap of those are preventable. If the sort of draconian laws and massive expenditure that the "terrorist threat" has inspired were directed towards saving lives on the roads you'd be averting Two-Towers scale carnage twice over every fucking year. The attitude of every bloody society on this planet towards car safety is ridiculous.

Driver ignorance is staggering. Driver skill is pathetically low. Driver training and testing are inconcionably inadequate.
Rachel (250 comments)
Further examples:

* No amount of driving skill can account for the unpredictable nature of the driving environment. You can't predict with certainty what other drivers or pedestrians will do, so you need to have enough time to react when one of them makes a mistake. Speeding and aggressive driving both severely reduce your ability to respond to and avoid a sudden, dangerous situation. (One of the main features of aggressive driving is tailgating - driving too close to the vehicle in front - which *guarantees* you will hit that car if they're forced to stop suddenly for any reason.

* How many people do you know who can *accurately* judge distance by sight, to within a couple of metres? If you don't know exactly how far you are away from something, how can you know exactly how fast you should be going in order to brake in time and stop yourself from hitting it?

* Even if you can judge distance, can you do the maths? Do you know how far YOUR car, with YOU driving (it is different for every car and driver) takes to stop when you're travelling 10 miles per hour, or 20, or 30, or 40, or 50, or 100? Well, do you?
Rachel (250 comments)
In the section above where it says:

"Not only that, but you're travelling at a speed sufficient to kill a pedestrian, or have an accident resulting serious or fatal injuries to your or other people involved in the accident."

It is also meant to say that you're travelling at this speed until almost the VERY END of your braking distance. If you've only travelled half your braking distance when you hit something, you're still travelling at WAY MORE than half your speed. you'll probably be travelling at 80% or more of your driving speed, in fact. And 80% of NORMAL road speed limits is a FATAL impact speed.
Rachel (250 comments)
"I must be one of those 99% of people that isn't responsible enough to make decisions for myself or live my own life. Oh if only the government would do it for me, I'd be so much better off...."

Your right to make all your own decisions unimpeded by regulation ENDS when you endager the lives of OTHER PEOPLE.

Or is someone perfectly entitled to "make their own decision" about grabbing a shotgun and shooting up 10 people in a diner?

Cars are dangerous and potentially deadly machinery. The reason we tolerate that is that they're also very useful. But strict road laws are necessary to prevent massive loss of innocent life. Which, incidentally, isn't currently being prevented - however the laws that *are* present *do* prevent it from being *even worse*.
Rachel (250 comments)
There weren't always laws about driving, or vehicle safety standards. Guess where they came from? People said "Oh my god, there's so many people getting killed! What can we possibly do about this?"

And so we have laws and regulations. Because of "make my own decisions" dickheads, the laws and regulations we have are insufficent. But they're better than nothing. A hell of a lot better than nothing.
BU (1531 comments)
The URI! Zone: Bringing disparate opinions of humanity together across the world sicne 1996.
Chompy the Ghost (920 comments)
That was enough to content to build a Page Rank 4 site in and of itself.
BU (1531 comments)
The straight and empty road example holds true in the US, because 9 times out of 10, that's where they're going to enforce it. The guy going 80 when there's no one else on the road is destined to get a ticket, while the guy tailgating and weaving through heavy traffic gets away scot free because it's too much effort to catch up with him and pull him over.

US Enforcement happens where it doesn't matter and just builds up resentment against the officers, rather than affecting anyone's long-term behaviour.
Rachel (250 comments)
Well that's an issue with enforcement, it has nothing to do with how necessary or reasonable the laws themselves are.

Over here they just note your license plate and send you the fine (and demerit points) by mail, instead of pulling you over. Also they use laser speed detectors that can pick you out of traffic.

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