Category Archives: Cars

The most dangerous thing you could do today…

…is driving a car. Especially if you are commuting to work.

The commute to and from work is easily one of the most mind-numbing yet dangerous activities many of us engage in on a regular basis. You take the same route, get comfortable with the same traffic patterns, and engage in an activity that you have down to a muscle memory. It promotes complacency.

So in an effort to deal with the boredom, a lot of us turn to talking on the phone, texting, reading and sending emails, yelling at the radio, putting on makeup, shaving, and eating breakfast on the go.

Over the past two decades we’ve also seen a steady progression in both size and power in the cars we drive. It used to be that a car with greater than 300 hp could be considered a supercar. Now 300 hp just means it’s an entry-level luxury sports coupe, sports sedan, or SUV. These vehicles are easily 2800 lbs in weight, and some are close to two tons. Furthermore, they’ve come with a built-in illusion of safety with their 6 airbag systems, electronic traction control, and ABS, leading to riskier driving behavior.

Unfortunately the advances in distraction technology and vehicle power and mass haven’t really had an effect on the laws of physics.

Analogies to Assist in Understanding Bodily Injuries
Due to Motor Vehicle Collision

A fall off a 3.3 feet desk results in a speed at impact of 10 m.p.h. A 10 m.p.h. change in speed (Delta-V) in a motor vehicle collision is equivalent to falling off a desk. Similarly, a 15 m.p.h. change in speed is equivalent to falling 7.5 feet – off a step ladder. A 20 m.p.h. change in speed is equivalent to falling 13.4 feet – off the roof of a one story building. A 25 m.p.h. change in speed is equivalent to falling 20.5 feet – off a two-story building. A 30 m.p.h. change in speed is equivalent to falling 30 feet – off a three-story building.

A less than 20 m.p.h. motor vehicle collision should not be considered a “low speed” in regards to the human body. A fall off a 7.5 foot ladder (10 m.p.h.) may fracture an extremity. Many who fall from the roof of a one story building (15 m.p.h.) sustain injuries. Most who fall from the roof of a two-story building (20 m.p.h.) sustain injuries.

If it sounds like I’m trying to scare you, I am. What you ought to do with that fear, however, is to put both hands on the wheel, pay more attention, put down the devices, turn on your headlights, watch the guy in front, behind, and to your sides, and be ready to use your horn at a moment’s notice. It might save your life.

Hang up and drive!

Effective July 1, drivers in California will not be allowed to use their mobile phones while driving, unless they have a hands-free device or are using the walkie-talkie feature.

Things to note:

    The fine will be $20 for the first offense, and $50 for subsequent offenses. Penalty assessments can be added on, dramatically increasing the fine.
    You can be pulled over for driving and talking.

The city of Beverly Hills already has big signs up warning people about the coming date. I can’t wait to see those people pulled off to the side of the road for this; we might even get some cop-slapping video action. More details at the DMV’s website.

Loose Ends

Paul Potts

Paul Potts came back for the finals last night:

Paul Potts Final Performance: Nessun Dorma

Results of Britain’s Got Talent Final and winning Performance

The former cell phone salesman has won 100,000GBP and will perform before the queen. Congrats!


Unfortunately, the water that leaked into the chamber completely destroyed the car.


The chamber was built to withstand a nuclear attack and included containers of oil and gasoline, in case the vehicles of the future didn’t use these substances. However, the people of 1957 had no idea that something as simple as water would ruin their gift to the future. They probably also had no idea that Plymouth would cease to exist as a brand, a decision made at the turn of the century by Chrysler’s German owners.

The Tulsarama! site has more photos in their gallery.

MacArthur Maze Tanker Fire

Finally, it turns out that sometimes government agencies can get it together enough to get a vital piece of infrastructure rebuilt in 25 days. It also helped that they offered a $200,000 a day bonus for early completion, capped at $5m.

Full coverage at the Chronicle.