Posted by Lorenz on February 19, 1999 at 03:54:50:
In Reply to: Speed Kills posted by JoeT on February 18, 1999 at 15:45:53:
I see your point, and maybe I should clarify:
My point was that it depends on the situation whether or not you're driving "dangerously quickly". 25 mph can be completely irresponsible if you're, say, in a crowded supermarket parking lot or similar situation. On the other hand, doing 120 mph or more on a straight, dry highway in good weather with no traffic can be completely reasonable, at least in my opinion. You may disagree, and that's fine. We're civilized people, and our opinions differ on this point. Maybe the fact that I'm from Germany has something to do with this -- I think it's ridiculous to say "anything faster than x mph is dangerous, but if you're driving at x or slower, you're safe". I realize that 100 mph is a nice magic number, especially with the transition from 2 to 3 digits. Maybe the US should adopt knots as its measure of speed... :)
Yes, if you are involved in an accident at a higher speed, chances are that you're more likely to be hurt than if you're going slowly. Does driving quickly automatically mean that you're more likely to be in an accident? Not necessarily. If you're doing 80 in dense traffic, that's not cool. Maybe if traffic is flowing at 80, in which case you may be more of a hazard if you're going 50... Again, this depends entirely on the situation. Out in the boonies on some deserted stretch of Interstate, I think 120+ fine.
Similarly, tailgating is incredibly dangerous -- I always make sure that I'm at least 3 seconds behind the car in front of me. When you're doing 120 mph on the Autobahn, this means a couple hundred feet.
Inattentive drivers are dangerous, no matter how fast or slowly they're driving: if you're gabbing on the phone, pull over. If you're hungry, eat your burger in the parking lot of the Mickey-Dee's where you bought it, or better yet, just go inside and sit down at the table. It's the same price -- what a deal! Read the paper at home or at the office. Practice your violin there, too. You get the point... When you're behind the wheel, pay attention. You're engaging in probably the most dangerous every-day activity I can imagine, unless you're a professional bungee jumper, or something like that. (Any professional bungee jumpers on this board?)
I'm not sure I'd want to bet my life against yours, but I am fairly confident that the vast majority of accidents in Germany do not happen on the Autobahns. I could be wrong, and I don't have the traffic statistics to argue the point, but I vaguely remember reading something to the effect in a car mag a while back. I'll see if I can find something on www.yahoo.de -- look for words like "Unfallstatistik", "Verkehrsunfall", "Verkehrstote", and "Autobahn".
I'm not sure what the remark about cops and tickets was supposed to be all about. I got a ticket for doing 95 last summer -- would you like to guess on what type of road I did 95, and how much traffic was on the road at the time? How much do you think I had to drink that day? Was I talking on the cell phone, or eating a burger? (Interstate, none, nothing, no, and no) The officer wrote me a ticket, I paid it, and that's that. No court, no judge, what's the point?
These are just my thoughts, of course. I have a feeling you'll disagree, and that's fine. Just thought I'd clarify.
PS: My name is Lorenz -- no extra 'o' at the end. :)