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Slammin' on the brakes (archive)

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Posted by Long Distance on October 07, 1999 at 10:05:45:

In Reply to: Re: Would have gotten Acura if I didn't.... posted by Rudy on October 06, 1999 at 11:30:34:

: This would only make sense if the driver ahead was stopped. Given that I never close in on anyone with greater than 10-15mph advantage on them that gives you a reaction time of 13.5 seconds (using 15mph) I would say that is enough.

Ah - see this is where you are wrong. Going back to "Driver's Ed" days when you were taught the "2 second following rule" where you should follow at no less than 2 seconds behind the person in front of you: How did you calculate the 2 seconds?

My numbers are using a fixed reference point. Start the timer when the lead car passes a mile marker and stop the timer when you reach it. At 100 yards separation doing 100mph this is almost exactly 2 seconds (actually 45/1000s of a second more)

You say that you actually have over 13 seconds to respond, but what if the person in front of you hits the brakes hard? This is the unexpected move that you need to give at least 2 seconds for - not your standard lane changes. If you expect the unexpected like this and seriously think you have over 13 seconds to react I misjudged you and I wouldn't want you on the road anywhere near me.

Don't think this could happen? You haven't been driving enough. I (along with a 22-wheel rig hauling stone) just missed becoming one with sheet metal when a driver more than 5 seconds ahead of me (on a fairly quiet road) suddenly locked up his brakes from 70MPH (3 lane concrete highway). The car disappeared into a cloud of smoke (from the tires) while it was thrown into a wild out-of-control spin. I headed straight for the shoulder (and dirt ending in guardrail) while the rig locked-em-up and headed to the right. Amazing nobody got hurt: I was able to maintain control in the dirt and the truck used the right-hand shoulder to pass this incident. The police report stated "driver was asleep" and "thought he saw brake lights in front of him when he suddently awoke".

Stranger things have happened. At your 100 yards doing 100 mph do you think you could have gotten through this without so much as a scratch on your car?

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