Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Stupidity and the laws of physics

I've always liked the introductions to physics, which means the descriptive portions of it, not the mathematical aspects of physics. Ever since young I've liked to know how certain things worked, what really went on, that fascinated me, but if you wanted me to calculate specifically how something operated, I'd blank out and give you a blur look.

So everything around us is governed by the laws of physics, that's how things work, when we're driving we take into account the speed we're at, and its simple physics: the faster you go, the harder the impact. Did you know that for cars impact absorption is tested at around 47km/h? I thought about that for a while when I first read it, and wondered who would actually be constantly be driving at that speed so that they're safe, and I also wondered if I kept to the speed limit of say, 80km/h, then the impact would certainly be fatal. Then I realized that you hardly ever hit something at 80, that's what brakes are for.

But a lot of people don't really think about the external factors, they have selfish physics in mind. That is the thinking of, I think 80 is too slow, therefore I will drive at 120, because I have a new and powerful car, and I know I can handle it. Yes, that is one comment I've read sometime ago, which I blogged about somewhere, our friend said that since we are having newer and more 'hi-tech' cars which are safer and faster, the speed limits ought to be increased. That's where I reckoned that my old Volkswagen can challenge the likes of any Kancil on speed, and survive crash tests in that respect. So, you wonder, why indeed? Well, like an inversed teen romance breakup, 'its not me, its you.'

So no matter how safe you might be, or how you keep to the rules, someone else might not be, and that's the person that's going to cause fatality. Ideally, supposing you're keeping to your speed limit of 90km/h on the MRR2, and the fellow on the opposite side is doing the same, but supposing he flies across the divider, and this is not something funny or new, because one of the many inefficiencies of our country is the inability to erect uniform dividers across our highways. Then even though technically you're keeping within the limits of the law, you'd still be crashing at a combined speed of 180km/h. Of course that's the worst case scenario because the divider, the lack of it, or what remains of it ought to have slowed you down by then, but you never know what one does when one panics, some people step on the accelerator, some people blank out.

The deal today is that in the papers one of them morons that wrote in with a photo saying that whenever he sees a trailer carrying cargo, in this instance, large pipes, he'd immediately speed up and drive alongside the trailer because he's afraid the cables that's holding the cargo would snap. I looked at it in bewilderment for a while: I think the word is 'stupified'. For one, ratchets aren't supposed to snap. But even if they do, they are carrying pipes, and driving beside the trailer means that the pipes would roll off the trailer onto the sides first, crushing our moron driver, which isn't such a bad idea. If you were driving behind the trailer, one of two things could happen: If the cables snapped, the driver might not notice it as quickly, so you as the driver would notice that the cable have snapped, therefore the pipes are rolling off the sides and destroying the cars on both sides of you, prompting you to apply your brakes, and placing yourself in a safe zone, OR, the driver immediately notices that his cargo is falling off the trailer, therefore applies emergency brakes, and if you're the other kind of moron that follows a trailer too closely behind, would smash head on to the rear of the trailer, but if you weren't and apply your brakes in time, would have done 2 things: placed yourself in a safe zone, and manage to avoid crashing into the rear of the trailer by adhering to the minimum distance to the vehicle in front, or the worst that could happen is have a minor collision that your car would have been able to absorb via its crumple zones.

As for me, I'd stay clear of these vehicles at all cost. Distancing yourself from these vehicles is always the best bet. So I'd rather get speeding tickets and get ahead of them than to be placed in such a situation. Honestly speaking these trailers aren't driving any slower nor safer these days, and the police don't seem to be doing much about it either, they who would rather peer in your car to see if you're on the phone, or if you've paid your road tax, or if you're 10km/h over the limit. They ought to be out there keeping us safe. Its ironic that the police aren't really policing anymore. But at least the morons are still morons, if not I'd have nothing to write about.