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Published: February 22, 2014 print this article Print save this article Save email this article Email ENLARGE TEXT increase font decrease font

Safe car separation?

Being almost 60 years old, I thought that I might enroll myself and perhaps my parents in Vince Somariva’s Seniors for Safe Driving class that was highlighted in the Feb. 18 Butler Eagle. But his suggestion that drivers allow three to four seconds distance between vehicles, and to double that for winter driving, got me scratching my head and reaching for my calculator.
At 60 mph, a car travels 88 feet per second. So leaving a 4 second gap while driving on I-79 means 352 feet, or more than a football field. That’s a lot of distance.
If you double that for winter driving, that’s well over two football fields, which doesn’t seem practical. So then I thought about driving around town, say at 30 mph. Somariva’s suggestion for winter driving would be: 44 feet per second, times 8 seconds, equals 352 feet. Imagine Hanson Avenue with a football field between each car.
I wonder if Mr. Somariva is serious about these numbers. Or maybe my math is off.
For the record, I follow the “2-second rule” as described on Wikipedia. Make it three to four seconds if the roads are slippery. If you need eight seconds, please take the bus.

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Phil Kriley
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