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Archive for April, 2006

Distracted Driving?

Posted by ifitsgotanengine on April 25, 2006

There’s been a lot of talk lately about the results of the NHTSA‘s recent study on the causes of accidents. It seems that driving while distracted – whether using a cell phone (hands-free, even), eating, etc. – is more dangerous than speeding.

Think about that for a minute.

I had read it, but it took some prodding by Mark Tapscott to get me really thinking about it. He asked:

“…then why should law enforcement continue to devote so much time and resources to speed enforcement? And shouldn’t insurance companies penalize distracted drivers more than speeding drivers?”

Both very valid questions. When was the last time you were ticketed for distracted driving?

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The study can be found here. I haven’t looked into it very deeply yet, but here are some preliminary thoughts.

  • 2,000,000 miles by 100 cars = 20,000 miles per car per year.
  • 82 accidents out of those 100 cars = 82% chance of accident every 20,000 miles driven.

That’s crazy! I average ~25,000 miles per year and have only ever had one accident, 14 years ago.

  • Drowsiness is a significant problem that increases a driver’s risk of a crash or near-crash by at least a factor of four. But drowsy driving may be significantly under-reported in police crash investigations.

I suspect it is under-reported because you’re awake after you crash (which is when the police are there). I don’t see any way to correct this.

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As an aside, I have updated my links section. Some of the sites had moved (Ben’s Car Blog and The Garage) and now my links reflect this. Also, I have added Tapscott Behind the Wheel. Be sure to check them out!

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

RC Engines

Posted by ifitsgotanengine on April 6, 2006

It’s truly amazine what kind of engines are available to the RC modeling guys.

The engine pictured is a five cylinder four-stroke radial engine. It produces four horsepower at 8,000 RPM while weighing less than six pounds.

There are many other cool engines. This flat four weighs even less, and makes the same power. It doesn’t look quite as sexy, though.

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Then we have the two-strokes. They make tons of power and rev to insane RPMs while weighing less yet. This engine makes 4.8 horsepower, revs to 25,000 RPM (that’s twenty-five thousand) and weighs less than two pounds.

Can’t leave out the outboards. This one just looks so cool.

I’ll take one of each, please.

Posted in radio control | 1 Comment »

I can’t drive fifty-five!

Posted by ifitsgotanengine on April 3, 2006

Because nobody will let me.

Let me back up a bit.

Spending 10 years in the Navy gave me the opportunity to live all over the country. This (Salem/Seneca, SC) is the only place I’ve lived where I routinely get stuck behind someone going less than the speed limit.

And I’m not just talking about three or four mph, here. Hardly a day goes by that I don’t get stuck behind someone who refuses to accelerate to within 10 mph of the speed limit. I used to think that they were just being extremely careful, until I noticed that they drive slowly through the stop signs as well.

While I’m on the subject, there are some other idiosyncrasies I’ve noticed.

In Quitman, Mississippi, most drivers seem to take a dashed center line as a challenge. I got passed by more people there than anywhere else.

In Saratoga Springs, NY (and, I suspect, most of the Northeast) if someone is at a red light waiting to turn left, they will invariably dash across in front of the oncoming traffic when the light turns green.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »