Math, Physics and Driving

Drive around Boston for a few months, and you’ll soon see that driving test standards have fallen precipitously.  Like an Aston Martin off a cliff.  Clearly anyone can get a driver’s license these days.
You can be at the bottom of your high school class, have flunked every math and physics class you’ve ever had, and still you are allowed to pilot a two-ton hunk of steel at 70 mph across our nation.  Oh, good.  If you have no idea how your car works, if it is a magical contraption to you, one that mysteriously makes noise and goes from A to B because you twisted the ignition key and pushed a foot pedal, you should not be driving; you should be walking.  Or taking public transport.
Without even a modest grounding in math and science — and that math résumé should include some probability and statistics – drivers don’t have the necessary analytical tools to understand the important parts of the car: what is happening under the hood; how brakes work; what tires can do and not do.  Further, without math and science skills, they can’t understand what is going on around the car being driven.  Why else would so many Bostonians drive so close to the cars in front of them, while going at high speed?
Stop and think about this.  Since Henry Ford told Americans to be happy with a black car, we have been told to put a safe distance between our car and the one in front of us.  The rule of thumb says to allow one car length for every ten miles an hour of speed.  Why is that?  It’s to provide a buffer zone in case we need to slow down, stop or change direction.  Things happen very quickly, in fractions of a second, when traveling at 70 mph.  Wouldn’t you rather have a margin of safety, for you, and for your passengers?
If you are one of the many people I have seen, driving just a few feet behind the vehicle in front of you, you must think that you are a superhuman, with superfast reflexes, and your car has brakes and tires so good that they are above the laws of physics.
You people are idiots, and we can only hope that the Darwin Effect removes you from the population before you hurt innocent drivers.
Back off a little, Boston drivers.  Give the car in front of you a little room, and live a little longer.

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