15
Sep
09

Brake the Pattern

Now that college football is in full swing let’s talk about Football Fields. By the way, Hook’em Horns! A football field is 100 yards of green grass, in one form or another. I can remember in High School (yep, way back when) when our team went to the playoffs and got to play on Astro Turf for the first time. It was a great experience.

The thing was that the turf we played on was like green carpet with a very thin pad underneath it. Can you say rug burn? Now, it seems that some new stadiums are going back to natural turf.

The length of two football fields is about what you need to stop a vehicle if you are traveling 65 miles per hour (300 feet x 2 = 600). Actually, you will need roughly 500 feet. Here’s how it “brakes” down.

From the time you see a concern ahead of you, until your brain says, look out! there went ¾ of a second or 60 feet, to the time your brain tells your foot to hit the brakes, another ¾ second and 60 feet, to the time it takes your vehicle to stop, another 5 seconds and 400 feet, you get where I’m going here? Boom!

Tailgating or following to close to the vehicle in front of you is a major cause of accidents. How often do you see this in your daily commute? A line of cars backed up and when you get to the front of the line there’s two or three cars that have rear ended one another. I see it just about every day here in Houston.

So help keep traffic moving and your insurance costs down by adding some space between you and the vehicle in front. At 65 mph the vehicle in front of you should be at least 7 seconds ahead. If you travel greater than 65 mph add another second.

Try this experiment today. While traveling on the freeway find a marker in front of you (a sign or bridge will work) and watch the vehicle in front of you as it passes that mark and count 1001, 1002, 1003, etc. If you are traveling 65 mph you should be able to get to 1007 before you pass the same marker.

A couple of helpful tips for leaving yourself an out in traffic:
1) When you come to a complete stop in traffic you should be able to see where the vehicle’s rear tires in front of you meet the pavement. If you can’t see the pavement, you’re too close.
2) When you brake use an imaginary car between you and the car in front of you. Like that car has an invisible shield in back of it. If you never come closer than a car’s length to another vehicle in traffic you are much less likely to rear end someone, or be rear ended, because you have that cushion to maneuver.

Down The Road – Mike

Stopped in traffic with room to maneuver.

Stopped in traffic with room to maneuver.

If you can't see the pavement below the rear tires, you're too close.

If you can't see the pavement below the rear tires, you're too close.

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