Why Quantifying Your Driving Ends In A Crash, Always

Illustration for article titled Why Quantifying Your Driving Ends In A Crash, Always

Today we saw how BMW is giving its drivers more information about how they can drive faster. Let me explain why measuring how fast you drive ends up in a crash, always.


Reader Thunder told a very familiar story of what happened when he realized he could measure his bike to his friend's house and time himself.

I'm reminded of middle school, when I was bicycling to a friend's house every morning before walking to school. I made that roughly 2 mile ride a personal challenge.

Illustration for article titled Why Quantifying Your Driving Ends In A Crash, Always

The important part is when I turned right off Clinton Street. That's where my route began a nice, steep downhill, then a relatively soft right onto Harts Hill Terrace, and another right onto Gilbert. Riding this every day, I pushed it a little more every time. There was never any traffic around there, so I was taking the whole road.

On the day in question, I was at what felt like warp 9 (probably somewhere around 30 MPH) on my mountain bike when I came whipping down that section... and discovered a Lincoln Town Car coming up Gilbert. I was going far too fast to tighten my turn and pass to the right of the car, so I veered left, onto a lawn.

Illustration for article titled Why Quantifying Your Driving Ends In A Crash, Always

Now, this is a nice, steep downhill section. The lawn was relatively flat... then I went across some terracing. Next, I shot across the driveway of that house, and hit one of the decorative rocks placed at the driveway's edge. That fired me into the air (still on the bike), right as the hill dropped away more steeply (at least 30 degrees down), giving me some impressive air. I passed between a tree and a stop sign, then crossed Norris Drive. I managed to stop on the far side of Norris Drive, and take stock of being alive.

I then looked back up the hill, where the Lincoln was now stopped, the driver staring back at me with eyes the size of hubcaps. I threw a wave, and continued on my way (probably a little shakily).

Here's the route: Old home to old friend's house

Reader Ark explained how this kind of thinking works on four wheels.

I've been down that road of keeping a stopwatch with you and seeing how fast you can do a particular stretch of country road.

Inevitably you start getting rather competitive with yourself and it ends with one of two things: You hugging a telephone pole, or you sitting at a stop sign realizing that you just cleared 12 miles of winding, shitty country road in 10 minutes flat and your brakes are so faded you can barely stop.

Then you start wondering if you can do it in 9.50...and that's when there's the telephone pole.


I myself used to have a great biking route that I loved to hammer through, until the day I brought a friend with a stopwatch along, and I lodged my helmet so hard into a pole that I got a concussion.

Once you start measuring G forces, once you start putting a stopwatch to driving, once you try to get a high score from your speedometer at a familiar corner near your house...it's only a matter of time before you crash.


Have you ever tried playing a high score game with yourself in a car? How did that end up?

Photo Credit: Nick Trippe

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Yo dawg, I heard you like to read comments on posts, so I took comments from an earlier post and made a new post about them.