Posts Tagged Bad Weather

Is The 2-Second Rule Good Enough?

How long does it take to stop your car – if the car in front of you stops on a dime?  The answer is   …   it depends.

 

First, our brains need to compute that the car has stopped and that we need to stop right away, or we’ll crash into them.  That might take a second.  It might take longer if we’re having a conversation or the kids are yelling in the back of the car.  Or, we’re eating or talking on our phones.  Sometimes, we might be daydreaming about a problem that we have and that we need to solve.

 

Visual reminder to start counting at "Zero" - instead of starting at "One", when counting to "Three".

It might take two or three seconds to realize that we’d better stop right away.  Race car drivers are considered perfect if they can stop within a half a second.  None of us are perfect and we do have those distractions that I just mentioned.

 

Why don’t we have more rear-end crashes – then?

 

Most of the time the car in front of us can’t stop immediately because it has its own momentum and that gives us a second or two to notice that they put their brakes on and we’d better stop, too.

 

There are exceptions, of course.  Maybe they weren’t paying attention and a semi-truck stopped suddenly and they didn’t notice.  In that case, they would smash into the Semi and that wouldn’t give YOU time to stop, either.  This is when a driver gets seriously injured.  Pay attention.

 

One time, I was a passenger in a car and the driver WAS paying attention. But, it was twilight and there was a truck in front of him.  He had a bunch of wooden pallets in the back of the truck and one of the pallets suddenly went flying off the truck – onto the road.  The driver responded quickly – but, not quickly enough to avoid an accident.

 

The underbelly of his car suffered quite a bit of damage.  He didn’t have total body coverage and it cost several thousand to get his car fixed.  At least no one in the vehicle suffered any physical injuries.


The main problem is that if the car in front of you brakes heavily, the driver behind him might not even have time to react before hitting it.

 

Keep the following in mind:

  • Motorcycles take longer to stop than cars do.
  • Trucks take even longer to stop than do either motorcycles or cars.
  • Cars that have worn out tires take longer to stop. Different things affect the stop distance – such as, the type of tire, how it’s inflated, the suspension of the tires and how they are balanced.
  • If you have anti-lock brakes, (ABS), then you’re in a better situation than someone that does not have anti-lock brakes.
  • Older drivers can have reaction times that exceed 1.5 seconds.

 

Is the 2 second rule enough time – to avoid a collision?

 

The total stopping distance consists of your thinking distance and your braking distance. Under ideal conditions, you’d have one second to realize that you need to stop and one second to bring the auto to a stop, or to take an evasive action.  Technically, two seconds is not enough when you factor in reaction times.

 

When should you use the four-second rule?

 

Increase your following distance to four seconds per car length, if it’s wet or icy out.  That will give you more time and more room to stop properly. 

 


We Will Fight For You!


Call the Law Office of Gerald Fugit at 432-301-9252.

Only a Fool Follows the 2-Second Rule

What is the two-second rule of driving?

 

In order to adequately stop in time to not smash into the car in front of you in traffic, you need to keep a minimum of a two second ‘space cushion’ of stopping distance between you and the car ahead of you – at 30 mph or less.

 

To find this distance while driving – eyeball some object on the side of the road, like a billboard sign.  After the car ahead of you passes the object, count two seconds. If you pass the object within two seconds, you’re driving too close to the car in front of you.  You’ll need to remember to pay attention during these two-second calculations to make sure that other roadside objects, don’t come out of nowhere.Diagram that shows how to measure the stopping distance between your car and the car in front of you.

Credit: https://sites.google.com/site/johnparsonsadi/2-second-rule

The two-second rule is not sufficient for all speeds. The two seconds between cars is only relevant for cars at the lower speeds. You’ll need a much longer stopping distance when you’re driving faster.

 

The calculation for the time needed between two cars to allow the trailing car enough distance to come to a complete stop before hitting the leading car that had to stop immediately – is as follows:

 

Given a braking distance of 57 feet, (according to the Iowa Department of Transportation), when traveling at 30 miles per hour (30 mph = 44 feet/second), you need to have 1.3 seconds between you and the car ahead of you. So, you’ll need 57 feet in order to stop 44 feet/second=1.3 seconds.

 

But, our brains need time to process the information, decide to brake and then, to signal our feet to slam on the brakes. Using an average reaction time of 0.0000000000475, or 1.5 seconds, (from by the Iowa Department of Transportation), the total time needed to stop is: 1.3 seconds (braking time) + 1.5 seconds (reaction time)=2.8 seconds total.

 

 

At 60 mph, the time needed between vehicles comes out to over four seconds.

 

 

So why doesn’t the two-second rule work?  SCIENCE. The reason is that the energy required to stop is dependent on the force of friction (F) over a distance (x) (W = FΔx) and is also equal to the change in kinetic energy, which is dependent on the mass (m) and speed (v) (ΔKE = ½mv2), which means that FΔx=12mv2.

Credit: https://www.cunesower.com/everyday-science-two-second-rule/

 

If we double the speed (v), the distance (x) is quadrupled (22 = 4), meaning more stopping distance is necessary at high speeds than predicted by the two-seconds rule. Here’s a video that might help:

 

 

A good approximation would be to add a second to your reaction speed (1.5 seconds), between cars for every 20 mph that you’re driving. That works out to about three seconds for city traffic and four to five seconds of stopping distance for highway traffic. Apply a couple more seconds between cars in order to safely stop if the road is wet or slippery.

 

If another driver was following too close to you and you’ve been injured as a result of their actions, you may be entitled to compensation.  It always depends on circumstances – but, your damages might include:

  • Reimbursement for your medical expenses,
  • Repair or replacement of your vehicle,
  • Compensation for pain and suffering,
  • Compensation for lost income.

 


We Will Fight For You!


Call the Law Office of Gerald Fugit at 432-301-9252.

What To Do If Your Car Skids Out of Control

Image of a skidding automobile in Japan

Credit: https://carfromjapan.com/article/driving-tips/a-simple-way-to-do-a-burnout-in-an-automatic-transmission-car/

Your car goes into a skid when there isn’t enough friction between the tire and road. I discovered that for myself, at my first driving experience.

My first “on the road” driver’s training was terrifying.  I did okay at first – but, then I had to enter a big turn on a highway. No one had warned me that I needed to slow down to do that.

I was driving too fast for the turn and the driving instructor’s car went into a sharp spin as I sped out of the sharp curve of the road. Super scary!

Luckily for the driving instructor, his car, my own life, my future children and grandchildren’s life and the Others on the road – he had the type of car that could take control of my driving at any time. He had his own driving wheel and everything.

Your car can skid when driving in wet or icy conditions, black ice, snow, when you stop suddenly, or you enter a turn at a high speed.

 

Here are a few tips for preventing skids:

  1. Make sure your tires have adequate treads. Tires are made with a “wear bar” in the treads. If the level of the tire reaches the level of the “wear bar” – it’s time to get new tires. You can also check your tires by inserting a penny into the tread upside-down. The head of Lincoln should be at least partially covered.
  1. Drive slowly in wet, icy, or snowy conditions.
  1. Keep a good distance between you and the car ahead of you. They recommend about four car lengths for every ten miles per hour. If you are travelling 40 miles per hour, keep 16 car lengths between cars. This way, you’ll have plenty of time to react if the driver in front of you stops. You can definitely skid if you stop too quickly.
  1. Slow down before entering a curve or bend. Taking a curve too quickly or braking suddenly while going around a bend can cause skids.

 

TWO DIFFERENT KINDS OF SKIDS

 

Front Wheel Skids:

A front-wheel skid happens – when the whole car starts to slide in the wrong direction. This type of skid is when you go into a curve too quickly.

If your car enters a front-wheel skid, ease off the accelerator. With your eyes focused on where you’re supposed to drive, try to steer the car back on course. If you don’t regain control of the car within two to three seconds, THEN depress the brake lightly. If your car doesn’t have anti-lock (ABS) brakes, pump the brakes lightly.

Braking will help to transfer power to the front of the car.  Don’t press those brakes too fast. This will make your wheels lock and you’ll skid all the more. Slow and steady is the rule here.

 

Rear Wheel Skids:

A rear wheel skid happens – when the back end of the car slides out of control, either to the left or the right. They also call this “fishtailing”.  I’ve done this, too.

Some people will tell you to “turn into the skid.”  Hmm – maybe. If the back end of your car slides out to the right – don’t turn sharply, especially if you’re driving at a high speed. Only turn towards the right enough to straighten out the car and bring the front wheels back in line with the rear wheels.

Slowly ease off the accelerator. Avoid the temptation to brake suddenly. Slow and steady is the rule here, too.

—————————————————————————————-

The most important thing to remember is not to panic. You need to keep calm if you go into a skid, because your “instinctive” reactions are likely to do more harm than good.

Also, keep your eyes focused on a target in the distance. Choose a point further down the road, in the direction where you need to be headed.  Stay focused on this object. With this target in view, you’ll be better able to redirect your car so that it is once again traveling in the right direction.

 

Call our office if you’ve been injured because someone drove their car out of control and crashed into you.

Image of a skidding automobile in Japan



We Will Fight For You!


Call the Law Office of Gerald Fugit at 432-301-9252.

 

 

 

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

A car lands vertically into a snowbank on Interstate 93 during a snow storm north of Salem, New Hampshire.

Credit: https://www.theguardian.com/weather/gallery/2011/feb/02/winter-storms-us-in-pictures#img-5

Yeah, we hit the big one this time! I’m talking at least eight inches of snow in West Texas this past week. Schools were closed and so were many businesses.  Even businesses that wanted to remain open – struggled for lack of employees that were willing to risk driving in the snow.

 

Driving is treacherous in West Texas – even on sunny days. When you add all that snow and drivers that don’t know how to drive in harsh conditions – that makes it all the more dangerous.

 

I lived in one of the Northern states for more than thirty years.  Eight inches of snow is not that big of a deal there.

First off, the state and county Departments of Transportation send out powerful snowblowers to clear the snow that accumulates. Then, they distribute sand – mixed with salt to make the roads less slippery.

It helps quite a bit.  A study made in 1992, found that putting salt on the roads can reduce car accidents by 87 percent both during and after a snowstorm.

 

Second of all, people are used to driving in the snow for six months of the year.  Slow and steady will get you there safely.  We avoid braking as much as possible.  And, we pump the brakes slowly – if we do have to stop.  We keep an eye out for any possible actions that we might need to brake for.

 

I’ve landed in the ditch a few times because I’ve slammed on my brakes.  Unless one is an adrenaline junkie, that is not a good feeling.  Ugh. Teens need to be specifically taught how to drive in the snow. Teen boys think it’s fun to go fast and then slam on the brakes to see what will happen.  Nothing good comes of that experience.

 

Third, if one does start to skid on the slippery road, turn in the direction of the skid.  This is actually difficult to do.  We have a natural tendency to want to turn in the opposite direction.  You wouldn’t want to turn sharply, as that will make things worse. I can cover that in my next newsletter.

 

Final Point:
The Department of Transportation had closed some of the roads for this snowfall. It’s against the law to drive around the barricades.

I knew that it was a bad idea, but I didn’t realize that it’s also a Class B misdemeanor. This is the same as a DWI. If caught, you might be arrested, have your car impounded, or spend up to 180 days in jail and/or be fined up to $2000. You could also be charged for the cost of your rescue.

The powers-that-be only close the roads when they are not safe for driving. Don’t be foolish and think that you are “special” and will avoid a disaster.  You won’t.

 

This was the most snowfall that Odessa and Midland has seen in the last five years.  If you were injured because someone accidentally rammed into you – you should call our office for advice.

 


We Will Fight For You!


Call the Law Office of Gerald Fugit at 432-301-9252.

Watch Your Speed

Sign that says to "Move Over" and "Slow Down" when emergency vehicles are on side of road. Don’t speed.  Respect the road conditions when they are icy or rainy. It’s better to get where you need to go late – rather than not to get there at all.

 

Two First Responders are Dead & Another in Critical Condition

 

Lubbock lost two of its heroes. They gave their life to their community.  Yet another, has been injured so badly that he’ll possibly never return to work again.

 

A week ago:

Officers and firefighters were called to a single-vehicle rollover crash on I-27 at approximately 8:19 a.m. Saturday. It appeared that the vehicle was traveling southbound and crossed the median into the northbound lanes where it rolled over.

While investigating this scene, another vehicle carrying a trailer was traveling southbound on I-27 when it crossed over the median and came to a stop in the northbound lanes — about 25 to 50 yards away from the first accident scene.

Police and firefighters – then spread out their resources to work both of the accidents. While personnel were investigating the two accidents, a third vehicle struck them and killed two and critically injured the third man.

 

27-year-old Officer Nicholas Reyna and 39-year-old Officer Eric Hill were killed in the wrecks. Matthew Dawson was critically injured.

 

The pickup truck that struck the first responders was a Ford F-250 – which traveled southbound on I-27, crossed over the median and struck one Lubbock police officer and two Lubbock firefighters. That vehicle came to a rest in an embankment. The driver of the vehicle was not driving in the single lane – as required by law.

 

Move Over – It’s the Law

If you’ve ever been stranded on the side of a road, you know how dangerous and unnerving it can be.  Cars and trucks speed by – only inches away, leave too little margin for error and could so easily result in a disastrous crash.

 

America’s first responders – police, fire, EMT’s – face this peril every day in the line of duty. 

Tow truck drivers, highway workers, utility workers and others whose jobs sometimes require that they park their vehicle on the roadway or the side of the road are also at risk.

To keep people from being killed or injured in these situations, all fifty states now have mandatory “Move Over” laws.  If you see a vehicle with emergency lights or flashers on, you are required to move over a lane and slow down.

More than 150 law enforcement officers have been killed since 1997 after being struck by vehicles along America’s highways.  In fact, traffic-related incidents, including vehicle crashes, are one of the leading causes of death for law enforcement officers.

In 2017, 47 officers lost their lives in traffic-related incidents, with nine officers struck and killed outside their vehicles. Already in 2019, responder fatalities include 7 law enforcement officers.  From 2007 to 2017, 39 percent of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty were lost in traffic-related incidents.

Many have been seriously injured.  This is a tragedy and completely preventable.  Credit: https://www.transportation.gov/

 

Our thoughts and our prayers go out to the families that were injured or killed.  We need to learn from this experience, which did not have to happen. Drive carefully and watch your speed.

 

Even when we do things right, bad things can happen. Safety should be our number one concern.

 

Call Gerald Fugit Law Firm at:  432-332-1661 to schedule consultation.

 

Sign that says to move over and to watch your speed.