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Prodigal Moon

Man, people screw everything up


Can anyone shed some light on the increasingly widespread belief that driving fast is safer than driving slowly (or slower, i don't mean sloth pace). I have on more than one occasion been shouted down by friends and colleagues for suggesting that people should slow down to at least within the current speed limit, as this is apparently dangerous. I have yet to hear a logical argument to support this claim and wondered what is was based on.

Any ideas?


Try looking for accident figures for Germany's unrestricted autobahn's


This refers to my original point about 'safety'.
An autobahn will reduce the chance of accidents, but will increase the severity of accidents that do occur. This seems to be supported by the empirics.
What we'll expect to see is the increase in speeds to deter risk-averse people from using them, and to facilitate a 'formula 1' mentality. The sports cars on the autobahn is evidence to support this view.
People have different risk thermostats. For some, the dangers will stop them from driving on motorways.For others, the rewards of quicker journey times will encourage motorway use.


That is very interesting. I suppose also that the faster the speed the less time actually spent travelling; if the risk of accidents is not neccessarily increased by faster speed then the chances of having an accident would decrease, as drivers spend less time in the risk area (motorway). However, i think that there is a direct link between increased speed and risk of accident, because human reaction times would have to increase in proportion to speed for the same safety level to be maintained. Perhaps this is counter-acted by both the decrease in time exposed to risk, and the point above made by AJE.


The critical point to realise, which the Department of Transport fails to understand, is that different people ahve different risk thermostats.
I think a skiing analagy is useful - a clear system of coloured runs depending on the pace of the slope. If you watch a green run, you'll see thousands of accidents, as learners tumble over, but never anytihng serious. If you watch a black run, you'll hardly ever see anyone fall, but when they do, it's alot more serious.


I've been told that Armen Alchain came up with the 'dagger in the steering wheel' suggestion. Perhaps we can put it down as "one for the commons"....


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