Monday, March 9, 2015

Top Gear made a valid point.

Everyone loves to hate Jeremy Clarkson, especially the Daily Mail with their not-so-secret hate campaign against him. But every once in a while a jewel of information pops out that is both funny and actually true.
A couple of weeks ago, Top Gear asked why the speed limit on motorways in England is still 70mph. The answer it seems is because of the decades-old advice that states that it takes 315ft to come to a complete stop at 70mph. Maybe in the 60's that was true, when cars had drum brakes, cross-ply tyres and flimsy frames. But as Clarkson pointed out, in modern ABS-equipped vehicles with independent suspension and radial tyres, the stopping distance from 70mph is nothing like 315ft - even in the wet. Less still if you have any of the current crop of brake assist technologies.
The point was well made when they indicated that to actually take 315ft to stop, you could be cruising at over 120mph nowadays. The point was made in typical Top Gear fashion but it was an important topic nevertheless. The highway code has not updated it's guidance on stopping distances for decades, and the speed limits on modern roads are not commensurate with modern driving practices or vehicle design. Maybe it's time we all revisited that particular topic.....