Driving really is a full time job. As comfortable as vehicles have become, with plush, heated and cooled leather seats, sound systems that rival the best home stereos and electronics that at times can be overwhelming, it is easy to forget as you are whisked along an interstate highway in Maryland that you are in a vehicle moving at nearly 100 feet per second.
But you are, and at 100 fps, you are covering the distance of a football field every three seconds. If you are daydreaming, lulled into a state of highway hypnosis, are chatting with a passenger or worst, texting on a cellphone, how long will it take for your mind to recover its focus on the situation in front of your vehicle should something go wrong?
One second? You have traveled 30 or more feet. Two seconds? You are up to 60 feet. Five seconds? That is 160 feet. If the cars in front of your vehicle were paying attention, they may have already stopped. In much less distance.
Such a circumstance may have occurred Friday, near Hagerstown in western Maryland, and the resulting chain reaction crash involved five vehicles and shut down Interstate 70 for more than an hour.
In this case, it appears that there were no severe, life threatening injuries from the multiple car accidents, which included one vehicle rolling on its side in the median. If a driver had been speeding or if there had been a semi-truck with a distracted driver, the results could have been much worse, and there could have been catastrophic injuries or fatalities.
It always pays to pay attention to what traffic is doing as far ahead as you can see, as it permits you the time necessary to avoid a devastating car accident.
WUSA9.com, “5 car crash causes temporary I-70 westbound closure,” September 26, 2014