Monday, February 20, 2012

Inertia in traffic

In Helsinki there happened  a regrettable incident a couple days ago, an elderly lady was killed in a traffic accident, was hit by a lorry on a pedestrian crossing. This got me thinking, because I know the place and there's an excellent visibility and the speed limit is 40km/h. Of course now it's winter but still the weather condition was  at the time "a normal winter  weather". That of course causes major problems for many Finns, don't know is it the global warming or what makes makes them so unprepared for this meteorological phenomenon happening every year, rather predictably.
Not knowing the actual facts of the accident I made a wild guess what happened. This guess was based on my own observations and experience as a driver and pedestrian.
Car drivers are big fans of inertia. They assume that everything continues as it has happened so far.*) Pedestrian continues crossing the street at a constant speed, so there is no need for me to lower my speed since our trajectories don't cross. She can get out of the way before I hit the crossing.

But then something unexpected happens, elderly lady slips and falls down. Now what? A black swan, in local scale..

For many non-Finns this whole episode sounds unbelievable, we have a lot to learn. Still, things could be worse.

*)how else can you explain 10m safety distance to the car in front of you when driving 80km/h? In my safety distance slot, there are 1-2 cars with "better than average" drivers on the adjoining lane.

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playing: Gheorghe Zamfir - The Lonely Shepherd