People seem to think it's speed that kills. While arguments could be made for that statement, speed is not what actually kills. In this post I would like to argue that it is not speed that kills; rather, it is Kinetic Energy that kills.

Let's take a look at Speed and see what happens with with objects going at the same speed of 70 miles per hour (~115 kph) and a person's reaction to each.

- June Bug - Ow, what the heck was that? Stupid bug. Squish.
- Baseball - I'm gonna kill you pitcher...wait, you wrestle steers for fun, oh crap.
- Suburban - You think nothing because you are dead.

Let's now take a look at the kinetic energy of these objects. (KE = 1/2 * m * v^2). Where 70 mph = 31.3 m/s.

- June Bug - m = 1/5 oz = 0.005 kg; KE = (0.005*31.3^2)/2 = 2.44 Joules
- Baseball - m = 5 oz = 0.15 kg; KE = (0.15*31.3^2)/2 = 73 Joules
- Suburban - m = 8600 lbs = 3900 kg; KE = (3900*31.3^2)/2 = 1,900,000 Joules

Instead of Speed Limits they should place Kinetic Energy Limits on our highways to keep the populace safe! That way we could make sure to put a curb on unnecessary deaths.

Let's say that the limit on the state highways is 2 million Joules. Sounds reasonable. Now think of how much fun it would be to have 2 million Joules while on my motorcycle!

Where: m = 700 lbs = 320 kg, v = x m/s, KE = 2,000,000 Joules

Solving for v we get:

v = sqrt(2*KE/m) = sqrt(2*2000000/312) = 113 m/s

Solving for v we get:

v = sqrt(2*KE/m) = sqrt(2*2000000/312) = 113 m/s

What does all of that mean? It means that under proper laws I should be allowed to go 253 mph when I'm on my motorcycle! Now that sounds like a good time!

*this train of thought courtesy of David Harding*

## 1 comment:

Wow, would that ever piss off the teamsters. I'm lazy so I won't work the math, but an 18 wheeler carries a *lot* of kinetic energy.

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