How effective would requiring all car drivers (normal citizens) to wear helmets be at limiting fatal car accidents?
It is not only the helmets. Racing cars feature special seatbelts, which fix the driver firmly to the bucket seat, which is custom made for the driver's body and holds him firmly. The car has a roll over cage which prevents a collapsing roof. The driver not only wears a helmet, but also a HANS necklace, which prevents the head from tilting too much and breaking the driver's neck. A major disadvantage of this safety package is a lack of overview. Professional race drivers are hardly able to turn their heads to see if somebody s coming from an intersection or is right in their dead ankle. This degree of overview is not necessary in racing situations where you do not have to give way to others. In ordinary traffic this lack would probably cause more fatal accidents than helmets could prevent. Besides this a modern race driver is hardly able to enter and to leave his car without the help of others. This makes it even less likely to see such means of safety in public traffic.
How should Tesla respond to the fatal autopilot accident?
They should disable autopilot until it they can say that it can operate without the driver paying attention at all. If they don’t do this on their own, my guess is they will be forced to do it.As Google’s self driving car team has concluded, it is highly unrealistic (and in my opinion, irresponsible) to expect a “driver” to remain alert while the car is handling steering, acceleration and braking for long periods. People are going to stop paying attention. People do it already with their phones, they will do it more when the car is seeming to keep them in their lane and at a safe distance from the car in front. And then things like this happen.You can call it a “human factors” defect (sort of like the Jeep transmission issue that resulted in Anton Yelchin’s demise), but it is a serious one.This probably isn’t a popular opinion, I know. But right now, it appears that autopilot is less safe than driving without it. (when you take into account the type of driver who owns high end cars, and when you take into account the particular roads and conditions when it is used) This is bad, and isn’t going to go away. Sure, they can make Autopilot better, but they really need to commit to pure self-driving, not “this is a beta and you still need to pay attention.”
How scary is it to be in a professional car race and be faced with a potential collision or fatal accident?
Not scary, it just sort of happens. One minute you're tooling around the circuit and next minute your off the track, or facing a concrete wall. A "potential collision" environment stays normally for the whole duration of the race - and that includes 24hr stuff, you can end up quite wired after a 2hr stint in the car.You tend to be able to predict what your car is going to do under normal racing conditions so you're really rather calm as you're thinking a long way ahead. When something unexpected happens, maybe a part breaks, or there's oil on the track, or you get punted - all of sudden you shift to reactive mode, your heart rate leaps and your vision/mind focusses.Sometimes you make it. Sometimes you come to stop.So not scary, afterwards can be a little surreal - I recall in 2006 having a biggish smash at Silverstone and the data from the in-car data-logger showed a 45g de-acceleration phase. I damaged my neck but recovered, it could have been a lot worse.
What are ways to reduce car accident fatalities in America?
Stop imposing highway design standards on streets. This will slow down cars. Slower cars means less likely to cause fatalities when (not if) there is a crash.Which of these streets do you think has more people speeding?Having what amounts to a three-lane highway a few feet away where we expect people to be walking around is not going to end well. The second image has lots of visual friction — there is a lot going on and the lanes are narrow-ish. This causes drivers to slow down and pay attention. In the first image, besides the wide lanes, and three lanes of one-way traffic (so it’s easier to whip around slow-moving vehicles), there are also very wide curb radii. This means cars don’t have to slow down very much when turning.Multiple lanes, gentle curves, recovery zones, and wide lanes are great when traveling over 60mph. They are a disaster when mixed with (what should be) busy, people-filled streets.
How many fatal accidents can be traced to pilots failing a crosswind landing?
The viral nature of the embedded video makes a question like this inevitable, and I'm happy to dig into it a bit for you. At the same time, I have to tell you that I'm not entirely comfortable with the "hero captain" references I've seen accompanying at least some of the coverage of it. I don't know what his company policies are regarding crosswind landings, and I don't know what his fuel state was, and I don't know the exact crosswind limitations are for a Boeing 777, but I have to wonder whether he even should have started the approach in the first place, let alone gotten so close to touchdown before deciding to go around. That's some scary last-minute stuff, and the decision-making leading up to it should at least be inquired into a bit. Okay -- that's the investigator in me venting. All better now! I decided to inquire into the NTSB database regarding this issue, because landing accidents still are among the most common types of accidents. The leading factor in landing accidents is an "unstabilized" approach, which usually refers to a situation where the proper airspeed and rate of descent haven't been established and maintained throughout final approach. In my experience, the presence of crosswinds hasn't been addressed with any real urgency in the context of landing accidents in general or unstabilized approaches in particular, so I was curious as to what the data would show. During the ten-year period from 2003 through 2012, there were just under 4,000 fatal accidents in the NTSB database. However, when I searched that timeframe for all types of accidents (both fatal and non-fatal) where the word "crosswind" was in the report, I was shocked to find more than 1,300 events returned. I changed the search parameters to look only for fatal accidents, and still got 113 hits. I then realized that my search string wasn't very useful for what I was trying to determine, since "crosswind" also refers to a part of the traffic pattern (crosswind, downwind, base and final), and most of the accident descriptions most likely included that word to describe where the aircraft was observed or located when something else occurred. So, I read all of their probable causes to see how many actually involved crosswind landings. Let me hasten to point out that not one of the accidents I found involved a major air carrier, and only a handful involved any commercially operated aircraft -- not one involved what most people would think of as an "airliner." In fact, only 16 of the accidents in the 113 I reviewed actually involved loss of life resulting from too-strong winds encountered during a landing attempt. That made me feel a lot better, because I really couldn't imagine a lot of pilots trying to land sideways in the face of lots of training to avoid doing just that. Bottom line: adverse winds on landing only accounted for about 0.4% of the fatal accidents in the ten-year period of 2003 through 2012. A pilot landing anywhere a wind indicator of any type is visible, the winds are being reported by a ground observer, or it's possible to perceive his/her aircraft "crabbing" severely during descent on final shouldn't fall prey to this kind of accident.
Have you ever witnessed a fatal car accident? How did it change you?
He was sitting on a stop sign, hoping to turn left. There was a truck coming down the road from my right, at 55 mph. On the other side of the intersection, another truck was approaching the stop signal, but the driver never slowed down. They flew through the stop sign and got rid of the first truck in T. The two trucks slipped into another car that slowed down to turn into the street where it was going. The glass and debris fell on my car when I sat with my hands over my mouth. The driver of the first truck got out and walked dazed as he held his head as a woman carrying a child came out of the car and silently louder than ever before heard someone crying.The police were there almost immediately. I think they were in the area by chance. There were many other witnesses, so the police did not speak to me even though I'm sure I saw the incident more clearly than anyone else.The person driving the truck that runs the stop sign has died.I feel that I am not doing anything. I have remained motionless. Once that happened, I thought: "You should call 9-1-1." I do not know why I did not do that. I think because many other people did it, and there was a cop right away. I did not even get out of my car to ask someone if they were okay or to help out of any kind.It looked unreal. Like a declaration of anti-sugar leadership or something like that. I always imagined that it would be more useful in such a situation. But I sat there.
How do you stop vehicle when brake fails?
All circumstances are a little different….and of course, you are solely responsible for maintaining control of your vehicle to the best of your abilities. You are also solely responsible for the safe operation of your vehicle.I own both automatic and manual transmission vehicles. And the methods described below may cause excessive wear or damage to the drivetrain.In a manual transmission (commonly known by their aliases - standard transmissions or stick shift) cars can easily engine brake. To engine brake (slow down), downshift one gear. If you’re still gaining speed due to downhill grades, chose the next gear lower. Your engine RPM will increase substantially. Once your engine speed decelerates enough, downshift again to the next gear lower. Again increasing engine speed. Continue the engine braking process of downshifting until you reach first gear. Once your car is in first gear it should slow down dramatically. Continue driving at very low speeds with your lights and hazard flashers ON. Find a safe place to stop your vehicle. At this point, if it’s safe to do so (at your discretion, 15 mph or less), ease your right hand tires off the pavement onto the shoulder. This should increase tire drag by going through gravel or dirt. Once your engine RPM is at idle 1000 RPM or less, you can shutoff your car. It will be jerky, but you will come to a stop. Note: if your car is an automatic transmission, do NOT turn off your car.If your car is an automatic transmission, with gears*, first downshift out of overdrive, your engine RPM will most likely sore, depending on vehicle speed and gear ratios. Once the engine RPM has settled down, downshift to the next gear lower. Repeat this process until you’re in first gear. Make sure all lights and hazard flashers are ON, but continue driving until you find a safe place to stop your car. Now, you’re in first gear, hopefully going less than 15 MPH, ease your right tires onto the shoulder - increasing tire drag, which will slow you further. Let your car slow down as much as possible (hopefully much less than 5 MPH, stopped is the best), and then it is time to hurt your transmission. Put the gear shift into park. You will probably hear a rapid succession of loud clicks as the transmission lock skips past the detention holes. Finally it will lock in, also locking up your drive wheels. Like the manual transmission, it is a very jerky stop. Once the car is completely stopped, and locked in park (P), you may shut down the engine. If you shut down the engine while the vehicle is in motion, you will lose all engine braking and power steering. Do not turn off the engine until you’re confident that the vehicle is stopped AND in Park.*I do do not know if or how one can engine brake with automatic transmissions of the CVT breed. Continuously Variable Transmissions are whole different animal, that I am not willing to own or comment on.Note: if either type (manual or automatic) of vehicle fails to lock into park and/or stop, you’re out of luck. Please save yourself, get out of the car ASAP. As you exit your vehicle, give the steering wheel a jerk sending the vehicle towards the ditch or barricade and away from the driver’s door. Also, if there are passengers, as the driver, please be the last one to exit your vehicle.Not all possibilities and variables can not be listed here. The best advice - maintain your brakes well and check them often so that you’re never in these situation(s). Again, you as the operator/driver of the vehicle are solely responsible for the safe operation thereof. I assume no liability for damages, loss, or injury/death.Edit: It has been brought to my attention that finding a safe spot to stop your vehicle at the bottom of a hill will greatly reduce the chances of damaging the drivetrain. You’ll be going much slower at the bottom of a hill or just approaching the slight uphill grade, which should bring you to a near stop.