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Friday, November 09, 2012

The need for speed is an illusion

I could have used this in my late teens.... An Israeli psychologist has invented a device that shows drivers how they're not saving any time by speeding.
Pace-O-Meter, a device Pe’er invented as an add-on for a car’s digital speedometer, not only provides information about how many miles per hour drivers are traveling, but also shows how many minutes it will take them to complete a given journey at a certain speed. He says it’s different than the GPS feature to calculate estimated time of arrival, and it can help people get a better handle on how little time they actually save by speeding.
The device has yet to be commercialized, but Pe’er is certain that if drivers had access to the information it could give, fewer would take the risks associated with driving above the speed limit.
While miles per hour, or miles per gallon, are readily understood, minutes per mile needs some mind bending. He explains: “Basically what we found in a recent study, which is also in several others more which are published and some forthcoming, is that people really don’t know how to estimate the time they are saving when they increase speed.”
“If I were to ask you how much time you can save by increasing from 50 to 60 miles per hour, you will probably give a gross over-estimation. But when we convert 50 miles per hour to minutes per 10 miles, we see it would take you 12 minutes to drive 10 miles. When you up your speed to 60 miles per hour you are actually increasing your pace to 10 miles per 10 minutes, only saving two minutes. The increase in time saved is small,” he says.
But on the lower speed scale, from 20 to 30 miles per hour, you can save 10 minutes on a 10-mile journey.
“People don’t get the relationship between increasing speed and decreasing journey time. They think as long as you will increase your speed you will decrease your journey time. But what really makes a difference in journey time is if you start your speeding from a low or high speed,” he tells ISRAEL21c.
“Actually a small increase in speed from a low speed can save a lot of time. But the same increase from a high speed will save much less time than people think it will.”
Simply put, if you speed while already on the highway the amount of time you will save is negligible.
 By the way, Pe'er claims there's no difference between men and women, or between younger drivers and older drivers.

Read the whole thing.

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