New road surface won’t stop crashes

Re: “High-friction coating aims to reduce rear-end crashes at highway intersections,” Sept. 6.

Will a new road surface reduce rear-end crashes? I don’t think so.

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The expense to resurface Highway 17 with better friction will, I suggest, have little or no impact (excuse the pun) on rear-end crashes.

Assume Car B is behind Car A. Whether or not Car B rear-ends Car A is almost solely a question of following distance, speed and driver attention rather than road surface.

The Canadian driver instruction manual assumes that the average person’s thinking time, or time to react to a situation, is three-quarters of a second. In this time, a car travels 10 metres at 50 km/h or 16 metres at 80 km/h.

It is assumed that if you maintain the correct gap at your speed, in an emergency, you will safely stop before rear-ending the car in front. This also assumes that you are awake, sober and (most important of all) not texting.

If the road surface is slick, both Car A and Car B will take longer to come to a halt compared to a good surface.

If the Transportation Ministry resurfaces the highway with a better surface, then, to be sure, the following car will come to a halt sooner, but so will the car in front.

The incidence of a rear-end collision not will be still be a function of safe following distance and driver attention.

Neville Hircock

Victoria

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