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Heroic Engineer Crashes Own Vehicle To Save a Life

kdawson posted more than 3 years ago | from the delta-vee dept.

Transportation 486

scottbomb sends in this feel-good story of an engineer-hero, calling it "one of the coolest stories I've read in a long time." "A manager of Boeing's F22 fighter-jet program, Innes dodged the truck, then looked back to see that the driver was slumped over the wheel. He knew a busy intersection was just ahead, and he had to act fast. Without consulting the passengers in his minivan — 'there was no time to take a vote' — Innes kicked into engineer mode. 'Basic physics: If I could get in front of him and let him hit me, the delta difference in speed would just be a few miles an hour, and we could slow down together,' Innes explained."

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486 comments

Oh, snap! (3, Funny)

menegator (539434) | more than 3 years ago | (#33985404)

I'm sure that the insurance guys will love this explanation!

Re:Oh, snap! (5, Informative)

wes5550 (1911966) | more than 3 years ago | (#33985428)

I'm sure that the insurance guys will love this explanation!

Actually, if you read the article, you'll see that State Farm sent him a thank you letter.

Re:Oh, snap! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33985742)

Actually, if you read the article...

Hey, come on now, that's cheating!

Re:Oh, snap! (1)

customizedmischief (692916) | more than 3 years ago | (#33985862)

Is State Farm his insurance company, or the other guy's?

Re:Oh, snap! (5, Informative)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 3 years ago | (#33985928)

Is State Farm his insurance company, or the other guy's?

The other guy's.

They paid the damages to the engineers car and thanked him.

Re:Oh, snap! (3, Funny)

RealGrouchy (943109) | more than 3 years ago | (#33985986)

Is State Farm his insurance company, or the other guy's?

Well, State Farm's website says "State Farm® is a mutual company owned by our policyholders." So neither of the two men wholly owns State Farm.

TFA happens to mention that Pace* is a policy holder, and does not mention whether Innes* is also a policyholder. So to answer your question, Pace partially owns State Farm, and in some sense, it is "his insurance company", Innes may also be a policyholder, and therefore it may be "his" as well.

(*I'll let you figure out which one is 'the other guy', perhaps by reading TFA yourself)

- RG>

Re:Oh, snap! (1)

Laxori666 (748529) | more than 3 years ago | (#33986008)

Seriously... read the article. In the sentence where they introduce State Farm they say whose it is. I'd copy and paste it but that doesn't work.

Re:Oh, snap! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33985430)

That old guy is just un-american. Why didn't he sue him claiming whiplash or some other injury.

Re:Oh, snap! (3, Informative)

mysurp (712588) | more than 3 years ago | (#33985438)

I'm sure that the insurance guys will love this explanation!

They did, they even sent Innes a "thank you for being a hero" letter. There really should be more people like him in the world!

Re:Oh, snap! (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 3 years ago | (#33985456)

Considering the engineer is 48, most likely it won't really affect his insurance rates. If the engineer has been with the same company and hasn't had many accidents/tickets, the likelihood is that the company has already made more than enough money off premiums to cover this incident.

Re:Oh, snap! (4, Insightful)

TamCaP (900777) | more than 3 years ago | (#33985494)

It was the insurer of Pace (the unconscious guy), the State Farm, that paid all the costs. It's a simple calculation - the cost of damages was under $4k, while cost of damages if Pace was allowed to continue would probably be at least 10x, if not 100x as much. They saved a lot of money thanks to him, that's why they footed the bill (+ some good publicity).

Re:Oh, snap! (3, Insightful)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 3 years ago | (#33985578)

That's good. Sometimes the insurance companies react strangely to accidents. I guess it depends on the company, agent, etc. Sometimes they seem to go for short term gains rather than long term gains. For example, State Farm was one of the companies that were denying claims in Mississippi after Katrina. Most often homeowners do not get flood insurance which is a separate policy. State Farm's basis of denial were that the homes in Mississippi were damaged by flood and not the hurricane force winds that hit them, ripped openings, and allowed the rain to come in. If Senator Trent Lott hadn't been one of the homeowners affected, State Farm probably would have fought it for longer than 3 years.

Re:Oh, snap! (4, Informative)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 3 years ago | (#33985458)

Actually they did; they paid for damages to his minivan and thanked him for his actions (I (gasp) RTFA). He saved them a lot of money, and probably saved a lot of people from getting injured or killed.

Re:Oh, snap! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33985482)

Well since he technicly was rear ended it would be the trucker's insurance that would have to cover it, and I'm sure they'd be much happer to pay damage to one car from a low relative velocity collision than whatever mayham the truck would have caused had it entered a buisy intersection uncontrolled.

Re:Oh, snap! (1)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 3 years ago | (#33985736)

According to TFA, the insurance company that thanked him was the company covering the old guy in the truck. Even called him a "hero".

Re:Oh, snap! (1)

powerlord (28156) | more than 3 years ago | (#33985640)

I'm sure that the insurance guys will love this explanation!

Actually, according to TFA:

State Farm, Pace's insurance company, covered the roughly $3,500 in damage to Innes' car, and a claim representative sent Innes a letter of appreciation this summer.

"We wish to thank you for the actions you took to save Bill's life," State Farm's Clayton Ande wrote. "State Farm and the Pace family consider you to be a hero. I wish there were more people like you in the world."

I saw this (3, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#33985422)

In a CHiPs episode!

Seriously, well done sir. I love it when I solve problems in real time with engineering.

Re:I saw this (1)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 3 years ago | (#33985686)

It was also used in 'Riding With Death' with semis...but don't think it's a good movie, it's a MST3K episode.

I wonder what his passengers thought. (0, Troll)

FatSean (18753) | more than 3 years ago | (#33985974)

You don't have the right to put your passengers at risk IMO. He's lucky nothing seriously happened or he'd be looking at jail time and rightly so.

Re:I wonder what his passengers thought. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33986146)

Or he could have just let the guy plow through the next intersection and possibly kill a ton of people. Did he have the right to put all those other people's lives at risk by doing nothing?

Re:I saw this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33986048)

Agreed... I admire people with audacity, especially when they're critical thinkers. Quick, solid decision making.

Cynics unite! (0, Troll)

tacokill (531275) | more than 3 years ago | (#33985450)

Ok Slashdot, let's hear the cynical posts! C'mon trolls...bring the best you have.

If you can find something cynical here, then I truly pity you.

Re:Cynics unite! (3, Insightful)

nomadic (141991) | more than 3 years ago | (#33985524)

Guy IS a hero, though the slashdot article comes off as a little weird... "engineer mode"? I mean, (a) this isn't a special brand of engineer-only heroism; and (b) the physical principles aren't exactly so esoteric that you need an engineering background to have figured it out. Can't we just salute his bravery and quick-thinking? Or was the submitter an engineer looking for reflected glory?

Re:Cynics unite! (1, Insightful)

eln (21727) | more than 3 years ago | (#33985682)

We have a major problem with a general lack of interest in science, math, and engineering in this country. If a story like this can prominently feature the fact that this guy is an engineer and used principles of physics (regardless of how basic) to solve a serious problem, maybe that will inspire one or two people to get into the field. Every little bit helps.

Re:Cynics unite! (5, Funny)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 3 years ago | (#33985942)

It'll probably just get spun as "Decisive manager shows brilliant leadership by wrecking his car without notifying his passenger."

Re:Cynics unite! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33985718)

More likely the submitter saw one too many previous articles where a giant flamewar developed because some random AC didn't think it was a relevant topic for discussion on /. - the engineering angle is probably a realtime logic-solving solution :)

Re:Cynics unite! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33985834)

Not cynical about the story, just the relevance to engineering/physics/this site. I save lives with physics every day by applying my brakes.

Re:Cynics unite! (1)

newdsfornerds (899401) | more than 3 years ago | (#33985952)

I agree completely. Someone without so much as a high school diploma could easily understand the physics in this situation without ever having studied physics. Yeah, he needed caluclus to know what to do. Right.

Re:Cynics unite! (3, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 3 years ago | (#33986082)

Guy IS a hero, though the slashdot article comes off as a little weird... "engineer mode"? ... Or was the submitter an engineer looking for reflected glory?

Well, "engineer mode" is a direct quote from the Seattle Times. In fact, the entire summary is a quote from the actual article. The submitter had nothing to do with the terminology.

And, really:

"Basic physics: If I could get in front of him and let him hit me, the delta difference in speed would just be a few miles an hour, and we could slow down together,"

means he was thinking like an engineer.

It's the article that makes him sound like an engineer super-hero. And, I don't see much reason to detract from him that much.

Re:Cynics unite! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33985656)

The summary is crap. It's like, "Suddenly there's a truck! We're not going to tell what the hell was happening, but a truck existed of some kind! Perhaps a pickup, perhaps a tractor-trailer, perhaps an earthmover... WHO KNOWS!"

Also, whatever trucks these are designed so that they can keep moving while the driver is unconscious - Clearly unsafe.

But I'm not trolling, I'm being honest and serious. The summary was pretty terrible and cars don't have failsafes for an unconscious driver.
Also, why is the engineer part important? Are they the only people besides myself who took high school physics, or have the common sense to know how to slow something down gently?

If I was his passenger (-1, Troll)

FatSean (18753) | more than 3 years ago | (#33986138)

I'd sue him. If he was the only person in the van, cool, risk your own life. Don't risk mine because you want to be a hero.

Burnout (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33985462)

I'm still wondering why he didn't tap the "X" button to make a bigger explosion. He could have easily popped his car into the oncoming traffic and get like a 100x chain reaction bonus.

Re:Burnout (-1, Flamebait)

lavagolemking (1352431) | more than 3 years ago | (#33985896)

That's not funny. This isn't a video game, and there are real, live, innocent people in those 100 cars that you'd be getting into an accident. To purposely add to a mess like this for "points" like it were a video game is disgusting, and whoever modded this up should be ashamed. Imagine the number of people who you'd be killing or sending to the hospital in your 100x chain reaction bonus.

Re:Burnout (2, Insightful)

Laxori666 (748529) | more than 3 years ago | (#33986062)

I find it funny that people making the jokes about 100x chain reaction bonuses are better at separating video game fiction from reality than the people complaining to them about it. Clearly he was joking.

Re:Burnout (4, Insightful)

hypergreatthing (254983) | more than 3 years ago | (#33986090)

I think we need a new meme, "Think of the points!", this can be applied to every inappropriate thought regarding real life and video games.

Re:Burnout (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33986136)

you sir, are an idiot

Pretty amazing when even insurance companies react (1)

NYMeatball (1635689) | more than 3 years ago | (#33985464)

Kudos to everyone involved in the story.

Re:Pretty amazing when even insurance companies re (-1, Flamebait)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 3 years ago | (#33985582)

Kudos to everyone involved in the story.

Except for the guy in the truck who was slumped over the steering wheel because he was asleep / blacked out from being too drunk / comatose from some medical issue.

No kudos to him.
No shit on him if it wasn't his fault (stroke or some shit), of course, but certainly no kudos.

Re:Pretty amazing when even insurance companies re (5, Insightful)

eln (21727) | more than 3 years ago | (#33985726)

According to TFA, he had a heart attack two days earlier and didn't know it. This restricted his circulation to the point that he ended up passing out at the wheel. There doesn't seem to be anything he could have done, except maybe go to the hospital every day just to make sure he hadn't had a heart attack recently.

Re:Pretty amazing when even insurance companies re (3, Insightful)

delinear (991444) | more than 3 years ago | (#33985766)

Hey, he didn't sue the guy for trauma/whiplash - it might seem obvious to us that doing so would be a nasty move, but in this day and age not suing your rescuer is probably worthy of an honourable mention.

RE: Cynics unite! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33985490)

OK... I have a BIG problem with the driver not consulting the passengers while claiming "there was no time to take a vote". That is EXACTLY how dictatorships and police states are formed. He should have handed out paper ballots ("crash" or "don't crash") and then used the minivan's "On Star" service as electioneers to authorize, count and declare the vote. Then and only then should he have been allowed to do this. Hitler didn't do it either and look how that turned out. (Godwin!)

Re: Cynics unite! (3, Funny)

Defenestrar (1773808) | more than 3 years ago | (#33985830)

I think they should make this into a movie - here's some snappy dialogue that I have a feeling might achieve a timeless immortality in pop culture

Driver: We don't have time to discuss this in a committee"

Passenger: I am not a committee

reminds me of... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33985502)

that 90s show: real life stories of the highway patrol:

i, did, not, know, what, to, do. but, i, knew, i, had, to, act, fast.

Well that was disappointing (5, Funny)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 3 years ago | (#33985548)

I wanted to hear how he used a F22 fighter-jet to stop a truck. But he used a minivan. Boooriiinng.

Re:Well that was disappointing (4, Funny)

tmosley (996283) | more than 3 years ago | (#33985596)

Well, there's pretty much only one way you can stop a truck with an F-22, and it doesn't exactly take a rocket scientist to figure it out (though they were instrumental in making it work!).

Re:Well that was disappointing (1)

delinear (991444) | more than 3 years ago | (#33985846)

I had exactly the same thought at first - TFS really made it sound like he was flying the F22 and saw some guy slumped over the wheel of his truck. My first thought was how bloody low was he flying to have to dodge trucks, my next was... wow, he's going to eject so he can rush to the guy's aid! Then it started talking about minivans and I was momentarily confused until I reread the first paragraph. Still, guy's definitely a hero even if he didn't have to use a parachute.

Re:Well that was disappointing (1)

DarthVain (724186) | more than 3 years ago | (#33985902)

Using a F22 fighter-jet to stop a truck is easy... oh you mean without vaporizing it... ah yes that might be more difficult I suppose.

Re:Well that was disappointing (1)

silas_moeckel (234313) | more than 3 years ago | (#33986116)

The F22 still sports a M61A2 20mm cannon even has nearly 5 seconds worth of ammo. That has the potential to leave a vehicle mostly intact.

Good story but (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33985552)

The headline could've easily been different had his maneuver failed: "Crazy middle aged driver plows vehicle through intersection. No survivors."

I don't know I could risk the lives of my children in this manner, even to save a life.

What about the passengers? (1)

netbuzz (955038) | more than 3 years ago | (#33985556)

He's a hero and deserves praise, no doubt about it. But I think there's still room to discuss whether what he did was fair to the passengers in his car, whose safety was obviously put at risk. Story says they were his adult children. My children are young. I would not have put them in that sort of danger. (Putting aside the fact that I doubt I would have had the presence of mind to think of doing what he did.)

Re:What about the passengers? (4, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#33985646)

Thats the point. He knew they would be fine because of his engineers skills. The truck is doing 40, you get in front of it and do 39, your risk is almost no existent. Once impact occurs, you can start to break. Control it.

Re:What about the passengers? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Monkey (795756) | more than 3 years ago | (#33985748)

And if you know your family well enough, you know what they would say. I know my wife would be mad if I wasted time asking her if it was ok. And if my dad took time to ask me I would ball him out for not acting when he needed to. People in the same family tend to think the same way.

Re:What about the passengers? (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 3 years ago | (#33985910)

Once impact occurs, you can start to break

I'm trying real hard to come up with a joke involving braking and breaking... damn, I don't have to! Mod parent "funny"!

Re:What about the passengers? (1, Redundant)

T Murphy (1054674) | more than 3 years ago | (#33985822)

Assuming your kids aren't riding in the trunk, the people in the car really shouldn't be put in harm by doing this. As the engineer said, he let the pickup hit his car at a low relative speed (the article doesn't mention airbags, but they might not have deployed). Cars can brake far stronger than they can accelerate, so once the cars are in contact you can do a controlled stop without a problem. I assume he had a nice minivan (at least for safety and braking)- he should have decent pay in his position- so the only other risk would be from other drivers. Given how the pickup had yet to hit anyone, I assume that wasn't much of an issue either.

Even if the people in the car were put in harm's way, it would most likely be far less danger than what could have happened if this pickup made it to the intersection. Given we would now be talking side-on collisions, if the pickup hit a passenger door with a kid on the other side...

This is how it looks when it works. (5, Interesting)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 3 years ago | (#33985574)

This is how it looks when it works. Imagine the news story had it not saved the man's life and one of his kids had been killed instead. The guy took a HUGE risk here, which is an intrinsic part of being a hero, but I pity his kids a little. Were it just me in the car, okay, maybe. But with my little ones in tow? Not a chance. I guess that's why I'm not a hero and he is, eh? At any rate, the safety of the nameless citizen won out over the safety of his own, which strikes me as odd.

Re:This is how it looks when it works. (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 3 years ago | (#33985624)

"Adult children" are hardly little ones.

Re:This is how it looks when it works. (2, Informative)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 3 years ago | (#33985752)

Spoken like a child, rather than a parent. If my son described doing this stunt, I'd chew his ass for it but good. My dad would do the same to me, I'm sure. Being a parent changes at 18 years old, true, but it never really goes away.

Re:This is how it looks when it works. (5, Insightful)

ElectricTurtle (1171201) | more than 3 years ago | (#33986068)

Speaking as a parent, cut the apron strings. Yeah I get it, you never stop being a parent, but really, you would jump all over an adult child for saving lives, albeit at personal risk? Would you berate them for defusing IEDs for the Army or being a firefighter too? Adults have to set their own priorities and seek their own fulfillment. If their parents can't handle it that generally leads to estrangement.

Re:This is how it looks when it works. (4, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#33985694)

This is because you aren't a trained engineer. Based on the speeds overall speeds, and speeds differences, the risk was almost non existent. It literally would have had a freak incident to even cause a crash. It wasn't like he got in front of a car travelling 60 MPH and just locked up his breaks.

Re:This is how it looks when it works. (0)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 3 years ago | (#33985784)

What about the human operating the other vehicle?

Re:This is how it looks when it works. (1)

imbaczek (690596) | more than 3 years ago | (#33985980)

he was flat-out already, so no problem here.

Re:This is how it looks when it works. (1)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 3 years ago | (#33986012)

he was flat-out already, so no problem here.

That was an assumption, and that call is easy to make knowing all the facts. Can you imagine no other scenario which would have complicated things?

Uh, RTFA. Unconscious. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33986098)

Uh, RTFA. Unconscious. Anything he would experience would either be trivial or catastrophic if the guy hadn't slowed in front of him.

Re:This is how it looks when it works. (3, Insightful)

powerlord (28156) | more than 3 years ago | (#33985724)

I guess that's why I'm not a hero and he is, eh? At any rate, the safety of the nameless citizens won out over the safety of his own, which strikes me as odd.

Fixed that for you.

Part of the calculation he said went through his head was that the Pickup was approaching a busy intersection and could easily take out of a row of cars.

Still impressive (which is why he's a hero instead of ordinary news), but more than just "one person in trouble". Might have weighed more on his mind.

Re:This is how it looks when it works. (4, Interesting)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 3 years ago | (#33985824)

Same-as, as far as I'm concerned. I'd easily kill one hundred to save my own kid. Color me weird, but there it is.

Matched speeds (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33985762)

The article says he matched speeds. With matched speeds, the impact would have been minimal. He did not use the impact to stop the other vehicle, he used his own vehicle's brakes.

Captcha: harmless

Re:Matched speeds (1)

Shompol (1690084) | more than 3 years ago | (#33986150)

A pressed accelerator overpowers breaks, even more so of "the car in front". The pickup could get the minivan shoved out of the way and then roll it. Very dangerous, definitely not something I would want to do with my family and friends in the car.
Then again, if his minivan was actually bigger than the pickup he was breaking, then it's ok. The story is silent about that part, and also fails to mention other possible outcome scenarios so other kids don't try to do it at home.

Re:This is how it looks when it works. (1)

houghi (78078) | more than 3 years ago | (#33985884)

The children! Won't anybody think of the children!

Re:This is how it looks when it works. (1)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 3 years ago | (#33985992)

The children! Won't anybody think of the children!

Yeah, no. Don't pull that crap on my kids. I have, and will protect, the right to defend them to the best of my ability. Your ridicule is misplaced, and is likewise in poor taste. I'm not advocating sweeping legislative change in order to keep kids safe from sleeping drivers.

Re:This is how it looks when it works. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33985894)

Shut up, you stupid doucebag troll. Your little ones in tow? God, please tell me that you didn't already breed.

Re:This is how it looks when it works. (1)

ayvee (1125639) | more than 3 years ago | (#33985954)

Well, TFS did say something about the driver heading onto a "busy intersection". It wasn't just one guy's life versus his and his children's.

I know, I know, trolley problem [wikimedia.org] and all that, but it wasn't as simple as you make it out to be.

Re:This is how it looks when it works. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33986002)

That's why HE is a hero, and YOU, why you're just a waste of chemicals.

Re:This is how it looks when it works. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33986028)

The guy took a HUGE risk here, which is an intrinsic part of being a hero

And that's why a sane project manager would NOT want a hero in the team. Being a good PM is about minimizing risks and producing predictable results, having a hero in the team who is willing to take huge risks for little gain is not going to help your project.

Re:This is how it looks when it works. (1)

RealGrouchy (943109) | more than 3 years ago | (#33986058)

You ask "what about his kids in the back seat?"

But what if the guy slumped behind the wheel of the pickup was your dad? Or if his driverless vehicle slammed into your kids (in fact, the pickup did nearly hit Innes' minivan, containing Innes' kids)?

- RG>

Awesome story (1)

MintOreo (1849326) | more than 3 years ago | (#33985610)

Who says 'delta difference'? 'Difference in speed' or 'delta speed' please. This could've been really bad if the truck driver was actually just leaned down to pick up some fritos off the floor.

Re:Awesome story (1)

lavagolemking (1352431) | more than 3 years ago | (#33985764)

Actually, I think that's just reporters screwing up the "technical jargon," as they often do. I highly doubt an engineer would actually have used "delta difference".

Re:Awesome story (1)

delinear (991444) | more than 3 years ago | (#33985982)

Why really bad, unless the driver sat back up and didn't notice a minivan stuck to the front of his truck - and seriously, what are the odds of that [youtube.com] happening?

Re:Awesome story (1)

arielCo (995647) | more than 3 years ago | (#33985994)

Who says 'delta difference'? 'Difference in speed' or 'delta speed' please.

Yup, that's odd coming from "a manager of Boeing's F22 fighter-jet program". Hmm... did I say manager? ;)

This could've been really bad if the truck driver was actually just leaned down to pick up some fritos off the floor.

Yes, the hero would be a meddlingsome do-gooder. This could've been really bad if the truck driver had really stepped on the gas when he passed out (it was only going at 40 mph); the minivan's brakes would've had a hard time fighting inertia plus the truck's (150 cu-in) engine, which calls for more interesting maneuvers. Perhaps pushing it *lightly* against the barrier or nudging it into a traffic light (better than the crossing ahead).

Lucky (-1)

davegravy (1019182) | more than 3 years ago | (#33985612)

The article says Pace's foot was resting on the accelerator. It must not have been down fully, which is lucky because a car engine will easily overpower its breaks (or the car that's heroically in front of you trying to slow you down).

Re:Lucky (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33985750)

No, it won't. One of the specs for designing brakes is that they have to easily beat the engine at full throttle.

Re:Lucky (1)

Score Whore (32328) | more than 3 years ago | (#33986074)

Your average pickup truck has a bigger engine than your average minivan. The fact that the minivan's brakes can hold back the minivan's engine tells you nothing about how well the minivan can hold back a pickup truck's engine.

Re:Lucky (3, Informative)

bigrockpeltr (1752472) | more than 3 years ago | (#33985806)

where do you live? and have you ever even driven a car? the first task in engineering a vehicle is to make sure the braking system is stronger than the engine.

Re:Lucky (1)

SpeedBump0619 (324581) | more than 3 years ago | (#33985944)

a car engine will easily overpower its breaks

I believe if you really look into it you will find that cars are designed so that (if properly cared for) the stock brakes can overcome the maximum output of the stock engine. This is a fundamental safety feature, which, if ignored, would certainly earn a offending car company a legal black eye. Feel free to give it a try on your way home today, but, if you do, your brakes will no longer be "properly cared for". You will stop though.

Re:Lucky (3, Insightful)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 3 years ago | (#33985958)

Dew not truss your spill chucker, you're spill chucker makes ewe seam like an ill iterate fuel.

BRAKES, dammit!

Re:Lucky (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33985960)

The article says Pace's foot was resting on the accelerator. It must not have been down fully, which is lucky because a car engine will easily overpower its breaks (or the car that's heroically in front of you trying to slow you down).

Not quite... all cars (exluding those made for drag racing) can easily lock their brakes even at full speed, but how many cars capable of spinning wheel at full speed do you know. They both require equal amount of power (braking or engine that is).

Of course slowing down a much hevier car is not as straight forward, as it can outpower yours.

"That's why he was obviously an engineer."

Re:Lucky (1)

compro01 (777531) | more than 3 years ago | (#33986044)

What? The engine will not overpower the brakes, barring something esoteric, like Leno's tank engine car. Try it sometime. Go out on a deserted stretch of highway, floor the gar, then stomp on the brakes. You will decelerate.

Re:Lucky (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33986046)

This is completly wrong, it has been proven mathematically and with real life test that the brakes on a car are more powerful then the power that the engine produces.

The stopping distance is not that much greater even with a " pedal to the floor" situation

http://www.caranddriver.com/features/09q4/how_to_deal_with_unintended_acceleration-tech_dept

Hope (5, Interesting)

eepok (545733) | more than 3 years ago | (#33985758)

I read this on FARK yesterday and I finally had a tiny bit of hope that maybe, if I'm in trouble, someone will be like me and just attempt to do what should be done. This morning, I go the restroom at work, and see that plastered in front of the urinals and on the backs of stall doors (for your easy reading, of course) are lists of ways you're required to respond to emergencies:

In the case of fire:
Calmly exit the building
For no reason, re-enter the building until given the OK by emergency responders

In the case of a shooting:
Run, hide, and call the police. Don't try to stop the shooter.

In case of violence:
Run, hide, and call the police. Don't try to intervene.

And the lists go on. I'm surrounded by warnings that if a good actions puts yourself at risk, then the action is BAD. And I weep a little...

Re:Hope (3, Interesting)

Johnny5000 (451029) | more than 3 years ago | (#33985914)

And the lists go on. I'm surrounded by warnings that if a good actions puts yourself at risk, then the action is BAD. And I weep a little...

Feel free to ignore the warnings.

Psych studies show that in a crisis, most people are going to stand there like idiots and do nothing anyway, so encouraging them to get the hell out of danger is a good thing (for them, if not the human race in general.)

Very few people are going to attempt something heroic. If that's you, then you should go for it anyway.

Re:Hope (4, Funny)

kevinNCSU (1531307) | more than 3 years ago | (#33986064)

Calmly exit the building
For no reason, re-enter the building until given the OK by emergency responders

I had to re-read that like 5 times because I thought it meant I SHOULD randomly re-enter the building for the hell of it (without any reason to do so) until the Emergency Responders say it's OK. Then do whatever.

Re:Hope (1)

imakemusic (1164993) | more than 3 years ago | (#33986144)

For no reason, re-enter the building until given the OK by emergency responders

Erm, either the fire instructions are very different where you are or you could have phrased that better.

I wonder... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33985760)

What on earth must have the unconscious driver thought when he regained consciousness? Driving one minute, then waking up fine else where the next

Memories (4, Interesting)

Wonko the Sane (25252) | more than 3 years ago | (#33985786)

Something very much like this happened to me back when I was about 5 or 6 years old.

I was in the car with my siblings and our mother drove to the grocery store [google.com]. She parked and ran inside for just a few minutes to buy something and my younger brother started playing with the steering wheel, pretending to drive.

This car was a 1962 Chevy Bel Air and the shifter did not have an a key interlock so as he was flailing around he bumped the car into neutral and it started to roll backwards towards a busy street.

Some guy who was getting ready to pull out of the parking lot saw what was happening and drove behind us so that the car t-boned his truck instead of rolling out into the street.

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