Monday, 5 January 2009

Travel and Mathematics

Recently a friend asked me: when you are driving and you are stopped at an intersection do you look both ways before taking off when the lights go green.

I thought that was a good question. I know a number of people who do wait a few seconds, which is sensible as you occasionally get idiots who run the red.

At the time I said I don’t know. However to answer the question, I look to the right and then take off (looking at cars who are driving perpendicular and cars doing right hand turns, so I do have a slight pause but not as pronounced as others. I see the cars on my left travelling perpendicular more out of the corner of my eye when my eyes go back to straight.

I do know that I do do complicated mathematics whilst driving.

I was driving from Forbes to Cowra and had 80 more kilometres to travel, and I was following a car which was doing 90km/hr instead of 100km/hr. Should I overtake the car when there is no overtaking lane?

Travelling at 90km/hr for 80 km it will take 53minutes.
80km x (hr/90km) x (60min/hr) = 53minutes

Travelling at 100km/hr for 80 km it will take 48minutes.
80km x (hr/100km) x (60min/hr) = 48minutes

Therefore if I overtake the car I will save 5 minutes.

However as I will be driving for even longer, (I was on the way to visit friends in Canberra) five minutes is next to nothing and no point to get stressed about. So I decided to listen to the cricket and I overtook the car when it was safe to do so.

Every now and then I would look in the rearview mirror and see the car getting smaller and smaller. Then I saw a sign warning me that there were horses and cattle grazing on the side of the road, so I decelerated to about 40km/hr. Which of cause the driver behind came closer.

Then I thought, If I was following a car in Melbourne who was doing five km/hr under the speed limit and I was only travelling for about 20kms it would only take two minutes longer. Also we would probably keep on meeting at traffic lights, so once again, traffic is nothing to worry about. Put on the radio, listen to the cricket and when you are out of the car use your worrying to worry about something more important.

What is so exciting about Forbes: I don’t know, I just drove through it. However I did stop to get petrol at a well known chain petrol station. I hopped out of the car, and the bloke who works at the station ran up, introduced himself and pumped my petrol for me and washed the locusts, moths and bugs off my windows. We had a great chat about life, universities and other bits and pieces.

Cowra is probably most known for the prisoner of war camp which was there during the second world war. It held a number of mainly Italian and Japanese service men. The head honchos of the camp decided to move the Japanese officers to a different camp, which was a move that was not well received amongst the men. So the Japanese planned an escape and broke out which sadly led to a loss of life for both the Japanese and Australian people.

These days a beautiful Japanese garden sits in Cowra, full of beautiful plants, well placed rocks gently juxtaposed with tall gum-trees. These photos are of the Japanese Garden. It is a beautiful place. Bring sunscreen and make sure you have plenty of time. And have lunch in the expensive restaurant/café.

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