Thursday, May 28, 2015

My letter to the editor

On May 14th, Jesse Pistachio wrote a Letter to the Editor of the Teaneck Suburbanite. This elicited a response last week by Steven Mather (second letter). Well, I felt the need to respond, and this week they printed my letter to the editor:
To the editor,
I am writing in response to the "Perhaps try slowing down" letter from May 21.
I wholeheartedly agree with much of what Mr. Mather writes regarding the correct response to a "road bully". I, personally, am happy to drive with cruise control set to 25, with an aggressive driver riding my tail.
However, I must point out an inaccuracy in Mr. Mather's letter. He states "Getting someplace five minutes FASTER [emphasis mine] is not worth the life of the person you might hit while driving so fast in these neighborhoods." The entire stretch of Sussex/Garrison -- the road under discussion -- is just 1.9 miles long. Driving at 25 mph, nonstop, takes 4.6 minutes. There is no speed one could drive which would get you across town five minutes quicker; traveling infinitely fast will only save you 4.6 minutes. Even if you consider the worst-case-scenario of waiting at a full red light cycle of the traffic light, you would need to drive at approximately 1,900 mph to save five minutes, thus exceeding the current land speed record by a factor of 2.5!
So, for the record, driving at 30mph saves you 45 seconds, 35mph saves you 1.3min, and 45mph saves you a whopping two minutes.
Eli Lansey, Ph.D.


  1. You would get there 5 minutes sooner, not faster, or quicker.
    Now, how much time could I save if I drove down that stretch, and because I was speeding up, I made the next light instead of having to wait a red-cycle? What about other, more light intensive stretches where I might have to wait at a number of lights if I don't zoom to catch a waning yellow? Sometimes it isn't about how much time I save in the absolute by speeding up, but how much time I would then have tacked on to my overall travel time because slowing down would incur other lags.

    1. You should definitely write a letter to the editor correcting my (and the original letter writer's grammar).
      As to your technical question, that light is 30 seconds long. At most, you'll save 30 seconds. I didn't analyze the other cross-town stretches, just Garrison/Sussex, since that was the topic of the first and second letters.

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  3. Deer are very much our enemies! They were involved with one nasty altercation with my car, pillage my landscaping ... Wait, what? Oops, sorry, wrong letter…