Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Random Thought - Speedometers

If automobile companies want us to be law-abiding citizens, why are speedometers set to show speeds up to (and in some cases beyond) 120 MPH? And why are they tilted in such a way that when you reach 65 MPH (the average max speed allowable on American highways), the needle is still not at the "midpoint" of the gauge visually? Would changing the orientation of speedometers lead to less speeding?

Or is it all just a conspiracy to meet police budgets by giving out tickets? ;-)

6 comments:

Sean said...

I honestly believe that people are going to drive as fast as they're going to drive. Most people's driving speed is determined more by feel than by what the speedometer says. So, how the speedometer is geared is not a viable factor in how fast most people drive.

quizwedge said...

I agree with Shawn. The best answer I've heard as to why speedometers are the way they are is because no one would buy a car that "only did" 80 mph (or whatever lower than 120+ speed the speedometer had.) Of course, it doesn't matter if the car actually does what the speedometer says, (I have a friend who at least had a thing about testing each car he rented to see if the max speed on the speedometer was a "lie".) just that the car "says" it can go that fast.

CRCHAIR said...

Most gages are most accurate near their mid-point. So by making a gage that goes up to 120mph, they can have it be the most accurate between 50 and 70mph, which is where most people spend most of their time driving.

Sean said...

common wedge, "Shawn". Seriously... it's Sean. ;)

Rob Fay said...

Check out this HCI research: http://hci.stanford.edu/research/speedometer/LBR-197-kumar.pdf

Interesting concept to visually show your speed as it relates to excessive speed.

quizwedge said...

Sorry, Sean... I know it's Sean... Would it help if I said I was tired this morning? :)