# Physicists make better drivers?

1. Feb 20, 2005

### Loren Booda

The ability to identify, predict, decide and execute traffic situations make the physicist in general a superior driver. We purchase well-designed cars, calculate their trajectory while driving, internalize potential hazards, and center ourselves as responsible for minimizing damage. Shouldn't insurance companies consider our profession for lower rates?

2. Feb 20, 2005

### Galileo

You don't want to be seated in the same car when one of my professors is driving. They look calm and intellectual in the lecture hall, but when they get into their cars they're roadhogs.
It wouldn't surprise me to see them perform a 180$^\circ$ with a tank of liquid nitrogen in the back.

I usually drive fast too. Especially when there's a crossing. If there's a crossing ahead you should go as fast as you can. The less time you spend on an intersection, the lower the probability of getting hit by another car.

BTW: I flunked my drivers exam 3 times.

3. Feb 20, 2005

### B-Con

In theory they may make better drivers, but I think it breaks down in actual time and space ;)

4. Feb 20, 2005

### Davorak

I though most insurance agencies took into account your education level. Phd means less lower insurance rates?

5. Feb 22, 2005

### BigStelly

Insurance companies are purely statistical, which means if they have not gathered data with respect to a certain aspect, then there will be no discount offered. Its simple they havent looked at that yet.....

6. Feb 22, 2005

### Lyuokdea

Actually, one of my friends mathematics professors got into three accidents while driving in one year, the reason he gave "I have the bad habit of starting to wonder at the beauty of mathematics while I'm driving"

~Lyuokdea

7. Feb 22, 2005

### Moonbear

Staff Emeritus
Some give you a discount, but not all. They each have their own formula of what they think makes safer drivers, and use those criteria to determine who they give discounts to.

They often give discounts to good students too, so if you've got straight As, or mostly As and a few Bs, ask about it (they'll probably want a copy of your last report card as proof).

As for physicists, I think they should raise their rates! Spending so much time thinking about calculating trajectories and not noticing something as simple as a row of brake lights ahead of you...:tongue2:

None of that really focuses on your driving ability, per se, but more on how likely you are to do reckless things that distract you from driving. For example, my experience is that a teenager alone in a car can be a very safe driver, if not overly cautious at times, but add in a few other teenagers plus a blasting radio or CD player, and you've got a teen who is running stop signs, crossing the yellow line, and generally oblivious to their surroundings. And, yeah, the mom or dad carpooling a minivan full of kids from soccer practice has a ton of distractions too.

There are always people who are knowingly reckless, such as seeing the red light and running through it anyway, but I don't think that's nearly as common as people who are simply distracted and miss seeing things they should have seen.

8. Feb 22, 2005

### jcsd

Plus there are hardly any women physicists :D

*runs and hides*

9. Feb 22, 2005

### Moonbear

Staff Emeritus
Yep, like I said, they should give physicists a surcharge! :rofl:

10. Feb 22, 2005

### BobG

Their rates should be higher.

After all, when the light turns yellow, they speed up, hoping the Doppler shift will make it appear greener.

If they know where they are, then they don't know how fast their going. If they know how fast they're going, then they don't where they are.

11. Feb 22, 2005

### juvenal

I have a scientist discount on my insurance.

12. Feb 22, 2005

### motai

Ehehe, do all physicists have the same mindset? Before this thread even existed I was calculating trajectories (both velocity and acceleration) in my head when driving (still do btw) and im still a student. I wonder if this is universal or is this particular profession rather odd in creating such tendencies...

Or maybe I am oblivious to my surroundings. Einstein, Bohr, and the others were probably calculating car velocities in their head as well :tongue2:, albeit at a much slower rate and 16 hp cars.

13. Feb 22, 2005

### Joel

There is no better time to go trough hard proofs and exercises in your head than while driving alone. What else could you do?

14. Feb 22, 2005

### Entropy

I don't think so. I love physics and I've crashed my first two cars in the same year! :( Either physics doesn't help you drive or I just suck at physics...

Besides if it was true we'd have an aweful lot of basketball players with majors in physics if you catch my drift.

15. Mar 17, 2005

### Francis M

Physics doesn't help you drive better, it just helps you understand the forces acting upon you during the accident you have while thinking about trajectories, velocities, anything but driving...ities :rofl:

16. Mar 17, 2005

### Ivan Seeking

Staff Emeritus
oh sure...

Q: What is the safest way to drive through an intersection?

A: [physicist] Drive as fast as possible. The less time one spends in the intersection, the less are the chances for a collision

Basic physics.