Yet another rail crash
February 28, 2001 4:32 AM   Subscribe

Yet another rail crash in the UK, and trains are still not back to normal in the wake of the last one. It will be interesting to see how this increases road travel, something the country clearly isn't prepared for.
posted by methylsalicylate (18 comments total)

 
But this time the train crashed into a car that had fallen off a bridge.

It's probably going to throw up more stuff about the rail network, but for once I don't actually think it was their fault.
posted by blastboy at 4:48 AM on February 28, 2001


If it increases road travel, it will be because people don't realize (or choose to ignore) how much more dangerous it is to drive than it is to take the train. Despite the publicity always given to train (and plane) crashes, you are 15 times more likely to be killed or injured in a car than in a train.
posted by pracowity at 4:58 AM on February 28, 2001


Oh, absolutely, pracowity. But people seem to have more fear of death when it's something that's out of their hands regardless of what the odds actually are.
posted by methylsalicylate at 5:38 AM on February 28, 2001


> people seem to have more fear of death when
> it's something that's out of their hands

Yes, but if they knew the facts, at least they'd know that their fear is irrational.

(By the way, what's it like to kiss Art Blakey?)

posted by pracowity at 6:44 AM on February 28, 2001


> Despite the publicity always given to train (and
> plane) crashes, you are 15 times more likely to
> be killed or injured in a car than in a train.

This comparison is, to speak correctly, specious but false. It only considers the risk run by the aaaaaaverage driver, and there's no point talking about the average driver unless you're an insurance company. Any single *individual* driver has a risk-of-accident factor that falls somewhere on the bell curve from near-100% (he's drunk, speeding, on the wrong side of the road, and shouting at his ex on his cell phone) to asymptotically-approaching-zero-as-a-limit. What's more, as a driver, you have the power to choose where on the bell curve your own risk falls. I happen to pick the not-significantly-above-zero end, and I put out the effort it takes to stay there. On any sort of public transportation, by contrast, I give this power up and become, willy-nilly, an aaaaaaverage rider, just as likely to get into a bus plunge as any other strap-hanger or cocktail-sipping Concorde passenger. Sorry - when considering just safety, public trans loses. You'll be safer riding with me. (If you like to talk to the driver, look for another ride.)


posted by jfuller at 7:14 AM on February 28, 2001


> Any single *individual* driver has a risk-of-accident
> factor that falls somewhere on the bell curve from
> near-100% (he's drunk, speeding, on the wrong side of the
> road, and shouting at his ex on his cell phone) to
> asymptotically-approaching-zero-as-a-limit.

Which would all be ok if you were the only driver on the road, but since you aren't, your risk has to include all those other drivers spread evenly across the bell curve. In other words, no matter how safe you are, you can still be in an accident.
posted by iain at 7:26 AM on February 28, 2001


> You'll be safer riding with me.

For the sake of argument, I will take you at your word that you are indeed a safe driver. In particular, you never
• exceed the speed limit
• get lost
• daydream
• use a cell phone in your car
• talk to passengers in the car
• blast (and sing along to) AC/DC tunes
• fondle your sex partner
• scream at your kids
• eat and drink and smoke while steering with your knees
• spill coffee on your balls
• drop a cigarette on the seat
• get really wasted before starting out
• get a flat tire
• get angry at the guy in front of you
and so on.

That still leaves the hundreds of other drivers sharing the road with you, and many of them are doing some or all of the above.

posted by pracowity at 7:38 AM on February 28, 2001


Oh, damn. Iain beat me to it while I was typing.
posted by pracowity at 7:39 AM on February 28, 2001


> Which would all be ok if you were the only driver
> on the road, but since you aren't, your risk has
> to include all those other drivers spread evenly
> across the bell curve. In other words, no matter
> how safe you are, you can still be in an accident.

RTFM. I didn't claim zero risk, I claimed "asymptotically approching zero as a limit" and I claimed less risk than public trans. Anyway, don't talk to the driver, he's busy watching out for drunks.

posted by jfuller at 7:42 AM on February 28, 2001


It's interesting to consider that most people rate themselves as "above average" drivers -- so many, in fact, that it's a statistical impossibility. In other words, almost everyone thinks they're safe drivers, but some of them still get into accidents.
Despite jfuller's "safer than thou" risk assessment, public transportation almost always wins.
posted by dal211 at 7:48 AM on February 28, 2001


pracowity: I've never kissed Art Blakey myself, but someone who kissed me said that. I doubt he ever kissed Art Blakey though.
posted by methylsalicylate at 8:39 AM on February 28, 2001


> I've never kissed Art Blakey myself ...

Ha! I love that.
posted by pracowity at 9:09 AM on February 28, 2001


Yes, it was a romantic high point for me.
posted by methylsalicylate at 9:21 AM on February 28, 2001


Yes, it was a romantic high point for me.
posted by methylsalicylate at 9:21 AM on February 28, 2001


Yes, it was a romantic high point for me.
posted by methylsalicylate at 9:22 AM on February 28, 2001


Oh dear. Itchy trigger finger there. My profuse apologies.
posted by methylsalicylate at 9:23 AM on February 28, 2001


> Yes, it was a romantic high point for me. (x 3)

Just the memory of it is making your mouse finger tremble.




posted by pracowity at 9:32 AM on February 28, 2001


>Just the memory of it is making your mouse finger tremble.

That's it. It was a sweeping, life-changing moment, reminiscent of a Julia Roberts flick, all swirling hair and expensive wool coats and my god, aren't the streets of New York sparkling clean today...
posted by methylsalicylate at 9:59 AM on February 28, 2001



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