Quote:
Originally Posted by Sparrowhawk
Here's the puzzle. A person (me) wants to pass a semi and five cars that are going 65 mph in a 70 mph zone. The cars are following each other and the truck about two car lengths apart. I am following the last car about two car lengths back and, because I am such a careful driver, I want to give the truck a full semi length of space before pulling back in. There is an oncoming car about 0.8 miles down the road probably doing 75 mph. As I pass the line of vehicles I will do 90 mph. Is this a safe pass and what will be the distance betweem me and the oncoming car when I pull back into my lane?

No mathematicians in the house it seems. This little bit of elementary algebra (from the Arabic
aljebr, meaning "reunion of broken parts") and arithmetic (from the Greek
arithmos, meaning numbers) is just a warmup to the more important question of "Just how close were those Harley's anyway?" Then we can answer DesertTortoise's question " How long will it take for my passengers to see their life flash before their eyes?"
I have 2 semi lengths, 5 cars, and 6 twocar spaces to pass. I'm going 25 mph faster than the line of vehicles so it takes me about 12 seconds (12 Colorados)to get passed. In that 12 seconds I travel 0.3 miles of the 0.8 mile separation and the oncoming car travels 0.25 miles. If everything works as planned there is a quarter mile between me and the oncoming car when I move back into my lane.
But things do not work out as planned. I saw what I wanted (or expected) to see, not what was actually there. On to part two.