Episode 184: Driving in Heels

Air Date: April 29, 2012

Certain types of footwear can seriously impair a person’s ability to drive.

busted

Adam and Jamie tried six different footwear types in a driving simulator to measure their time to move from the accelerator to the brake pedal. The three that gave the slowest times (high heels, wedges, and snow boots) were chosen for full-scale testing. After practicing a variety of stunt driving techniques, they laid out a course and drove it in both their regular shoes and each of the three chosen footwear types. None of them affected their lap times by more than two seconds, leading them to decide that footwear had no effect on driving performance and classify the myth as busted.

Driving with a full bladder is as dangerous as driving under the influence of alcohol.

busted

They set up a typical driver-education course and Adam drove it twice, with Jamie evaluating his performance on a 100-point scale. For the first run, Adam drank enough water to put a severe strain on his bladder, as indicated by a medical ultrasound scan. Before the second, he drank enough alcohol to put himself just below the legal limit for intoxication in California (0.08% BAC), and had a police officer ride along. He scored 70 and 25 on these two runs, respectively, and he and Jamie judged the myth as busted due to the markedly worse result from the intoxicated run.

Superglue can be used to attach a room’s furniture to its ceiling, creating the appearance that the room has been turned upside down.

confirmed

The Build Team did preliminary testing in the shop to determine the amount of force that the glue could support, using a barbell rig built by Tory. One drop gave way under a weight of 650 lbf (2,891 N). Using 7 drops and a construction crane, they were able to lift a station wagon (estimated weight 4,000 lbf (17,793 N)) and keep it aloft for several seconds before it fell loose.

They then built a mockup of a typical hotel room and gave themselves a 6-hour time limit to secure all the furniture to the ceiling, with sheets, cushions, and other items glued in their proper places. Although a few items gave them trouble, including a television set with a waffle-pattern base and a plant in a wicker basket, they were able to finish the job in time.

Superglue is strong enough to restrain a driver during an automobile accident, without the use of a seat belt.

busted

They chose a car with leather upholstery and placed two Buster dummies in front: the old Buster wearing a seat belt on the passenger side, and a new model (Buster 4.0) dressed in a jumpsuit and glued into the driver’s seat. When Grant towed the car into a set of concrete barricades at 35 mph (56 km/h), passenger Buster survived while driver Buster came loose and hit his head on the windshield. They found, however, that the glue had held while the material of the seat and Buster’s clothing had ripped away.

In a second test, they dressed Buster in a rubberized wetsuit and glued him into a fiberglass racing seat in the car, with the intent of improving the materials’ mechanical strength and adhesion. He still tore out of his seat on impact, leading the team to declare the myth busted at this point. For a final test, they attached one steel plate to Buster’s back and a second to a specially built seat frame, to act as “ideal” surfaces for adhesion. When they glued the plates together, he stayed in his seat through impact.

2 Comments

  1. Rick says:

    Certain types of footwear can seriously impair a person’s ability to drive.

    Try with a manual clutch car like we use in europe. Now you need to clutch with your left foot. That makes it difficult because your heel is kind of your feeling when you shift gear.
    I notice a use difference when wearing my safety shoes when I drive to work, or my sneakers.

    • Stephen says:

      Same here, I also noticed the difference between my safety shoes and my sneakers… and the difference with loose flip flops and barefoot.

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