What is ‘Safe Distance’?

Often, seen written behind cabs and autos and trucks and even cars sporting the message "Keep safe distance". This raises two questions: Isn't distance safe anyways? If not, how much distance is safe distance? 

Being a student of Physics, I would like to argue that rather than distance, one would be better off writing "Keep safe velocity". Or some such. But then, not many would know the difference between velocity and speed and mistaking one for the other or vice-versa, could lead to trouble.

Coming back to this distance business, assuming I maintain what is perceived as safe distance, but my velocity is not well, safe, there are chances that it may make the erstwhile safe distance 'unsafe'. Let me illustrate:

I see a lovely lady across the road. Naturally, palpitation has increased as has concentration decreased. Thankfully, I have safe distance between us. But soon enough the palpitation takes over and is commanding the vehicle. In this case, me. So the palpitation, which can be likened to velocity is what is driving me at this moment making the distance extremely unsafe. Why? Because opposites attract.

So. coming back to cars, it is the safe distance and greater velocity from my end that will make the entire episode unsafe. The idea is to maintain that safe distance not just keep it for a moment or two. Since distance is (supposedly) stationary and velocity not so, they are opposites and will attract. Which also implies that the auto/truck/cab that is urging me to keep safe distance will not be safe the moment after the threshold has been crossed. Obviously, you say? Try it.

So what is the safe distance number? I would say 5 metres! 


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