Notes on Speed and Acceleration

People aren’t clear on the exact difference between speed and acceleration. Speed is the amount of miles per hour (or similar) while acceleration is changing the speed over time.

The first example of speeding was in Dayton Ohio with a speed of 12mph. This was in 1904.

To open up a car means to open up the throttle. It is also known as driving full throttle. This device, also known as the accelerator or gas pedal is designed to regulate fuel or air reaching the engine and speed up.

To zoom suggests a car which spins along with a humming sound. The term spin was once only applied to an engine turning to twist thread, but is now applied to any engine ticking over.

Go hell for leather originally referred to riding a horse as fast as possible.

Burn rubber which is first seen in 1900 meant to go so fast that you could hear a burning smell.

There are several speedy phrases which come from films. The need for speed comes from Top Gun (1986) and Fast and the Furious was from an action film about street racing.

Fast and loose means generally reckless and irresponsible, but it can mean going too fast.

Gear is the transmission concerning the torque and similar which allows the car to move, hence Up a gear, into top gear, etc.

To tootle is to travel in an aimless direction rather than at speed, first referring to riding a bike in 1949 quote.

Running on Empty comes from about 1905 and refers to driving without the adequate fuel. Then there is a backfire, a mistimed explosion in the cylinder or exhaust.

0-60: The speed of acceleration of the vehicle; how quickly it can travel from 0 to 60mph. This is the standard of acceleration measured in test drives on a racetrack. Most cars can go to 0 to 60 in under 6 seconds but cars like the Tesla Roadster can do it in under 2 seconds.

It seems a pity you can’t highlight a cars top speed on adverts, because it is believed that encourages the owner to speed. The advertisers have to come up with other reasons for you to buy their car.

The first speed limit set was at 10mph as long ago as 1865 for propelled vehicles (traction engines, steam cars and similar).

In 1901, Connecticutt set the maximum speed limit of 12mph in its cities and 15mph in its rural areas, but it took several years for other states to follow suit. Exactly how they intended to judge the speed isn’t clear as the speedometer wasn’t patented until 1902 and wasn’t a common feature for cars until 1910…

Drive safely out there…

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