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12/17/02

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SUV Drivers Rediscover Newton's Laws of Motion


DETROIT (DPI) - In the city responsible for the sport utility vehicle, SUV drivers this week renewed their acquaintance with the set of physical laws known colloquially as "Newton's Laws of Motion" -- their expensive four-wheel-drive, high-center-of-gravity light trucks skidded into other cars, flew over embankments and came to sudden stops against immovable objects during the first snow of the year.

Speaking via cell phone from her inverted Ford Excursion in the center median of Interstate 75 in suburban Detroit, local housewife Sarah Hennings was grateful for the 18th-century work of famous physicist and scientist Sir Isaac Newton.

"If not for him, I never would have understood the reason my massive vehicle failed to stop when I pushed down on the brake. Given that I couldn't apply an external force to my SUV's original vector, thanks to the snow under my tires, I remained in my state of motion until I slid into the median," Hennings said while waiting for state police to arrive.

Dodge Durango owner Eric Handleman, interviewed in the cab of a tow truck hauling his vehicle to the collision shop, also acknowledged Newton's contributions to SUV drivers in winter.

"Were it not for Sir Isaac, I'd never be able to calculate the force with which I slammed more than two tons of Dodge Ram toughness into that Kia. Force equals mass times acceleration, and boy, I had plenty of M and A on my side. Shame about that kid, though."

Traffic safety advocates who suggested a local educational campaign reminding SUV drivers that four-wheel drive only makes cars go fast, not stop, and that heavy trucks take longer to stop and turn in bad weather, were taken to Dearborn, Mich., for re-education at the Ford Proving Grounds and Internment Camp.



(Reported by John Mozena)



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