Driving Faster Than Light

February 3rd, 2002

“What happens if your travelling faster than the speed of light in a car and you turn your headlights on?”

Ronan Farrell

Chris’ Answer

Travelling at the speed of light has for years perplexed and fascinated scientists and car manufacturers alike.

There are pros and cons of driving your car faster than the speed of light – the greatest of which is that you can leave your house 5 minutes after you are due to arrive wherever you’re going and still arrive at your destination 5 minutes early.

This impacts seriously upon the use of headlights. Unfortunately, you really need to turn your headlights on a good few minutes before travelling in order to guarantee that you will see anything during your journey.

Turning them on during the trip will of course only illuminate anything behind you – causing great distress to drivers that are following.

Driving faster than the speed of light has its benefits. The flash from a speed camera will of course never be able to catch up to you, and will only photograph the trail of headlight you leave behind.

However, in order to exceed the speed of light in a car, you would have to travel above 300,000 kilometers per second. Speeds like this can put significant strain on a vehicle and fuel supplies.

In a medium sized car travelling at the speed of light, your fuel is likely to run out in 1/500th of a second – leaving you stranded about 1 second ago.

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Driving Faster Than Light