TOM: First of all, I am struck by the fact that any country would think that there were enough people driving around who would even know that it was an equation about anything.
RAY: Well, you know I was reading an article in the paper recently about how poorly American kids scored in science and math tests.
RAY: They were like 97th out of 91 of all the nations tested, and all the European nations typically do much better. I looked for France and they were unfortunately right up there, but Europeans in general, I guess, were a lot more literate in mathematics than we Americans are.
TOM: I guess so.
RAY: And what this equation means is that the distance that you should trail another car on the highway is determined by taking your velocity in kilometers per hour.
RAY: Let's say it's a 100.
TOM: Say it's a 100 kilometers per hour.
RAY: Which is 60 miles an hour in our lingo.
RAY: Divided by 10.
TOM: OK. So, that gives me 10.
RAY: Square that.
TOM: Square that. There's two. There's a 100.
RAY: Divide that by two.
TOM: There's 50.
RAY: Yeah. So, of course, the units are all wrong, but that's all right.
TOM: That's all right, but it means if I were driving at a 100 kilometers per hour, which is 60 miles per hour, I should be 50 meters or 150 feet --
TOM: Roughly behind the car in front of me.
RAY: There you go. Cute, huh?
RAY: All right. What's the equation? Do you remember it?
TOM: D equals V over 10 squared, all over two.
RAY: Of course, while most people were trying to do the math, they'd crash into another car. And who's our winner anyway? We have a fabulous prize and who got it, Tommy?
TOM: The winner is from Luxembourg, someone named Diane Swan, from Eeston. E-E-S-T-O-N. Not eastern, but East-ton, Maryland.
[ Car Talk Puzzler ]