IMAT 2014 Q4 [Assumption | Driving Rules]

When driving, if the car in front of you brakes suddenly, you need to be able to stop without crashing into it. The easiest rule-­of­-thumb is the two second rule. You choose a reference point that the vehicle in front of you is passing then say aloud: ‘Only a fool breaks the two second rule’. If you reach the reference point before you have finished the saying you need to pull back. This works at all speeds. However, when there are adverse road conditions or the road is narrow you need to double your braking distance. These practices will enable you to avoid such crashes.

Which one of the following is an underlying assumption of the argument above?

A. Adopting the ‘two second rule’ will avoid all accidents.

B. Most crashes are caused by cars running into the car in front.

C. Those who do not use the rule do not value road safety.

D. Some drivers brake more suddenly than others.

E. It will not take less than two seconds to repeat the saying.

Steps:

• Identify the question type. Although not phrased in the typical Cambridge format (“What is the assumption in the argument…”) we can easily identify that it is asking for an assumption.
• Strategy Tool Kit for solving assumptions
• Find the conclusions
• Find the reasons
• Find the unwritten link that the conclusion relies on
• Discard and decide (use negation test if needed)

A Adopting the ‘two second rule’ will avoid all accidents:

Word choice is key here. Notice the use of “… avoid SUCH crashes”. This is referring to rear-end accidents where you hit the car in front of you when it suddenly breaks. “All” accidents are unrealistic because using this rule will not always work, especially when you are not at fault (still an accident). Therefore A is incorrect due to word choice in the answer and text.

B Most crashes are caused by cars running into the car in front:

This cannot be assumed because there is no mention of numbers or rates of accidents. This could be a very particular case or it could be the most common, however without indication from the text, we cannot know. Therefore B is incorrect.

C Those who do not use the rule do not value road safety:

This is another statement we cannot conclude from the text. This is a trick to help avoid accidents, but it does not mean it is a universal rule used by all. Others may have other tricks or ensure they keep an appropriate distance by other means. Just because they do not use this specific rule does not mean they do not value road safety. Therefore C is incorrect.

D Some drivers brake more suddenly than others:

The rule is supposed to work at different speeds and be universal. The assumption would rather be that it works regardless of whether some drivers brake more suddenly than others. Therefore D is incorrect.

E It will not take less than two seconds to repeat the saying:

The whole point of the two-second rule is to have this saying take two seconds and that is how you know you are at an appropriate distance. The time it takes to say this should mean you are at a safe distance, however, if you say it too fast (less than two seconds) it could put you at risk to be too close, meaning even if you use the rule, it will not prevent the accident. The whole point of the argument is to prove that this saying is effective in reducing this type of accident, but if you said it in less than two seconds, this rule is no longer effective. Therefore E is correct.