Skip to comments.How fast is too fast?
Posted on 07/04/2002 10:53:25 PM PDT by JohnHuang2Edited on 07/12/2004 3:55:10 PM PDT by Jim Robinson. [history]
Reasonable speed limits are in everyone's best interests. The question is, how do we agree on what speeds are "reasonable"?
By observing traffic flow on any given stretch of road, traffic safety engineers can arrive at a scientifically objective speed limit that corresponds to the rate of travel the majority of drivers naturally gravitate toward. This so-called "85th percentile" speed is based on the altogether sound idea that most drivers are neither reckless nor suicidal – and usually drive within safe limits.
(Excerpt) Read more at washtimes.com ...
This is a fallacy. I won't flat-out tell you what "speed limits" are, but I'll give you a hint: Starts with a "t" and ends with "ax".
Germany, for example, sets speed limits only in areas that actually need a limit because of conditions. They also have the three lanes of major autobahns clearly marked with speed MINIMUMS (right lane is 60 kpg, middle is 90 and laft lane is 100 kph MINIMUM!
Germany also has stringent requirements for drivers' licenses adn vehicle registration (you learn the road rules and demonstrate competetnce behind the wheel) and you'll not see any beat up, smoking, broken glass (or plastic taped in place of glass), no lights, bald tire rust heaps there...they haul them off the road! Insurance is mandatory...or jail time results!
Overall, this nation needs to look at speed limits, vehicle registrations, and insurance. It has become a joke in this country!
The Germans are so hung up on finally earning a driver's license that you will find cards celebrating the acquistion of the "Fuehrerschein" at most card shops. Frankly, I think they all drive like teenagers with hot Corvette. I'm thankful to be finished with my contract work there. It was an interesting experience.
The San Diego area has max posted speeds of 65 MPH on I-5 and I-805. It is rare to see people drive under 70 MPH when the traffic flow will allow it. CHP simply doesn't have the manpower to ticket everyone violating the law. If you actually try to OBEY the speed limit, you may get a citation for dangerously impeding traffic flow.
Now keep to the slow lane. :)
I thought the locals did an admirable job of driving fast but safely.
Maybe you were in East Germany where the ex-East Germans still drive their Trabants and pull out in front of you at 39 mph when you are closing 100 mph more! I wish Americans were as courtious as the German drivers!
Anybody out there ever buy a bike from Berlin's "unofficial" Harley dealer back in the late 70's? I helped a buddy of mine pick up old choppers in the States and ship them over there to be sold with California registrations. Customized bikes are verboten in Deutschland, but the Polizei didn't know what to make of the foreign regs, so they didn't do anything with them. The bikes were very popular with the local pimps and a huge profit was made on them. (If anybody asks, I made this up!)
Subsequent experiences were around Frankfurt am Main. That is where I sensed the reckless teenager behavior on the city streets.
The standard European road etiquette of driving in the slow lane and only hopping one lane left to pass is something American drivers don't appreciate. It is a necessary survival skill on the continent. When you visit the U.K., you have to remember the right lane is the FAST lane. You hang out in the left lane on the M roads unless you need to pass.
Anyway, from my personal experience, this article is dead on the money. Most people, I found, seemed to be comfortable driving between 120 and 140 km/h (approx. 70 to 85 mph). Me and my Justy, we did 120 and used 130 for overtaking to maximize the fuel economy versus time spent travelling. My 60 mile one way trip took one hour on average (this is, of course the little roads before and after the Autobahn figured in too). Of course there were people who drove faster- and not just faster but dramatically faster. Mostly BMWs, some jealous Audis, the occasional Porsche- that sort of thing.
But by and large, most people tended to stay within that range I've just described. I never once saw an accident, although I was in quite a few Staus (traffic jams) which were caused by a few. Most of the Staus I ran into were caused by construction (which the Germans are always doing to the Autobahn). As a child and adult in America I witnessed more traffic accidents, some with fatalities than I can count. I don't have any hard facts or statistics, just my personal observations and they back up what the article says.
I think a higher speed limit would be a good thing and also I didn't find the Germans to be unsafe drivers- actually, to the contrary. They took the rules of the road seriously- especially the left lane for passing only rule. I mean Germans take rules seriously as a general rule period- traffic laws especially. I'd like to see some statistics comparing German versus American traffic fatalities but I would be surprised if Germany had more statistically than the USA (even adjusted for population).
Also, I'll grant you that. I never like driving to the airport. Around Cologne isn't too nice either. The one Autobahn I found to be the most similar to an American interstate was the A6 which runs East- West from Nuernberg to France. For some reason, driving this one always reminded me of I-75 down to Florida ;-)
I was there, believe me, they weren't. Every other part of the article I basically agree with. My own view is that on a typical three-lane highway, the speed limit in the right lane should be 60, and then 65 and 75 in the center and left lanes.
With more people opting to drive rather than fly, raising the speed limit may become necessary. Raising the speed limit will then make driving competitive with the shorter commuter flights.
Yesterday, while returning from Texas to SC, I noticed most people were driving 80 mph. The highway patrols were out in force, but were not pulling a lot over.
Since reading about setting the original Interstate speed limits at the 85 percentile several years ago in the WSJ, I began to think the 85 %ile and other super-majorities would very comforting alternatives to simple majorities for many of the activities of government. For example, how about an 85% majority to increase taxes? Or to pass major new legislation. Hillary Care would never have stood a chance (not that it passed anyway, but there were some tense moments) of getting a super majority.
Super majorities would provide additional checks on power. Currently, special interest lobbyists, needing only a simple majority need only to lobby for a few votes to add to those honestly in favor and those corruptly bought, to pass bills not favored by the citizenry. Just this week, the citizens of Tennessee fought heroically to thwart yet another push for a state income tax opposed by the citizens but favored by those with power and those who expected to benefit.
Simple majority democracy favors minorities seeking benefits over majorities who will pay for them. Benefit recipients, both direct and indirect, stand to gain proportionally more than those who must pay stand to lose. Ergo, they expend more effort attempting to enact and expand the benefit. The pressure is to grow government.
Super majorities in the legislatures would ensure that significant change has broad support. Simple majorities can, and often do, produce divisive laws that increase the level of hostility in society and serve to divide, rather than unite. Here in Connecticut, we "enjoy" a state income tax that passed by a single vote. It divided the state. Its main proponent, Lowell Weiker, Jr. refused to face an enraged electorate and high-tailed it out of the state when his term was up.
Super majority rule would have saved our country from the uselessness and corruption of the Departments of Energy and Education. For those who think this would mean the end of government actions, I point to President Bush who proposed the Department of Homeland Security in the wake of September 11. Does anyone think a super majority will not be found for this?
Ahh yes, the Minnesota Flying Wedge! Who else has had the pleasure of tailing the bozo for 15 miles on an Interstate because he just knows he can pass that other car when they both have their cruise control set at five miles below the posted speed limit?
Around Minneapolis and St. Paul (Heck, most of Minnesota and parts of Iowa), I found that it is quicker and less congested in the far-right lane.
Hmmm, that was about the time I found out I really was a Republican.
Far as speed limits go, I have two thoughts on them.
First, we need them as a matter of public safety. Along with MAXIMUM speed limits, we should have MINIMUM speed limits and they should be strictly enforced too! Anyone driving 40 on the highway should be ticketed and REMOVED from the road, period.
Second, Our speed limits are TOO LOW. Our roads were built to handle 70+ and cars today are MUCH SAFER than they were in the 60's and 70's where the school of thought was "bigger, heavier, more rigid" bodies that didn't absorb impacts. We could easily have speed limits of 75+ on highways outside of metropolitan areas. Just my opinion though.
These folks are democrats by and large -- they naturally gravitate to the left and want to hold other folks back.
LOL, that's funny! I'll have to remember that one.