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August 01, 2006

Comments

Thomas A. Gill

Check Montana today. Some roads there used to have no speed limit.

John E

We also have some 75mph zones here in Colorado. I've noticed for myself that as the speed limit keeps increasing I get closer to actually obeying the speed limit. When it was 55 I drove 65, when it was 65 I drove 70, and now in places where it's 75 I drive about 77. Of course, if I didn't have a Toyota Corolla, it might be a different story.

Curious

"How did people ever deal with it back in the 55 mph days?"

Simple, they broke the law like crazy!

Some Day

In Miami, the speed limit is 10 mph more than what ever you see on your speedometer.
And yellow lights mean turn on your noz, or put that turbo to work.

Jason

Some people think 55 is residential speed.

Barbara

In a large metropolitan area, most speed limits are irrelevant. Traffic would never move that fast. I'm lucky when I get to do the minimum speed of 40.

Alyssa

Driving through Montana a few years ago on my way to Yellowstone I was surprised to find many stretches that had no speed limit unless there was inclement weather.

DJ

All I know is that in Oklahoma that have a tolerance of about 0.8 mph over the speed limit.

Randolph Carter

I don't really understand how people can drive down the freeway at 55 miles per hour, let alone 80. Maybe its just me, but I've seen what happens to a car when it collides with something at 35 miles an hour; it's not a pretty sight. Now, going over twice that speed seems to be asking for death and disaster to me.

Then again, I think that 15 miles an hour is a good residential speed, and 25 is perfect for the freeway. If it takes people too long to get to places that they should either learn to be more patient or not travel so much in the first place. This is why I will never become Secretary of Transit :)

Adrian

Recent trips outside of CO really educated me how slow other states are. I'm so used to driving 75mph. To be knocked down to 70 or even 65 makes it feel like a snailes pace.

Speed limits have more to do with driver behavior than cars and somewhat on roads. i always enjoy driving in Germany where turn signals and proper lane changes are normal. I don't think eliminating or increasing speed limits much more in the 'states will help much. There are just too many dangerous drivers and cars.

Tim J.

They take driving very seriously in Germany. I learned from a German friend that a driver's license costs about 1500 Euro. I think that's around 900 bucks.

Animadversor

No, it's around US $1,895.70.

Tim J.

Right. I just checked the currency exchange rate, and BOY, I was way off!

Cory Sticha

As a Montana resident, I wish they would have kept the "reasonable and prudent" speed limit, but as of May 28, 1999, Montana has speed limits. Now, they're not exactly unreasonable, as it's 75 on Interstates and 70 on two-lane highways. The 80 MPH speed limit would be really nice in eastern Montana. Hopefully they'll follow Texas's lead sometime soon.

Cienwen

Whoa!!! 80 per hr. There is no place in CT that is over 65 and some streches of interstate 91 have a 55 limit. I had no idea you all were moving so fast!!!

Trish

Michigan has 65-70 mph freeway limit -- and of course people -- me included -- routinely travel at 5 to 10 mph above that. I know those 55 mph speed limits were annoying - but weren't accident injury and fatality rates a lot lower --- not to mention gas consumption? High speeds are great for long stretches of open, low-traffic roadway -- but I wouldn't want to have a speedlimit much higher than 65 or 70 in heavily populated areas.

John F. Kennedy

Randolph Carter:

What vehicle do you use? One of those Mi-go's? Or an a Nightgaunt? I thought those really fly!

Here in Ohio we have 65, if we're lucky.

LarryD

Michigan's highway speed limits get up to 70, but I have found that going 5-7 mph won't get you pulled over. Of course, going 5-7 mph over in a 25mph residential zone is asking for a ticket.

And regarding's Some Day's comment about yellow lights in Miami - in metro Detroit, you're never the last person through a yellow light. I can't tell you how many times I've zipped through a very late yellow, only to see two or three more people follow me. And I always thought yellow meant "slow down". Around here it must mean "Pedal to the metal".

Augustine

When I lived in Nuernberg in 1992, gasoline was obscenely expensive. We almost never drove anywhere. I used to go everywhere by bicycle, even as far as Heroldsberg (about 15 km). Anything farther than that I took a train. Driving was always a last resort.

I generally try to keep pace with the flow of traffic, no matter what the speed limit is. If there are no other cars on the road, I try to keep it within 10 mph of the posted limit. Otherwise, I mainly keep an eye on the speed limit signs just to be aware if there's something I need to slow down for up ahead. I feel it's safer to go with the flow and causes less congestion, which is better for everyone.

cheyan

In Montana when 55mph was federally mandated, a ticket for exceeding that speed on the interstate but not also driving recklessly (or imprudently; 55 mph is a bad idea when the roads are scarily icy, after all) cost $5, and it didn't go on your record.

So that's how they "dealt with it" - they completely avoided dealing with it ;)

Karen

I don't have facts or figures to back this up but the word is in Germany that accidents aren't more frequent where the Autobahns have no speed limits, due to the tendency to drive carefully and have much more stringent DUI controls--but that when there are accidents, they tend to be more spectacular.

I find a certain irony (amusement) in what are comparitavely ridiculously slow speed limits on other types of roads, though. Some country roads have 10kmph, 20kmph, and 30kmph speed limits and that is just painfully slow (kmph, not mph). There are country roads in America where I grew up where it is *at least* twice that, in more populated areas. The rumor is, they reduce speed limits when they need to make money off of speeding tickets. And once in a while when a cow manure truck leaves behind a few cow paddies, they run out and post reduced speed limit signs and "Verschmutzte Fahrbahn" signs until someone can go out and clean it up. Same with these "Rollspittel" signs--if a truck full of gravel spills a few pebbles--and sometimes you won't even see any pebbles--they reduce the speed limit and put out warning signs. Remember, this'd be on roads where the speed limit is only 40kmph or 50kmph anyway. People's natural tendency is to drive at a comfortable 60kmph on these kinds of roads so this means lots of people are technically speeding but not going too fast. Cruise control is almost a necessity because even if you're a cautious granny you're in danger of speeding and not knowing it. And I wish I'd gotten a picture of it but the Beware of Frogs sign on a road near me was a hoot--I don't know if it's still there but I'll keep my eye out. It looked like a pedestrian crossing sign only there was a silhouette of frogs. I say it's an irony because people think nothing of going way too fast in rain or snow, including on the Autobahn. My husband always drives where there are no speed limits because I don't have the nerves for it.

Okay, here's some math for the curious: 10kmph is 6.2mph. 20kmph is 12mph. 30kmph is 18mph. 50kmph is 31mph. 60kmph is 37mph.

Steve

I was thinking about this as I was driving, with traffic, at 85 on a 65 highway here in CT this afternoon. 65 is too slow. With today's cars 80 would be reasonable on most highways.

Randolph Carter

>Randolph Carter:

>What vehicle do you use? One of those Mi-go's?
>Or an a Nightgaunt?

I detest using Nightgaunts because they get terrible milage. As for the Mi-Go, they generally insist on tearing out your brain and putting it in a large metal cylinder before letting you travel anywhere with them.

I myself actually prefer to travel on foot, or by ship, and sometimes even by cat. If I really have to get some place quick, however, I usually prefer to travel via the giant, bi-pedal, AT field equipped robot that I keep in the basement under my house. Now THOSE things get great milage!

Augustine

Having driven on German Autobhanen, I'll be happy when I see a speed limit of 100MPH. I found this to be the ideal speed to travel at: not too fast as to be uncomfortable due to engine and road noise and yet fast enough to get to the destination sooner.

The Interstate-grade roads are quire capable of traffic at such speeds, provided that trucks are banned from the left lane. Unlike in Germany, when trucks would change lanes in front of me at 60MPH!

German drivers are not any better than American ones and can be pretty imprudent too. As a matter of fact, what I saw some German drivers do could be excusable at 45MPH, but never at 130MPH!

Sean Gallagher

How did people ever deal with it back in the 55 mph days?

Just ask Sammy Hagar...

Steve

I sometimes seriously wonder if the only reason that speed limits are so unreasonably slow is so that the state can have yet another way of extracting revenue from people.

rotarykid

All US interstates should have a suggested limit of 75 mph . Many stretches of interstate freeways can handle 90 mph safely and that should be allowed in good weather during the day .

SO suggested limit of 75 mph , but enforced limit of "reasonable & Prudent" like Montana had during the 90s . During the day back then on the freeway 90 mph was normal during daylight hours and in good weather .

I drove the length of Montana @ 90 mph several times and really enjoyed it . Traffic was flowing @ around 80 mph in Wyoming , but when we crossed into Montana the traffic uniformily sped up to 90 mph .

rotarykid

I make the trip across the US a couple of times a year and wish all states would adopt a minimum freeway limit of 75 mph

bill912

I remember driving across Montana when the speed limit was 55. Took about a week.

Henry Stowe

A writer asked if injury and accident rates were lower when teh speed limit was 55 mph. The answer is mostly no. The fatality rate when teh speed limit was 55 mph nationwide was approximately 2.7 deaths per 100 million miles traveled. Fatality rates have been dropping ever since 1921, however, they dropped at a lesser rate than normal in the 1974-1980 period during the heavy 55 mph enforcement era. Only when the government began emphasizing drunk driving more instead of speed, the fatality rate drop began in earnest in 1983. The drop continued through 1987 when rurual interstate limits were raised to 65 mph.

More recently, states that raised their speed limits to 70 or 75 mph have experienced a greater reduction in fatality rates than states keeping 65 mph limits. That is a documentable, verifiable fact using NHTSA data.

Even if repealing the 55 mph limit added 6500 deaths per year (which never happened)as Ralph Nader and Joan Claybrook said, I still would support the legislation. Its ridiculous to penalize good drivers for the actions of those who can't handle speed. Highways were built for speed and thats what they should be used for. Residental and surface streets are a different story entirely.

kimrennin

Speed limits are the maximum allowed speed for driving on the road. However, poor driving conditions often make it necessary to drive at a speed lower than the limit to keep yourself and others safe. As a driver, it is your responsibility to choose the safest speed within the
speed limit.

-------------------
kimrennin
California Dui

midnight sculler

10-4 good buddy. I remember back in the day when you'd fire up yer CB and fuzz buster and see if you could outwit the smokies. This is rubber duck puttin' the hammer down. Then you would git to where you was goin', un-buckle your huge belt buckle, pull down yer pants and run around naked in public just for the hell of it....and they call him the streak weeeeee. Then you'd throw one into some semi cute, half stoned chick with a giant 40 pound, 1970's bush with no worries because what you would catch from her couldn't kill you. Then you'd be Stayin Alive all night long with a rolled up sock stuffed down the front of your too tight, faded, purple, bell bottoms. Them was good days, me and my AMC Gremlin, ridin the lanes.

John Doe

Ignore the speed limit; drive a safe speed. If that's over the limit, then so be it.

bill912

That's what police officers call "Job Security".

David B.

Bill912,

:-D

Dale Kaup

Basically anything over 35 is probably fatal. I'm talking speed into a brick wall or head on to a car of equal weight as your own. If you happen to hit something bigger then obviously the "LD50" is slower. (LD50 is a medical term describing a dose at which half would die)

So the key is to get under 35 before you hit and that's a lot easier at 55 as compared to 75 as it takes more than twice the distance to go from 75 to 35 as from 55 to 35 expressed as the fraction 110/45. (average speed on a steady decline from 75 to 35 is 55* 2{times the amount of speed to loose} vs average speed of 45*1)

Plus it's just a whole lot easier and less worrisome to drive the speed limit. I have nothing to prove. Even a Ford Focus can easily go 100MPH all day so what do u prove by driving 85?

john

we drive that fast to work every day on the crowded Southern California Freeways.
Most of the time if you are going 70, you will get run over!! and this is in the slow lane.
Big SUV'S on stilts are the worst-- 90 to 100 and would run right over my MINI if i didn't
hit the brakes, turn 90 degrees, and move into the other lane......

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