Speed limits: A myth?

Credit: richardmasoner/Flickr.com

I took a road trip earlier this week to return to my academic roots and educate some high school kiddies on what it’s really like to be a working, living, breathing, real-life journalist. This offered me the opportunity to open their eyes and minds to what it’s really like to be a paid writer and excel in the field. I had high hopes, I really did. Until I asked my kiddies how many of them wanted to be writers and only one raised her hand. Fantastic.

Inspiring the child(ren) aside, the journey to my academic roots was one full of fall colours and long, straight open stretches of highway.

Country driving in Canada during the fall season is absolutely spectacular and possibly one of the most scenic drives you can take. As the leaves turn every shade of red, yellow and orange, you feel as if you’re in a landscape painting. Every corner offers a brand new point of view, a fresh canvas splashed with colour and mystique.

How philosophical of me.

But the colourful trees weren’t the only thing that caught my attention on this long journey to enlightenment.

I’ve had enough speeding tickets to warrant using the cruise control as often as I can on the open road. Now, I’m not a little speed demon (despite what some might say), I just tend to lose track of how fast I’m actually going. And let’s be honest here, I like to press my right foot down (especially when the car I’m driving has some oomph under the hood). My speeding tickets were all valid and were all by mistake. I wasn’t rushing anywhere or testing the 0-60 or anything fancy like that, each time I was simply cruising along with the music blaring, oblivious to my surroundings and (quite obviously) the speed limit.

And so I started to think, as I popped the Subie’s cruise on at 119 (anything under 120 km/hr and you’re ticket-free on the radar here), how many people actually do pay attention to speed limits and who chooses those limits?

Recently, a road near my house upped its limit from 40 km/hr to 50 km/hr. It’s a residential street with runners and bikers often lining the sides. One of my tickets was on said road and was quite severe because I was doing 65 in the 40. However, had I been doing 65 in the now 50 zone, I may not have been stopped at all (come to think of it, yes, I would have because I was in a white Z4 and everyone hates me in a BMW).

Why is 50 acceptable there now? Why was 40 nixed? How come highways don’t just up their maximums to 120? Is it so that people won’t start cruising at 140 because 20 over the limit is OK? Why not drop the highway limits to 90 so people only do 110?

Oh and my most pertinent question: How the hell are you supposed to do 25 km/hr? This speed blows my mind. I’d be better off (and travel faster) if I got out of my car and pushed it. I realize this is in school zones and such, but really now. That’s a bit ridiculous. If you want me to slow down, install speedbumps (a topic for another blog, oh faithful reader).

While cruising along at 119, I was passed by many a car both dilapitated and brand new. Some were going so fast it was if I were in park on the road. And that also got me thinking…

Why don’t we have an Autobahn type road in North America? Is it because German driving skills are so superior to ours that they have the ability to not kill themselves on a road with no speed limit? I’m inclined to think that, yes, that is the reason.

Speed limits are there to protect us, and yet we rarely respect them unless we suspect a cop lurking somewhere in the shadows. The threat of a ticket scares us more than the threat of death at traveling much too quickly in our vehicles. That baffles me. And I’m just as guilty.

Speed limits seem to me to be more of a suggestion than an obligation. Please, if you don’t mind, could you try and do 70, cause, you know, we’d really appreciate it. K thanks.

Drive on (within the limits, of course),
– M.

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~ by drivingmsmiranda on October 8, 2010.

83 Responses to “Speed limits: A myth?”

  1. Wow, an excellent topic, and one of my faves.
    In order, then…
    1. Highest speed you can consistently get away with on Quebec’s major highways: 128
    For as long as I have had cars with cruise control (and that now measures in several decades) I have always set mine to 128. In the many hundred thousands of kilometers since, I have NEVER been stopped for anything under 130, so this comes with a fair amount of a guarantee attached. Add in that most factory speedometers are at least 2 – 3% optimistic and you really have a safe zone here.
    I’ve also run the 401 MTL-T.O. at least 40 – 50 times, and past Kingston they won’t even look at you under 140. Cornwall is different (trust me on this), Quebec rules apply.

    2. As for how they’re set, the usual method used for most areas in North America (excepting heavy urban and school zone type stuff) is using what’s called the 85th Percentile rule. That means after the road is completed, traffic engineers will study the flow and speed of vehicles on the road and then set the limit at the mean average of the middle 85% of the numbers measured.
    In other words, they figure most drivers are smart enough to run at an approprate speed, exceting the bottom and top few percent.
    This worked exceptionally well into the early 70’s, until many communities realized that there could be a healthy profit center created by artificially lowering these limits and cashing in. Car and Driver magazine has done a fabulous job of documenting this phenomenon in the U.S. over the years. We haven’t been so much affected by the cash-grab phenonmenon, but one disturbing trend is the tremendous number of roads in rural areas connecting small towns that have been dropped from 70 km/h to 50. This happened shorthly after the responsibility for these roads was transferred from the provincial government to the local county under the MRC (municipalitรฉ rรฉgionale de comtรฉ) setup. The minute some local complained, rather than actually bothering to study the road they’d just drop the limit in a knee jerk reaction. So we now have many gorgeous, empty roads in the middle of nowhere with insanely low limits. Sad.
    3. Speed limits as suggestions.
    Once again, if people are zooming by you on long stretches of straight four lane highway, it’s likely because they’re feeling comfortable with their vehicle and their skill level at that pace on that road. If a large number of people are doing this, and the engineers are right, then it’s obvious that the limit is set too low. It’s not hard to understand why. Automotive technology has come so astonishingly far in the last thirty or forty years that if you dropped a modern, modest sporty car like the current gen GTI or your Subie into the ’70’s, they would neatly mop the floor with many supposed exotics of the day. But limits on our major highways haven’t budged a single kilometer since. No wonder then that there’s a big discrepancy. A few U.S. states have addresed this, in the south west it’s not uncommon to see 75 mph limits (120 km/h) and in Montana daylight limits on rural area interstates is “reasonable and proper”. In other words, up to the cop. But the word is 100 mph works. I’ve done 90 mph in Nevada for hours out in the desert and never got a second glance.
    3. Autobahn for all?
    I looooove this idea, but I really don’t think it’s in the cards for us. Firstly, Germany’s standards for automotive maintenance are far beyond anything we have here, and if you tried to implement anything resembling the TUV inspection measures here people would riot in the streets. It’s an unspoken North American right to drive a crap-can hazard trap of a car, and trying to change that would be nigh on impossible I suspect. The other issue is driver training. Here again, we are a long, long way off from how it’s done in Europe. In most countries there the exams last an hour, and it’s unusual to pass on your first try. These folks are serious about drivng as an art form.
    So a beautiful dream, but not in our cards.

    But I would march on Quebec city tomorrow to at least get the big road limits up to 120 or 130. The last few decades’ march of auto evolution would suggest that today’s average car, even the poorly-maintained beater variety with its modestly trained driver, could at least safely manage that.

    • I’ve driven nearly 200km/h from Toronto to Montreal without getting pulled over. Maybe I’m just a special case?

      • Hi Anwa,

        Thanks so much for stopping by!

        I believe you are a special case! 200 km/hr is definitely pushing the boundaries in my books. I hope you’re alone in the car and alone on the road when you do that!

        Drive on (safely please!),
        – M.

    • Fantastic response! I suspected all these responses to the author’s questions, but mine were only suspicions based on logic, common sense, and tidbits I’ve picked up here and there. You’ve offered a lengthy, documented response, and I love it.

    • Hey Ian,

      Trust you to make the most influential and FIRST comment on this blog. Thank you for that!!

      I totally agree that the location begets the speed. A wide open stretch of straight, Nevada highway in a lonely desert is very different from a cramped, pedestrian-lined street in NDG. Each has its own limits and its own set of rules.

      I often see beaters on the highway doing speeds they really shouln’t be doing and I swear I see pieces rattling off as they go …

      So, let’s march together one day for higher speed limits on highways like the 40! ๐Ÿ™‚

      Thanks again Ian. And I made it on Freshly Pressed with this blog (the WordPress.com homepage). Looks like I’m moving up in the world. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Drive on,
      – M.

  2. Great post, Miranda! Thanks for checking out my blog, as well.

  3. […] Speed limits: A myth? […]

  4. That’s funny, isn’t it? That we are more scared of cops than dying or wrecking. I think speeding brings out our desire to be little rebels or something. Great post!

    • Hey Simple Life,

      Thanks so much for the read!

      I do find it amusing, which is why it caught my attention. ๐Ÿ™‚ Glad you enjoyed it. Hope you checked out a few of my other posts as well.

      Drive on,
      – M.

  5. I go at least 5 mph over the speed limit everywhere. EVERYWHERE. On US I-90 (which runs through my state) I have a hard time going less than 85 mph. In our state we want the speed limits to be higher, but the federal government started taking our money away when we tried to raise the limit over 75 mph. So that’s why that is the limit on that road.

    Crystal
    http://www.crystalspins.com

    • Hey Crystal,

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Interesting to hear there are states asking for their limits to be raised. How did they start taking your money? More tickets? Higher taxes?

      Drive on,
      – M.

  6. There could be some science behind it:

    Kinetic energy equals one-half the mass times velocity squared:

    E=(1/2)mv^2

    The faster you go, the more energy you have to dissipate when you stop, either through your brakes or through the crumpling of your car (and flesh) when you crash. Note that the velocity term is squared, so with every unit of ten increase in velocity, there is a hundred-fold increase in the amount of kinetic energy.

    And perhaps an engineer could chime in about wind drag, but I recall the amount of drag also increases with the square of velocity. Much of your fuel is consumed fighting this drag, and driving faster greatly increases your fuel consumption. Where I live, you can actually get a ticket for “wasting of a finite resource”.

    • Hey The Gates of Lodore,

      Thanks for the read!

      Wow – there is definitely a reason I’m a writer and not a physicist hehehe. It sounds like all you say is true, and I’m sure there have been many studies done to prove what speed is easiest for a car to stop, etc.

      And how the hell does a cop measure your wast of a finite resource?! I’m intrigued …

      Drive on,
      – M.

      • I think is is when they catch you speeding but have no radar evidence to prove exactly how fast you were going. All they know is you were doing faster than the speed limit, and faster than what is considered “reasonable and prudent”. Or, when they want to be a nice cop. Wasting a finite resource tickets are cheaper than speeding tickets.

  7. Still hoping to get to Montana and enjoy what I hear are “no” speed limits!
    -Wineguider, http://www.wineguider.wordpress.com

  8. speed limits really serves as a warning for accident-prone areas and would really help a driver get out of danger if and only if the driver abides in it. sadly, not many of our drivers of today have that clean conscience to follow rules like speed limits. hope they learn from mistakes and accidents made by not following speed limits to avoid more accidents.

    • Hey Kevin,

      Thanks so much for the read!

      I agree with you that speed limits are there to keep us safe and from harming one another. Excessive speeding is uncalled for and downright dumb. 5-10 km over the limit is OK, but 20-50 km over is just asking for a quick exit (no pun intended).

      Drive on,
      – M.

  9. I reckon the primary purpose of speed limits is to give the illusion of safety, while providing a “valid reason” to law enforcement to issue citations. It, like everything else, is probably driven by revenue. If the roads had no speed limits, or only ‘speed suggestions’ and officers could not issue citations, they would lose millions of dollars that the department relies on for operation.

    Personally, I consider this a violation of the people by government, tantamount to extortion. Although legally sanctioned, it follows the same mafia protection ‘insurance plan’ setup. Basically: We’re going to tell you what you are and aren’t allowed to do in a certain area, and any deviation from that will result in punitive punishment. They’re not smashing your grocery store or busting knee caps, but they’re taking money out of your pocket for the purpose of maximizing their budgets and purporting a benevolent purpose for doing so.

    Consider this, in Washington state, if you are clocked going 70 mph in a 60 mph zone, you have about a 99% chance of getting a ticket. Why is 70 mph too fast? Are you more likely to die in an accident at 70 than you are at 60? Likely not. In fact, I doubt you are any more likely to lose control of your vehicle at 70 or even 80 than you are at 60. Perhaps 30 or 40 years ago, when automobiles weren’t as advanced as they are today. If you’ve ever driven an old car, you are probably familiar with the way they have a tendency to start shaking or vibrating at anything over 85, but of course anyone who has driven a newer car, or especially a performance car, it is not uncommon to see performance handling and smooth ride at 100+ mph.

    All in all, traffic tickets and speed limits are a shameful robbery of the taxpaying citizens. I would much rather have the government be up front about taking my money straight out of my paycheck as taxes, and just tell me its to pad their bottom line, rather than pull me over for driving 10 mph over the speed limit, try to make me feel guilty for my behavior, and then rape me for $170 with a ‘you stay safe out there.’

    • Hey Leebuss,

      Thanks so much for the read!

      I completely agree with you. One of my tickets I was cruising with another vehicle doing the same speed (I often do that on open roads — power in numbers and all that), and I was the one who got pulled over for the ticket. Why you ask? My driving buddy was a navy Honda Civic, and I was in a bright white BMW Z4 convertible. I think my ticket had a lot to do that and the cop simply saw a way to make some money… I could obviously afford it with my ride.

      So, I agree – while I think speed limits ARE there to keep us safe and under control to a certain extent, I also believe the way they are handled by certain law enforcements is a bit sketchy.

      Drive on,
      – M.

  10. You are kidding, right? Just because people think they are good drivers doesn’t mean they are. Many drivers drive above their real skill level, proven by the number of accidents on the road. When driving I often feel like I’m in on of my kids video games where obstacles and dangers are popping out everywhere. No offense, but you kinda sound like you don’t drive within your skill level; you are saying that you are not paying attention to your driving, so you don’t know how fast you’r going. This is not a good thing.

    • Hey Hamster,

      Thanks so much for stopping by!

      I was being a bit tongue-in-cheek when I said Germans were better-skilled drivers than us as I’ve always heard that rumour, and I’m inclined to believe it after experiencing some time as a passenger while a skilled German driver took me on the track.

      And as for me not paying attention – I don’t mean that I was applying mascara, drinking a coffee and chatting on my phone as I flew down my neighbourhood roads doing 100 km/hr. I just meant that I often cruise on wide-open highways or open country roads enjoying the sound of my engine and the scenery and my speed will creep up past the acceptable 15-20 km/hr over the limit. My tickets have only ever been on those lone country roads with no one else around.

      Are you spot on the speed limit every single time you drive? Do you ever let your mind focus on your surroundings and the road and the drive instead of the speedometer? Or do you spend the entire time with your eyes darting madly from the road to the speedometer?

      Speeding is one thing (5-20 km/hr on the highway), excessive, dangerous speeding (doing 100 km/hr in a school zone) is quite another and something I would never condone nor do.

      Drive on,
      – M.

  11. I absolutely loved this post, why don’t you drop by my site sometime? http://mrnotsocool.wordpress.com/

  12. We’re so similar with driving (even though I’m still learning and have a G1 until 2011). I try to not go over 35km/h because that’s the highest i can control the car at right now and still pay attention to what’s going on around me, but sometimes I press my foot too hard and it goes up to 50 and my mom has to quickly take the wheel so I don’t cause an accident, so far I’ve never been close to bumping into a car, but I have almost bumped into where there’s grass and then there’s cement or made of something else kind of block (I’m not sure what it’s called) a few times, which would have only dented the car a little bit but that’s still not good. Anyways, great topic.

    • Hey Nazish,

      Thanks for stopping by.

      I suggest you practice some more in wide open parking lots, or nice straight stretches of road with very little traffic. If you’re having trouble controlling the car past a certain speed, you’ll want to make sure you practice as much as you can at a speed you’re comfortable with.

      Good luck!
      Drive on,
      – M.

  13. If you want speed limits that baffle and anger, visit Ireland. We have some of the most inconsistent speed limits since we changed from miles to km a few years ago! ๐Ÿ˜‰
    http://ayearinmyshoes.wordpress.com

    • Hey Livvy30,

      Thanks so much for reading!

      I’ll definitely have to experience driving on Irish roads at least once in my life. Time to write that one on the to-do list. ๐Ÿ™‚ And I’ll be checking out your blog too!

      Drive on,
      – M.

  14. Who knows why the speed limit in that particular area was increased. It wouldn’t surprise me though if the city had a study done and that was the outcome.

    The issue of speed limits has been an occasional topic of discussion with a friend of mine over the years. His point is that ‘limit’ implies ‘maximum’. You are not obligated to drive that specific speed, but you’re breaking the law if you are driving one km/mi over it. Similarly you will see speed minimum signs on occassion. If you cannot drive the up to the minimum, maybe you need to be off the road.

    Apparently Louisiana just enacted a law making it illegal to drive 1 mph over the speed limit. On the surface it sounds a bit redundant but it’s no doubt aimed at giving legal weight against the myth of the 5 mph “rule”. I doubt most highway troopers will be pulling people over for doing a mile over the speed limit, but they may well be stopping plenty more people for doing 4 miles over, whereas before they were willing to leave them alone in favor of the 15-20 mile over speeders. And the little towns looking for any and all revenue possible? Now every town is a potential “speed trap”, not just the occassional “known” ones.

    The law is the law and it’s always cut and dry unless evidently ambiguous or full of loopholes. Too many people – myself included – are willing to gamble and fudge rules and laws with excuses and downright relativistic standards. You didn’t just/only break the law when you got caught. You broke the law every time you sped over the limit and didn’t get caught.

    I’ve had my fair share of fender benders and speeding tickets, some my fault, others not; some purposeful, others while blithely ignorant (my favorite was my own ticket for speeding in a school zone – I was absolutely clueless even as the cop pulled me over). As I get older though, I find myself paying greater attention to my speed and my surroundings. Some of it is due to my wallet, but mostly it’s due to my family and moreso my values and witness.

    As a Christian I am called to be obedient to the law, to government, and as a father and believer, I am to be an example and witness. I don’t just want to keep me and my children safe, I also need to model good behavior, otherwise they’ll grow up to be leadfoots and poor drivers with a thoroughly unChristian, relativistic outlook on the law and the road.

    • Hi Wadingacross,

      Thanks so much for the read!

      I agree with you about paying more attention as I get older. I used to speed with wild abandon when I first got my license in my teens. I think it had something to do with that youthful misconception that we are invincible. Hehehe

      However, now I am much more conscious, as you say, about myself and my surroundings as well as those in the car with me. I am not a mother (yet) but I’m sure once I am, my driving habits will change, once again.

      Drive on,
      – M.

  15. Hello, I’m new here (and English is not my native language, so I hope you’ll excuse my probably disputable phrasing).

    I enjoyed reading this post, especially the part about fall colors, since by coincidence I’ve had my “philosophical” driving time yesterday, here in nothern Italy, and I can subscribe every word of your description.

    As for the usefulness of speed limits, I think TheGatesOfLodore got the point, if not the math (a ten-unit *increase* in speed does not imply a hundred-unit *increase* in energy – whetever the units). Driving at 50 km/h is only a 25% increase in speed from 40, but the energy the brakes must dissipate increases by more than 56% and so does braking time.

    Germany actually has speed limits on almost all Autobahnen. They vary from 100 to 130 km/h and I don’t know for sure if you may get a ticket for going at 131, but in Germany I wouldn’t take the risk. German cops are generally kind and communicative, but not so forgetful.
    Besides, the lack of a speed limit on Autobahnen could not be taken too literally. They are made of fine-grained asphalt, sometimes event cement, to avoid ice infiltrations during Winter time; if you go too fast things can get really dangerous.

    • Hi Ric,

      Thanks so much for stopping by. ๐Ÿ™‚

      I’m glad you liked my fall driving description. It really is gorgeous here in Canada right now, despite the fact that it means winter is quickly approaching. *sigh*

      Your English is fantastic, by the way! ๐Ÿ™‚

      And as for the braking distant and power needed, I was sure there was a physics-related answer to it all, but I wasn’t sure what it was. I am also always baffled as to why our bumper crash ratings are different from yours in Europe. Do Nort Americans react differently when you plow into them?

      Drive on,
      – M.

  16. Like the Red Rocket said, I can’t drive 14 1/2.

    • Hey TheJamminJabber,

      Thanks so much for stopping by!

      I don’t think anyone can drive 14 1/2… which is why I thought that pic was so appropriate. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Drive on,
      – M.

  17. “Why donโ€™t we have an Autobahn type road in North America? Is it because German driving skills are so superior to ours that they have the ability to not kill themselves on a road with no speed limit? Iโ€™m inclined to think that, yes, that is the reason.”

    Haha, +!

    Although I’d like to think of myself as an exception of course.

    I like your style, you’re the first auto journalist I’ve read on WordPress other than myself. Check me out at roadroving.com if you’re so inclined.

    • Hey Wild Rover,

      Thanks for the read!

      I like to think of myself as an exception too. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      I always love hearing that a fellow journalist has read my random ramblings – I’m honoured. Thanks! ๐Ÿ™‚ I have a feeling i will definitely feel inclined to check out your blog in the near future …

      Drive on,
      – M.

  18. Speed limits can definitely get people fired up. I’m sure many people share your mindset and curiosity of how the speed of the road gets set. We have a road in our city that is always the center of attention for one reason or another. After three fatal crashes, none of them speed-related, the City Council voted to lower the speed limit from 45 mph to 35 mph. It was a knee-jerk reaction by them in response from public pressure to “do something”.

    I usually enjoy watching people and laughing to myself as they speed past me and change lanes several times, only to get stuck at the same red light as me up ahead. Sometimes the same car passes me several times as I cruise along in my lane at the speed limit. I find it hilarious sometimes. Ahh, the simple pleasures in life. Haha.

    • Hey 757rubicon,

      Thanks so much for the read.

      I too enjoy watching people zig-zag in and out of traffic, stressing about “getting ahead” only to find them beside or even behind me when I’ve done nothing but plod along in my lane, doing the speed I should be doing. ๐Ÿ™‚ Simple pleasures are the best kind.

      Drive on,
      – M.

  19. Frankly, I found this post frightening. 15-20 mph over the limit is acceptable to you? I start worrying if I go over 5!
    I’m a new driver, and it makes me crazy when speed demons zoom past me without a care to the signs. It’s a limit for a reason. You can get punished for speeding because you’re breaking the law.
    Limits like 25 are often in place in neighborhoods and residential areas. I’ve seen my share of children running, biking, and even standing in the middle of the road. It’s all too easy for a driver going 45 to not notice them until its too late. And no amount of tickets will bring a kid back from the dead.
    Anyway, it doesn’t matter if you feel like you can go 80 in a 50 mile zone and get away with it. Laws are laws, and other drivers like me would appreciate you following them.

    • Hey Katblogger,

      Thanks so much for stopping by!

      First off, let me clarify — I’m talking about kilometres an hour (km/hr), because I’m a strange Canuck. So, yes 15-20 MPH would be alarmingly fast and WAY over the speed limit (as that would be like 30-45 km/hr over). However, 5-20 km/hr is not so horrendous.

      And I agree: Laws are laws, and they are there for a reason, but I often wonder if people see that. Which is why I posed the question as to whether or not speed limits were myths. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Drive on,
      – M.

    • Just to add to what the author said: 15-20 kph is like 5-10 mph over (okay, more like 9-12 mph), which is what most of us Americans view as “acceptable,” even when it isn’t. That’s also relative to the speed limit, of course–10 mph over a 25mph limit is a LOT more dangerous than 10 mph over a 70mph limit.

  20. I definitely agree that speed limits are seen more as suggestions than actual obligations. I’ve gotten pulled over for going 78mph in a 65mph zone and wasn’t given a ticket. I was pleasantly surprised, as that was the first and only time I’ve been pulled over for speeding. Despite speed limits, everyone seems to choose their own when on the road, whether it be much faster or (annoyingly) slower than the posted speed limit.

    And I have to add, school zone speed limits of 25mph are pretty ridiculous, especially on main roads. I’ve been in parking lots with 5mph speed limit signs posted. I don’t think I could drive that slowly if I tried…

    • Hey Maggiefair90,

      Thanks so much for stopping by!

      I think sometimes the annoyingly slow drivers are more dangerous than the speeders. I’ve been on the highway and come up so quickly on a car without realizing it because they’re barely pushing 60 km/hr and I’m doing 110 km/hr. It’s not safe at all and something drivers should consider just as much as speeding.

      As for the 5 mph limit in the lot — like I said, getting out and pushing would probably be faster. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Drive on,
      – M.

  21. I’m not sure where exactly you are in Canada, but I’m quite certain that the 400 series highways in Ontario were all designed with a 130 km/hr speed limit in mind. Most people drive approximately that speed (at least during non-rush hour periods on the 401 – I can vouch for that). I suppose that I’m glad that we have 100 km/hr as the limits, as if we jumped it up to 120 km/hr we’d likely be seeing an average speed of about 140. Most Canadian drivers (particularly in the GTA) would NOT be able to handle that kind of speed on a regular basis. Probably because, as Ian said way up at the top there, many of us drive crap-can hazard traps of cars. If we drove that fast on the regular, most of us would fall apart. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Hey She.Is.Just.A.Rat,

      Thanks so much for the read!

      I am in Montreal actually, but I agree that the TransCanada highway seems to have been built for speed — with banked corners and all. Plus it’s the ONLY road in all of Quebec that isn’t falling apart (thank-you Federal Gov’t).

      I also have to agree that most GTA drivers wouldn’t be able to handle speed or precision driving. No offense to you or anyone else from Ontario, but you lot have a bunch of lousy drivers over there. Hehehe I can usually tell a car is from Ontario way before spotting the license plate. Sad, but true. And of course the same can be said for a Quebec plate — we’re usually the ones cutting everyone off and speeding where we shouldn’t. We’re slightly aggressive to say the least.

      Drive on,
      – M.

  22. […] #6: โ€œSpeed limits: A myth?โ€ by drivingmsmiranda https://drivingmsmiranda.wordpress.com/2010/10/08/speed-limits-a-myth 10/11/10 I definitely agree that speed limits are seen more as suggestions than actual obligations. […]

  23. I have a lead foot. I’ll admit it. I drive a ’99 Chrysler Sebring, 6 cyl. with alot of pop. 65mph on the Garden State Parkway is slow. Those are for the people in 4 cyl. Toyotas. But I’ve learned, from driving these roads frequently like Rt. 80, where the cops hang out. So you just cruise on through those
    But I am a careful driver. I don’t drive like that on the secondary roads.
    The autobahn was built by Hitler for WWII. Why there’s no speed limit is beyond me. Maybe due to the fact there’s less motorists on their roads, which is changing. That’s why there’s the Nurburgring.

    • Hey Ryoko861,

      Thanks so much for the read.

      That’s the key to bringing your speed limit up: Careful driving. I think too many people disregard that very important fact.

      Drive on,
      – M.

  24. Great post! I had to use a converter to figure out your km/hr to our mph here in the States. According to the calculations, I am definitely a speeder (80-90 mph or 129-144 km/hr). And, you hit it right on the nail when you said getting pulled over by a cop for speeding is more scarier than getting into an accident at that high speed. Perhaps it doesn’t help that I also ride a motorcycle so high speeds and the open road are thrilling to me. Congrats on Freshly Pressed! LB

    • Hey LB,

      Thanks so much for the read!

      You’re very brave to ride a bike! It’s funny; I’ll take a car well past 200 (in a safe environment of course), but I have yet to get on a bike as I am petrified. Too exposed for me!

      Drive on,
      – M.

  25. For the record, a lot of fatal accidents happen on the autobahn. They aren’t superior drivers. They just value their freedom very highly.

    • Hey,

      Thanks so much for the read!

      I said that as a bit of a tongue-in-cheek comment (Germans being better drivers). I know there are a lot of accidents on the Autobahn, just as there are a lot of accidents on our regular highways here in Montreal. Humans are, after all, only human and they can only control their vehicles to the best of their abilities. So it al comes down to the individual and their choices, regardless of their home country.

      Drive on,
      – M.

  26. Good post and topic.

    “This speed blows my mind. Iโ€™d be better off (and travel faster) if I got out of my car and pushed it.”

    I can relate to feeling that way. Thanks for the laugh.

    • Hey Slamdunk,

      Thanks so much for stopping by!

      Glad I could make you laugh. Make sure you check back, I’ll try my best to keep the laughter coming. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Drive on,
      – M.

  27. I can’t even explain to you how much we are alike. Your like my thinking twin! I seriously have been up forever and just got done reading all your posts. Keep up the good work!

    • Hey Cupkakeluver,

      Thanks so much for the read!

      I’m so glad you like my random ramblings. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ll be sure to check out your blog as well. Make sure you check back often as I try and update a few times a week.
      Thanks again!

      Drive on,
      – M.

  28. Confession: I’m pretty neurotic about speed limits, and so stick to cruise control. Mostly, of course, because it is so easy to speed, but also growing up in an area with roads so curvy that actual speeding may well just throw you off the road by virtue of physics.

    As for the Autobahn, my brother was in Europe recently and came back with the idea that Europeans are not necessarily more skilled drivers, but just better at paying attention to the other drivers on the road – basically that Americans are just too narcissistic. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Hey Mariethea,

      Thanks so much for stopping by!

      I love that: Americans are just too narcissistic. You hit the nail on the head! I did a post a few weeks back about driving a manual transmission vs. driving an automatic and I brought up just that: Driving a manual actually makes you pay attention to everything around you and your driving skills, whereas driving an automatic kind of makes you lazy.

      Thanks again.

      Drive on,
      – M.

  29. thanks your articles

  30. I agree with you, I’m from Minnesota and the main highway that loops around the cities is set at 60mph (96kph) and most of the time people are going around 70-75mph (112-120kph). I have to admit that most of the time I do speed and am at the point where I when I’m driving I”m not always sure what exactly the speed limit is.

    An authbahn in North America would ridiculous (but uber-fun). My own memorable experience of the autobahn is when I was about seven years and that was witness the leftovers of a rear end accident that ended in flames.

    Good points though!

    And PS… Audis are awesome (i have a volkswagen)

    Hannah ๐Ÿ˜€

    • Hey Hannah,

      Thanks so much for the read!

      It seems that as our cars get faster and faster (which is definitely happening), the faster and faster we want to go as drivers. But you have to be able to handle and control that speed as well as be aware of your surroundings and fellow motorists to make it all work. And that’s where it all goes horribly wrong (hence the flaming wreck you witnessed). ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

      Audis ARE awesome. I’ll be putting up some pics I took of the new 2011 Audi TTS I had a few weeks ago soon. Make sure you check back!

      Drive on,
      – M.

  31. Hi.

    This kind of posts I like. Thank You.

    Well, about speed limits. Here in Finland our speed limits on roads vary from 70km/ to 120km/h. On freeways thus the max speed is 120km/h during summer months, but during winter 100km/h. On those โ€œnormalโ€ roads speed limit is 100km/h during summer and 80km/h during winter months.

    Roads are quite good and cars are becoming more and more better from year to year. The big but is that the officials want to change them and to which direction, er, dawn of course.

    I have driven since 1972 since 1200000 kilometers / 745645 miles. Last traffic penalties I got in 1987. Now one might think that I am some kind of โ€œmodel pupilโ€ in traffic. Yes, if we think that I am not driving at no exceed speed, yes, but inside me, my soul is suffering. Thatโ€™s true. I should want to drive faster in my country, but it is not possible.

    What is the solution to me problem? Yes, there is indeed one. The only solution is to go to German by our car every two years and to drive there fast. Ric said that speed limits on German autobahnen โ€œvary from 100 to 130 km/hโ€. that is true, but not the total true. These limitations are โ€œnearbyโ€ cities and towns, but between big cities, there are no speed limits. And that is just what I love! I enjoy so much when speeding up to 250km/h my car. The feeling is incredible!!!

    When doing this way every two year, I can tolerate those speed limits in Finland by โ€œgritting my teethโ€. I have no photos when I am driving at the speed of 250km/h, but at the speed of 242/h. Youโ€™ll find that in my About page:

    http://sartenada.wordpress.com/about/

    Thank You for this nice post.

    • Hey Sartenada,

      Thanks so much for stopping by!

      Wow, I’m so jealous!! I wish I could just pop over to Germany and hit 250km/hr every few years to quench my speed thirst. That’s amazing! I think that’s why we have so many speeders here in Montreal. There are a lot of nice vehicles on the road, high-end vehicles, that have the ability to hit 250-300 km/hr and yet they’ll never get that chance (unless they take their cars to a track somewhere) on a daily basis.

      I’m glad to hear you get the opportunity to let your speed demon loose every now and then. ๐Ÿ™‚ That makes me happy!

      By the way, what car do you drive every day? And I’ll definitely be checking out your blog.

      Drive on,
      – M.

  32. To quote a movie… “They’re more like guidelines anyway.”

    • Hey Enderawiggin,

      Thanks so much for the read!

      My point exactly. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Drive on,
      – M.

      • You’re quite welcome. I enjoyed it. I’m quite new the blogging world, but I’ll be sure to stop by again. If you’re a fan of poetry writing, give me a read some time. I always enjoy criticism from writers ๐Ÿ™‚
        E.W.

  33. Hmm…
    If you think 25km/h is a problem, try 7. That’s the limit on play streets in Germany, and I’m in favour of it.
    I guess I see this differently as I drive but rarely, and I spend a lot of time traveling on foot or cycling. I don’t have the advantages of side impact bars or airbags which reinforce the feeling of safety which allows drivers to drive fast, and I’m always aware that although cars are ‘safer’ for drivers, they kill more pedestrians than in the 70’s.
    One reason for limits here, apart from the fact that you’re less likely to kill someone at 30km/h than even 40, is noise factor when you are near a town, and also wear and tear on the road. Also, raising a speed limit encourages drivers to use a back road as a short cut because they think it’s quicker than the clogged up main road alongside, which makes the road more dangerous for everyone else. We keep trying to get the limit on our main road reduced from 50 to 40 or thirty for this reason.
    And that’s a major factor: if you raise speed limits on a road it’s lovely for drivers, but a nightmare for anyone else. It makes it harder to cycle, cross the street or walk. This encourages people to drive because they feel safer in a car, which increases congestion because of people driving a kilometer to the shops. Another reason we want to reduce limits.
    I understand the 100km/h limits outside of towns on normal roads, but again, it makes it impossible for a family to cycle on a rural road, thus driving more car use (and thus congestion)
    BTW, most Autobahns have limits, but that doesn’t stop people in fast cars from ignoring them.
    That said, from the point of view of one outside of the car, German drivers aren’t angels, but they are usually reasonably sensibly around bikes and rarely aggressive, although that may be because I ride defensively so they can’t overtake on dangerous gaps.

    • Hey Andy in Germany,

      Thanks so much for the read!

      I definitely agree with lower limits in rural areas. Children and pedestrians need to be protected. I saw a young boy get run over by a large truck just across the street from my house a few months ago. It was not a pleasant sight and could have been avoided had the truck been travelling slower and had the boy made an effort to look both ways before popping out of a hidden walkway onto the road.

      All that to say that lower speed limits in neighbourhoods is fantastic, but sometimes so low they are ridiculous to follow (such as the 20-25 km/hr). I am more aware when I’m in a school zone, for sure, and will drop my speed considerably, but it’s very difficult to drop to said speed in a large car.

      I hope the bikers in Europe are better than the bikers here in Montreal. I ave great issues with the bikers in our city. We do not get along I’m afraid to say!

      Drive on,
      – M.

  34. OH my god, 14 and 1/2, bicycle zone maybe.
    country ?

    • Hey Parker,

      Thanks so much for stopping by!

      Hehehe I found this photo on Flickr and thought it was hilarious. I believe it is on a country road somewhere in the USA. I’m not sure where though. It might be on private property as well and something of a joke. I thought it was appropriate though.

      Drive on,
      – M.

  35. Interesting blog. Would like to read more of your blogs in future?

  36. oh my God is it real :O

    really funny click ๐Ÿ˜› ๐Ÿ˜€

  37. I’ll tell you, I like in the United Arab Emirates, and speed limits are definitely viewed as “suggestions” over here. On the highway between Abu Dhabi and Dubai, most of the road is posted at 120 kph, but most people drive it around 160 kph, and even they get passed as though at a standstill by the hotshots in their Lamborghinis and Ferraris. This is not an endorsement of speeding, either–UAE has one of (or perhaps THE) highest traffic fatality rates in the world, and most of those are directly attributable to unsafe driving at unsafe speeds. But I’m with you on the common sense approach: arbitrarily set speed limits make little sense and do little good. Why not go back to the old method of measuring acceptable speed limits that your first commenter mentioned?

  38. I always say… speed tickets are another way of gaining government incomes ๐Ÿ˜‰

  39. Hello. Great job. I did not expect this on a Wednesday. This is a great story. Thanks!

  40. Hey very nice blog!! Man .. Beautiful .. Amazing .. I will bookmark your blog and take the feeds
    also…

  41. this submit is amazeballs

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