I wanted to write about this when it happened but I didn’t get a chance. Better late than never they say; besides I think this is an important issue. Here’s the set-up.
On New Year’s Day, I had to drive on the highway to another city. We had gotten quite the snowstorm in the night and early morning. Fortunately not too many people were on the road. The conditions were horrible. It was one of those days where the three-lane highway had only one set of tire tracks on it, in the middle lane. The snowplows had not yet been out to clean it up. Everyone was following the singular path and no one was driving in any of the other lanes.
It was still snowing. My wipers were working hard. The road was slippery and it was a bit hard to see. I used a lot of windshield washer fluid. I was traveling at a comfortable speed of 80 kilometres an hour. The speed limit is 100 but the regular flow of traffic on this highway is usually going 120 km an hour. It didn’t feel safe to go any faster, so I stayed at a constant 80 km/hr.
An SUV came up behind me and started to tailgate. I couldn’t believe that this person was riding me so hard during these conditions. I swore under my breath but kept my speed steady. After a minute of this, the SUV decided to try and pass me. They pulled into the fast lane. I watched them in the rear view mirror and laughed as they slowed to a crawl. They must’ve realized that they couldn’t travel in that lane either. They fell a few kilometers behind me.
They pushed petal to the metal and were riding my six again in a few minutes. I waited until I saw a merging lane just up ahead. I didn’t want to pull over into a snow filled lane to let them pass me. It didn’t feel safe. The merging lane was fairly clear of snow so I put on my indicator, slowed, and changed lanes so they could pass me. As soon as they did, I pulled back into the safe lane again. Fortunately, I had no other problems on the rest of my trip.
I think we need to educate drivers to drive according the road and weather conditions. It seems that people think they have a right to exceed the speed limit all the time. If the limit on the highway is 100 km an hour, people feel that they must do that speed at the very least. We need to realize that there are days and times when doing this speed is a stupid idea.
I think it is time to lose speed limits. Either that or have fluctuating speed limits. We could have electronic signs so that on a regular day the speed limit could be 120 km and on ill weather days, it could be 80 km and hour. I realize that this would be a huge investment but so would an education program for all drivers. Perhaps if we had something like this in effect, I wouldn’t have seen as many cars in the ditch that day, or the jack-knifed tractor-trailer. It’s just an idea, but I think we really need to lose the speed limits on highways. What do you think?
2 responses to “Let’s Lose the Speed Limits”
In Britain, we have signs on our motorways to adjust the speed limit according to conditions just as you suggest. It’s nice to know we’ve got something right for a change!
That roar you heard was me uttering a whoop of agreement from several thousand miles away!