You Must Obey

| February 16, 2012 | 1 Comment

It’s understood (not legal, just understood) that driving about eight mph over the speed limit on an interstate is okay. This understanding is actually built into the speed limit (expected, not permitted). If it was unsafe to travel at the understood speed, the speed limit would be lower.

Now you must realize, this understood limit is only on interstates, with high (over 65 mph) posted limits. This means that as the speed limit drops, so does the speeding cushion. In other words, don’t attempt to travel 48 mph through a 40 mph area. This is dangerous, and therefore stupid. And although stupid usually takes care of itself sooner or later, sometimes stupid also takes out others.

Basically human nature seems to like to speed (at least in the early years, age seems to cure this, like many other issues), and if it weren’t for rules and enforcement of those rules, many of us would drive as fast as we could, everywhere we went. But again, speeding is dangerous. Especially when the speed is excessive for the conditions.

But even when the conditions are perfect (automobile is running perfectly, roadway is clear, you’re in good health and aware, and the weather is pristine) other outside forces can negatively affect them at any given moment. It’s actually the possibility of these other forces affecting your drive which lowers the speed limits within cities, on rural streets, in subdivision, and construction and school zones.

Lower speed limits are usually set because visibility is diminished. Either the road twists and turns (which also requires a slowdown just to stay on the road), or there are objects that are blocking your view of all the hazards at hand (wild and domesticated animals, people young or grown, and other traffic). These hazards themselves may also block your view, or become obstacles in your path requiring further slowing or stopping.

So if the posted speed limit is slower, the understood speed overage should also be slower. Since this site is about rules, here’s the one I’m establishing today. I am basing this rule on the 12% increase defined when diving 78 mph in a posted 70 mph zone.

The Rule: The maximum safe driving speed, under normal driving conditions, is the posted speed limit increased by 12%.

Here’s a quick reference chart. Learn it. Obey it.

Posted Safe (don’t do this) Percent increase if you just add 8 mph 
70 78 12%
65 73 12%
60 67 13%
55 62 15%
45 50 18%
40 45 20%
35 40 23%
30 34 27%
25 28 32%
20 22 40%

Now that you have a rule and a chart, you have no more excuses for driving too fast. I am leaving you with this last “suggestion”… In school zones, subdivisions, and other areas where the posted speed limit is below 30 mph, drive the posted speed or slower, and pay very close attention to what’s going on around you.

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Category: Rules of the Road

Phil Jackson

About the Author ()

Philip "Phil" Jackson has determined that the biggest problem in the world is stupidity. "Most people don't seem to have basic Common Sense, but if they have a list of rules to follow, I have found that they will do so willingly." So after years of experience living he has decided to help out the ignorant by compiling the missing life rules into an easy to read and understandable format.

Comments (1)

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  1. Gina Bayer says:

    I have never seen so many incompetent drivers until I moved to SC.( They say we Californians can’t drive hahaha) I was driving down Highway 78 in Summerville, SC about a year ago and a big pickup truck pulls out around the corner and makes a right turn right in front of me. I had to hit my breaks and swerve into the left lane to avoid hitting him. Then when I pull up next to him HE GIVES ME THE MIDDLE FINGER. Go figure? I just laughed. Only in the south………….

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