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Let's decrease the speed limit to 55mph (and other bad ideas)

ege02ege02 __BANNED USERS regular
edited August 2008 in Debate and/or Discourse
Let's not derail the other thread anymore.

So the idea is to lower the speed limit to 55mph nationwide. The rationale is that cars pollute less since they consume their fuel more efficiently at that speed than at higher speeds. It would come with other boons too, such as:

*Discouraging people from living far away from where they work, further reducing oil consumption
*Saving money by paying less at the pump, and visiting the pump less often
*Reducing urban sprawl in the long run
*Reducing rate of accidents
*Providing an incentive for individuals to use public transportation, and for governments to invest in it

Of course, like any pro-environment measure, the proponents were too rabidly short-sighted to recognize the negatives associated with this.

First of all, it would incur massive social costs across the entire medium- and long-distance commuter population. Thanatos provided a link in the other thread saying the average commute time in the US is a mere 24 minutes, but this is misleading due to the fact that not every commuter uses the highway and thus will be affected by this decrease in maximum speed (but they will still be negatively impacted, as I explain below). Furthermore, it conveniently ignores the fact that people don't use highways only when going to and from work. In any case, most people would not sacrifice 30 minutes of their time just so that they can save 50 bucks a month or whatever at the pump. Time is a much more valuable commodity than a small amount of money.

Secondly, it would remove a good amount of the incentive for using highways, which is to drive fast. This would increase traffic at surface roads, causing massive traffic congestions. This would in turn require increasing the capacity of these surface roads, which is very costly and disruptive.

Thirdly, while it seems like discouraging people from living far from their workplace sounds like a neat idea, it would be devastating for urban areas.

- It would increase rent in urban areas while decreasing rent in rural areas. As a result, well-paying jobs that are typically located in urban areas would be less accessible to people who can't afford rent, increasing the income gap.
- It would hurt businesses, who now not only have access to a smaller pool of job applicants, but also have a less happy and less productive workforce because the workers are spending more time on the road and less time on leisure.
- It would increase population density in urban areas, causing a huge strain on service industries, especially gov't services.

Fourthly, you can expect the price of goods that are transported by trucks to increase, as trucks are now taking longer to travel (which also decreases their range in the case of perishable goods, such as food).

Finally, I don't think it would be much of an incentive to invest in public transportation. This is a popular topic in public policy economics: the only way people will use public transportation is if the costs of using it (additional time lost due to frequent stops and crawling speed, inconvenience and discomfort, lack of privacy due to sharing the vehicle with 30 strangers) are less than the costs of driving (car expenses). It will take much more than a speed limit decrease to convince people that public transport is preferable, and to convince governments and private companies to invest in public transport.

Finally finally, Thanatos sucks.
Thanatos wrote: »
Scooter wrote: »
Thanatos wrote: »
No, I'm assuming that you'll put up with the extra time in order to, y'know, reduce our gasoline consumption and pollution by a very substantial amount, or you'll move closer to the city in order to reduce your travel time.

It's great how everyone bitches about gas prices, our reliance on foreign oil, greenhouse gases, but doesn't actually want to do anything which might slightly inconvenience them in order to fix any of it.
Gas would have to be about $20 a gallon for it to be more cost effective for me to move. I don't know about the country as a whole, but I'd rather personally pay more for gas if it meant that I personally would have more time.
Yes, and I'd personally rather not pay taxes if it meant that I personally would have more money. This is what we call a "collective action problem." This isn't about cost effectiveness; it's one of those cases where what's good for society as a whole isn't good for a given individual in that society. This is why we have a government, and laws.

Except for the part where it is good for neither the individual nor the society. Every benefit you mentioned is effectively neutralized or outweighed by numerous detriments.

The bottom line is that this is a stupid idea. There are other programs that would be far more effective and would not require people to make such huge sacrifices. Let's support those instead.

ege02 on
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    FeralFeral MEMETICHARIZARD interior crocodile alligator ⇔ ǝɹʇɐǝɥʇ ǝᴉʌoɯ ʇǝloɹʌǝɥɔ ɐ ǝʌᴉɹp ᴉRegistered User regular
    edited July 2008
    If suburban sprawl, oil usage, and pollution are the problems, then the solutions are better city planning, better transit planning, smart rent control, and smarter property tax laws.

    But those answers are hard and this one is easy.

    Feral on
    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.

    the "no true scotch man" fallacy.
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    LondonBridgeLondonBridge __BANNED USERS regular
    edited July 2008
    I have a better idea, I propose that certain drivers can only go a certain speed limit.

    Young/Inexperienced/Risky/Very Old/SUV drivers can drive no faster than 50mph and must stay in the right lane.

    Safe/low MPG drivers should be able to go to 65mph and must stay in the left lane.

    LondonBridge on
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    NeadenNeaden Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    I have a better idea, I propose that certain drivers can only go a certain speed limit.

    Young/Inexperienced/Risky/Very Old/SUV drivers can drive no faster than 50mph and must stay in the right lane.

    Safe/low MPG drivers should be able to go to 65mph and must stay in the left lane.
    This is the worst idea I have heard all day.

    Neaden on
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    AbsoluteZeroAbsoluteZero The new film by Quentin Koopantino Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    This would affect me very little as most roads where I am are 55 anyways... assuming this proposal doesn't include the interstate. Now that would be stupid.

    AbsoluteZero on
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    Psycho Internet HawkPsycho Internet Hawk Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    How on earth would a 55mph speed limit result in 30 minutes added to a 24 minute commute? The limit's already 65-70 most places in the US.

    It may not be the best solution, but it's not exactly a huge change either.

    Psycho Internet Hawk on
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    duallainduallain Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    As always, Feral is right.

    At best changing the interstate speed limit treats a symptom rather than a cause. Changing the speed limit is likely a bad idea, but I don't think its effect is as large as you're painting it to be Ege.

    And nothing in Thantos original quote points to him supporting the speed limit decrease, his statement, "It's great how everyone bitches about gas prices, our reliance on foreign oil, greenhouse gases, but doesn't actually want to do anything which might slightly inconvenience them in order to fix any of it." is very true.

    duallain on
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    AbsoluteZeroAbsoluteZero The new film by Quentin Koopantino Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Aren't there statistically less accidents on the Autobahn than on American highways? Or is my brain making that up?

    AbsoluteZero on
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    YarYar Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Sure, lives will be saved, but millions will be late!

    Yar on
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    mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Feral wrote: »
    If suburban sprawl, oil usage, and pollution are the problems, then the solutions are better city planning, better transit planning, smart rent control, and smarter property tax laws.

    But those answers are hard and this one is easy.

    This.

    Also, it fails (as usual) to take into account differences between states. A 55mph speed limit in Pennsylvania or Massachusetts is a lot different than a 55mph speed limit in Utah or Montana.

    I remember a time when I thought 120 miles was a longass way to drive. I now drive 100+ miles pretty routinely (the two nearest towns of consequence to mine are 90 and 120 miles away, respectively). It's not always possible to avoid such drives, even if you live locally to where you work (for instance, those that have to travel long distances to VA medical centers, and for military drills...two things I have experience with up here).

    At that point decreasing the speed limit may well increase accidents, as it can increase fatigue.

    There's a reason that not so long ago we had no set speed limit on highways up here.

    mcdermott on
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    The Green Eyed MonsterThe Green Eyed Monster i blame hip hop Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Aren't there statistically less accidents on the Autobahn than on American highways? Or is my brain making that up?
    Whether or not you're making it up about the German Autobahn, reducing/increasing the speed limit in America has, to my knowledge, always resulted in more accidents when set at higher speeds.

    The Green Eyed Monster on
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    AgentBryantAgentBryant CTRegistered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Neaden wrote: »
    I have a better idea, I propose that certain drivers can only go a certain speed limit.

    Young/Inexperienced/Risky/Very Old/SUV drivers can drive no faster than 50mph and must stay in the right lane.

    Safe/low MPG drivers should be able to go to 65mph and must stay in the left lane.
    This is the worst idea I have heard all day.

    Eh, I like it. As I absolutely hate risky/young/inexperienced/suv drivers. Very often people are many or all of those.

    Seriously though, I'm all for a lower enforced speed limit. Most cars have an optimal speed in the neighborhood of 55mph, after which the fuel economy decreases dramatically. Add 10mph and you lose about 10%. 10mph and you lose about another 10%, after which the decrease is much more than a linear relation. With a speed limit of 65mph, you're already above the optimal speed for most vehicles. Then we have to take into account that most people don't observe the speed limit and drive in excess of 5-10mph.

    I don't see how it would create a significantly less demand for highways. Yeah, you'd have to drive a little bit slower, but you can still do so without red lights and pedestrians. (Isn't driving without interruption the point of highways, not driving as fast as you feel like so you can save your precious 2 minutes?)

    The fourth point really doesn't make much sense. It would be beneficial that most land routes for shipping drive at optimal speeds to cut the costs of gas. I understand "time is money", but how many big rigs do you see going 90mph to save time? Probably not very many.

    AgentBryant on
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    DashuiDashui Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Nearly everyone I come across on the road speeds, anyways, so I doubt lowering the national limit would do a damn thing. Bastards flipping me off for going the speed limit. I should be flipping them off! Especially when they don't use turn signals! I hate that... :x

    Dashui on
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    LondonBridgeLondonBridge __BANNED USERS regular
    edited July 2008
    Neaden wrote: »
    I have a better idea, I propose that certain drivers can only go a certain speed limit.

    Young/Inexperienced/Risky/Very Old/SUV drivers can drive no faster than 50mph and must stay in the right lane.

    Safe/low MPG drivers should be able to go to 65mph and must stay in the left lane.
    This is the worst idea I have heard all day.

    Eh, I like it. As I absolutely hate risky/young/inexperienced/suv drivers. Very often people are many or all of those.

    Seriously though, I'm all for a lower enforced speed limit. Most cars have an optimal speed in the neighborhood of 55mph, after which the fuel economy decreases dramatically. Add 10mph and you lose about 10%. 10mph and you lose about another 10%, after which the decrease is much more than a linear relation. With a speed limit of 65mph, you're already above the optimal speed for most vehicles. Then we have to take into account that most people don't observe the speed limit and drive in excess of 5-10mph.

    Thanks. I think high speeds should be a privilege and should be rewarded, like lower car insurance rates, to those that are safe drivers that don't use up a lot of gas. It'd be a great way to change people's driving habits. Best way to track drivers is by their license plate via color coding.

    LondonBridge on
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    AgentBryantAgentBryant CTRegistered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Yeah. Why not reward the idiots who speed.

    I'm all for stricter punishment of reckless driving if necessary. Trying to put the blame on people who follow the law? pfft.

    AgentBryant on
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    AzioAzio Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Honestly, anything that makes driving less attractive to people is a good thing in my book.

    Azio on
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    mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Azio wrote: »
    Honestly, anything that makes driving less attractive to people is a good thing in my book.

    Personally I'd prefer measures to make not driving more attractive. It's definitely a lot more than a grammatical difference.


    Back on speed limits, up here people seem to be auto-correcting anyway...particularly on multi-lane highways. I was driving from town out to the house (approximately 6 miles up the interstate) and I had a line of maybe 15 cars behind me who seemed more than happy to go 60mph then entire way...despite the passing lane being wide open. Only two cars passed us the entire time.

    Maybe you big city folk just need to fix your shit at the local (or rather state) level rather than the national level.

    mcdermott on
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    PicardathonPicardathon Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Yeah, this seems like a good idea, unfortunately it doesn't work.
    http://www.ibiblio.org/rdu/sl-irrel.html
    "Lowering speed limits by 5, 10, 15, or 20 mi/h (8, 16, 24, or 26 km/h) at the study sites had a minor effect on vehicle speeds. Posting lower speed limits does not decrease motorist's speeds."
    It doesn't matter that lowering the speed limit is going to create minor beneficial effect X, Y and Z, in the end people are going to ignore it unless it is enforced to the point where it causes more harm than good.

    Picardathon on
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    gtrmpgtrmp Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    From the other thread:
    Daedalus wrote: »
    More importantly, what's stopping any individual person from just deciding to go 55 on their own to save gas?

    If they did that, they'd get tailgated and road-raged by everyone behind them who's going at least ten miles over the speed limit.

    gtrmp on
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    AgentBryantAgentBryant CTRegistered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Gruel wrote: »
    I'm all for stricter punishment of reckless driving if necessary. Trying to put the blame on people who follow the law? pfft.

    And really if you think you have to be speeding to be a reckless driver you are naive. Some of the most dangerous people on the road are slow as fuck or driving trashed beater cars.

    I hit triple digit speeds daily on my commute and I am safer than a lot of other people on the roads.

    Because rather than take responsibility for anything that goes wrong from yourself driving fast, you blame the people who are driving slower.

    As far as safety goes: when you're speeding, you have less time to react and need more of a distance to brake. At the same time, driving way under the speed limit is also bad. I'm not advocating simply driving slower (to ridiculously slow), I'm advocating a lower limit. Driving in the triple digits, though? That's just retarded, and you're delusional if you somehow think you're driving safely.

    AgentBryant on
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    RUNN1NGMANRUNN1NGMAN Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Washington DC has some of the worst traffic in the country during rush hours, and the speed limit on most of the beltway and other commuter roads is 55 MPH or lower.

    RUNN1NGMAN on
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    RUNN1NGMANRUNN1NGMAN Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Gruel wrote: »
    I'm all for stricter punishment of reckless driving if necessary. Trying to put the blame on people who follow the law? pfft.

    And really if you think you have to be speeding to be a reckless driver you are naive. Some of the most dangerous people on the road are slow as fuck or driving trashed beater cars.

    I hit triple digit speeds daily on my commute and I am safer than a lot of other people on the roads.

    Even entertaining your egotism about your driving skills, the problem remains that the number of things you have no way of controlling on the highway (road debris, unexpected behavior of other drivers, etc) becomes much more dangerous to you when you are traveling that fast. And at that speed, if you do get into an accident, you're most likely taking a few people with you.

    RUNN1NGMAN on
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    mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    gtrmp wrote: »
    From the other thread:
    Daedalus wrote: »
    More importantly, what's stopping any individual person from just deciding to go 55 on their own to save gas?

    If they did that, they'd get tailgated and road-raged by everyone behind them who's going at least ten miles over the speed limit.

    This. The only time this is remotely feasible is on multi-lane highways outside metro areas, which don't account for a majority of driving (or at least I don't think they do). Even then, it can seem mildly dangerous, as at this point you'll likely be going slower than commercial traffic and thus enjoy getting passed constantly by 18-wheelers...which always feels a little unsafe, though I suppose it might not be.

    On freeways (in a metro area) it's not feasible because the only lane it's remotely appropriate to do so in is the farthest right, and even that lane constantly has traffic merging in and out of it.

    Basically, driving significantly less than the posted speed limit will more often than not make you a bit of a dick, and by making more people (even those merely going the speed limit) pass you (and thus presumably causing more lane changes) you're probably making everybody less safe.
    I'm not advocating simply driving slower (to ridiculously slow), I'm advocating a lower limit.

    I have no problem with a lower limit. I have a problem with a national lower limit. There's no reason the entire road from Bozeman to Missoula needs to be 55mph, and doing so will likely make everybody less safe. Which is not worth it to save gas, especially considering that the traffic on that road doesn't account for a significant amount of US oil consumption (or pollution) anyway.

    As for metro areas, most I've driven in already have 55mph speed limits. Howsabout we talk about actually enforcing those before you decide that the road from East Bumfuck to West Bumfuck, neither of which you have likely ever visited, needs to be slower?
    Washington DC has some of the worst traffic in the country during rush hours, and the speed limit on most of the beltway and other commuter roads is 55 MPH or lower.

    I'm actually wondering what percentage of non-commercial traffic flows on roads with limits off 55mph to begin with. Like I said, I seem to remember the limit on every freeway (which is to say, highway with a metro area) I've been on was at 55. And I've been to (and driven in) quite a few cities.

    As for commercial traffic, there's little reason you can't impose a lower limit on them anyway. I know here commercial trucks are limited to 65mph while regular cars can go 75mph.

    mcdermott on
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    LondonBridgeLondonBridge __BANNED USERS regular
    edited July 2008
    RUNN1NGMAN wrote: »
    Washington DC has some of the worst traffic in the country during rush hours, and the speed limit on most of the beltway and other commuter roads is 55 MPH or lower.

    A lot of major US cities have shitty traffic. Thankfully my commute is west of DC and soon will be just 5 minutes from my house 8-) Problem is a lot of fuckers in this city love to text & drive.

    LondonBridge on
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    JMC123JMC123 Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Gruel wrote: »
    I'm all for stricter punishment of reckless driving if necessary. Trying to put the blame on people who follow the law? pfft.

    And really if you think you have to be speeding to be a reckless driver you are naive. Some of the most dangerous people on the road are slow as fuck or driving trashed beater cars.

    I hit triple digit speeds daily on my commute and I am safer than a lot of other people on the roads.

    Let me guess, you also ride up on peoples' tails and hastily swerve in and out of lanes?

    No, that doesn't make you a reckless driver, that just makes you a douchebag.

    Nothing sucks more than getting in the left lane to pass someone traveling about 5 mph slower than you, only to have some pompous dick ride up on your ass like you are such an inconvience to them.

    Sometimes I want to put reinforced steel bars on my bumper and just slam the brakes on tailgaters.

    JMC123 on
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    SpeakeasySpeakeasy Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    JMC123 wrote: »
    Sometimes I want to put reinforced steel bars on my bumper and just slam the brakes on tailgaters.

    I wish this every day. Fuck the 100+ MPH speeders. Crash and die soon please.

    Speakeasy on
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    DalbozDalboz Resident Puppy Eater Right behind you...Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    So they want to impose a national speed limit again? The national US speed limit was rescinded about 12-14 years ago (can't remember exactly, but that's about right), and it was set at 55 MPH. They removed the national speed limit and several highways boosted the speed limits up to 65 MPH, under more local (usually state) jurisdiction. This is just going backwards.

    The answer is to get a bunch of people off the road. Quite frankly, there are too many people out there who have their driver's licenses that should, as they are completely irresponsible or incapable of driving safely and effectively. I say get these people off the road to start, then see where we're at. This would hopefully put more of a demand of developing public transportation, because now it's actually needed rather than an option, and politicians will start push transportation project through more quickly to keep their constituents happy.

    Dalboz on
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    AroducAroduc regular
    edited July 2008
    Gruel wrote: »
    RUNN1NGMAN wrote: »
    Gruel wrote: »
    I'm all for stricter punishment of reckless driving if necessary. Trying to put the blame on people who follow the law? pfft.

    And really if you think you have to be speeding to be a reckless driver you are naive. Some of the most dangerous people on the road are slow as fuck or driving trashed beater cars.

    I hit triple digit speeds daily on my commute and I am safer than a lot of other people on the roads.

    Even entertaining your egotism about your driving skills, the problem remains that the number of things you have no way of controlling on the highway (road debris, unexpected behavior of other drivers, etc) becomes much more dangerous to you when you are traveling that fast. And at that speed, if you do get into an accident, you're most likely taking a few people with you.

    The most dangerous factor when driving at 100+ mph is other people on the road.

    I'm pretty sure the most dangerous thing on the road when you're going 100+ mph is you.

    Aroduc on
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    ege02ege02 __BANNED USERS regular
    edited July 2008
    Decreasing the speed limit with the hopes that it'll be an incentive to improve public transportation is like cutting someone's legs off with the hopes that they'll learn to use their arms to move around.

    ege02 on
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    AroducAroduc regular
    edited July 2008
    ege02 wrote: »
    Decreasing the speed limit with the hopes that it'll be an incentive to improve public transportation is like cutting someone's legs off with the hopes that they'll learn to use their arms to move around.

    No, it's really not.

    Aroduc on
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    JMC123JMC123 Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    The obvious answer is mass public teleportation gateways.

    JMC123 on
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    TubeTube Registered User admin
    edited July 2008
    Speakeasy wrote: »
    JMC123 wrote: »
    Sometimes I want to put reinforced steel bars on my bumper and just slam the brakes on tailgaters.

    I wish this every day. Fuck the 100+ MPH speeders. Crash and die soon please.

    If someone is on your tail and you're going at a sensible speed, put your hazard lights on. Continue to block them. They'll get it.

    Or you could do what a friend of mine does and angle your windscreen washer so that it goes over your roof and into the windscreen of anyone passing too close. Bonus points for convertibles.

    Tube on
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    Wonder_HippieWonder_Hippie __BANNED USERS regular
    edited July 2008
    Speakeasy wrote: »
    JMC123 wrote: »
    Sometimes I want to put reinforced steel bars on my bumper and just slam the brakes on tailgaters.

    I wish this every day. Fuck the 100+ MPH speeders. Crash and die soon please.

    If someone is on your tail and you're going at a sensible speed, put your hazard lights on. Continue to block them. They'll get it.

    Or you could do what a friend of mine does and angle your windscreen washer so that it goes over your roof and into the windscreen of anyone passing too close. Bonus points for convertibles.

    This is so awesome. I know what I'm doing tomorrow.

    Wonder_Hippie on
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    electricitylikesmeelectricitylikesme Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Aroduc wrote: »
    ege02 wrote: »
    Decreasing the speed limit with the hopes that it'll be an incentive to improve public transportation is like cutting someone's legs off with the hopes that they'll learn to use their arms to move around.

    No, it's really not.
    It pretty much is. I mean, couldn't you even label this as a retarded safety campaign? The world's environmental problems are in no way linked to the average speed of someones vehicle but they are most certainly linked to the sheer vast and poorly designed numbers of vehicles out there.

    This is a project in doing fuck all - design better public transportation.

    electricitylikesme on
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    TubeTube Registered User admin
    edited July 2008
    Speakeasy wrote: »
    JMC123 wrote: »
    Sometimes I want to put reinforced steel bars on my bumper and just slam the brakes on tailgaters.

    I wish this every day. Fuck the 100+ MPH speeders. Crash and die soon please.

    If someone is on your tail and you're going at a sensible speed, put your hazard lights on. Continue to block them. They'll get it.

    Or you could do what a friend of mine does and angle your windscreen washer so that it goes over your roof and into the windscreen of anyone passing too close. Bonus points for convertibles.

    This is so awesome. I know what I'm doing tomorrow.

    I do the hazard lights thing on an almost daily basis to tailgating motorcyclists and it never fails to drive them insane. Tailgating in a car is stupid enough, but a motorcycle?

    Tube on
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    Wonder_HippieWonder_Hippie __BANNED USERS regular
    edited July 2008
    Speakeasy wrote: »
    JMC123 wrote: »
    Sometimes I want to put reinforced steel bars on my bumper and just slam the brakes on tailgaters.

    I wish this every day. Fuck the 100+ MPH speeders. Crash and die soon please.

    If someone is on your tail and you're going at a sensible speed, put your hazard lights on. Continue to block them. They'll get it.

    Or you could do what a friend of mine does and angle your windscreen washer so that it goes over your roof and into the windscreen of anyone passing too close. Bonus points for convertibles.

    This is so awesome. I know what I'm doing tomorrow.

    I do the hazard lights thing on an almost daily basis to tailgating motorcyclists and it never fails to drive them insane. Tailgating in a car is stupid enough, but a motorcycle?

    Ricers? I ride, but I don't have the balls to act like that. Then again, I always get that twinge of schadenfreude when one of the ricers wipes out on our mountain roads.

    Wonder_Hippie on
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    ege02ege02 __BANNED USERS regular
    edited July 2008
    Aroduc wrote: »
    ege02 wrote: »
    Decreasing the speed limit with the hopes that it'll be an incentive to improve public transportation is like cutting someone's legs off with the hopes that they'll learn to use their arms to move around.

    No, it's really not.
    It pretty much is. I mean, couldn't you even label this as a retarded safety campaign? The world's environmental problems are in no way linked to the average speed of someones vehicle but they are most certainly linked to the sheer vast and poorly designed numbers of vehicles out there.

    This is a project in doing fuck all - design better public transportation.

    Thank you.

    ege02 on
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    ProPatriaMoriProPatriaMori Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    You guys advocating blocking and such...you're not doing this in the passing lane, are you? That just seems like a bad idea...pass, at whatever speed (I really wish you would go 10 faster than the slower traffic so the passing lane doesn't get choked up), and let the fast guy go. Frustrating him isn't going to improve his driving. Your contribution to his overall mental state might not be large, but it might be enough to cause bad things to happen further down the line.

    We're all on the road together. Let's try to help each other get where we're going, even if that means speeding a little bit to open up a space for someone to merge or pass a little faster to let somebody late make their meeting on time. I know you might be indulging a tailgating dick in the process, but hell, at least he isn't near you anymore.

    That said, I personally think speed limits should be raised to what the traffic engineers actually designed the roads for. I've never understood why, when approaching Houston, the lanes widening and multiplying in number justifies a reduction in speed limit.

    ProPatriaMori on
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    MatrijsMatrijs Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Hypothetical question: does the posted speed limit actually reflect the enforced speed or average speed on a particular highway? I would argue that this seemingly intuitive idea is in fact often wrong. Consider my driving experience in just three places: Southern California, Northern California, and the Seattle area.

    In Southern California, the average speed in the left lane (excluding the carpool lane) of any of the major freeways is typically about 75-80 mph. The posted speed limit on pretty much every freeway in the area is 65 mph. Being pulled over for speeding on a freeway is exceedingly rare and police will generally be passing people who do 80 rather than pulling them over.

    On I-5, in the middle of the state between Southern California and Northern California, the average car speed is probably in excess of 80 mph, where the posted limit is 70. Again, you're probably more likely to be passed by a police officer while doing as much as 90 mph than to get a ticket at those speeds.

    In Northern California, the average speed in the left lane is closer to 65 or 70 mph. The posted limit is 65, just the same as in Southern California.

    In Seattle, the average speed in the left lane can be as low as 60 mph. The posted limit is 60, most places I drive.

    It's hard to say exactly what causes the difference in driving behavior between Northern and Southern California. I haven't personally observed any higher rates of enforcement in Northern California. I have, on the other hand, noticed that the freeways in Northern California are generally in much worse shape than those in Southern California. It may be that people simply will drive as fast as they feel is safe, regardless of what the posted limit is, and police, recognizing this fact, will only pull over people who drive well in excess of the actual average speed, as opposed to the posted limit. This whole argument may be a farce - reducing the posted speed limit may have only a very marginal effect on both behavior and enforcement.

    Matrijs on
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    mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Matrijs wrote: »
    It's hard to say exactly what causes the difference in driving behavior between Northern and Southern California. I haven't personally observed any higher rates of enforcement in Northern California. I have, on the other hand, noticed that the freeways in Northern California are generally in much worse shape than those in Southern California. It may be that people simply will drive as fast as they feel is safe, regardless of what the posted limit is, and police, recognizing this fact, will only pull over people who drive well in excess of the actual average speed, as opposed to the posted limit. This whole argument may be a farce - reducing the posted speed limit may have only a very marginal effect on both behavior and enforcement.

    As far as highways are concerned, this is pretty much the case.

    An increase in enforcement can have an effect however.
    We're all on the road together. Let's try to help each other get where we're going, even if that means speeding a little bit to open up a space for someone to merge or pass a little faster to let somebody late make their meeting on time. I know you might be indulging a tailgating dick in the process, but hell, at least he isn't near you anymore.

    Naw, fuck that guy. As long as what I'm doing isn't itself inherently unsafe (pacing the car in the slow lane to keep him from passing, as opposed to slamming the brakes) and I'm going the speed limit (or faster) he can eat a dick.

    Of course, I also will generally go ahead and call (or preferably, have he wife call if she's in the car) either local county dispatch or highway patrol and give them his plates, location, and direction and speed of travel while he's at it. There's nothing quite as satisfying as then finally letting the guy pass and seeing him getting a big fat ticket a ways up the road and knowing that you're likely the reason.

    Especially since, if you're seeing it, it means you're passing him. How's that speeding workin' out for ya, bud?

    mcdermott on
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    Andrew_JayAndrew_Jay Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    The world's environmental problems are in no way linked to the average speed of someones vehicle.
    I thought the point was that 55MPH represented peak fuel efficiency/economy (though I'm sure that varies widely by make of car) - and while going faster might mean running the engine for a shorter period of time, the extra intake of fuel (and increased emissions) cancels out that benefit.

    Andrew_Jay on
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