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      05-12-2008, 01:26 AM   #23
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Man if I had to drive the posted speed limit everywhere I drove then my car would never get over 25 except on the freeway. The vast majority of roads in my town have a 25mph speed limit. And there is really no reason for it other then to make it easier to set speed traps! There are sections of road with two lanes, no curves and limited pedestrian traffic where the speed limit is still 25mph. And the cost of a ticket for going 1-10mph over, which is the minimum ticket they can give for speeding, is $100+. You can run a stop sign and the ticket is only $45! And running a stop sign is significantly more dangerous then going 1mph over the speed limit.

I know that speed limits are necessary to maintain public safety, but these days they seem to be abused in a lot of areas as a way to impose extra taxes on citizens in the forum of speeding tickets. And it's obvious this is the case in my town because, like clockwork, I see speed traps setup all over town on the 15th and 30th/31st of every month. Yet most other days you can fly by a cop at 40Mph and they wont even look in your direction. It's like they have a schedule for when they all get together to collect the speeding tax.

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      05-12-2008, 01:49 AM   #24
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Gotta' observe the posted limits, part of the 1-Series brotherhood, being a responsible citizen is not a bad thing, good for the soul. As it turns out, being responsible is much slower going within certain locals.
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      05-12-2008, 02:04 AM   #25
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I drive 40MPH pretty much everywhere and just keep my eyes pealed for cops. I have only been in one accident in my entire life and it was actually at a two way stop, so I was only going like 5Mph. And the only reason that happened is because I was so busy checking out the chick in the car at the stop across from me I didn't properly look both ways before crossing the intersection. (I was only 19)

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      05-12-2008, 03:43 AM   #26
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I drive 40MPH pretty much everywhere and just keep my eyes pealed for cops. I have only been in one accident in my entire life and it was actually at a two way stop, so I was only going like 5Mph. And the only reason that happened is because I was so busy checking out the chick in the car at the stop across from me I didn't properly look both ways before crossing the intersection. (I was only 19)

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Live and learn right? I in all honesty have had close to 10 close calls due to the illegal mexican population driving with 0 insurance and not a care in the world. Those 80's Mustang 5.0's and old F-150's are dangerous I tell you!!
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      05-12-2008, 05:09 AM   #27
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Yep. I always look both ways twice now when I'm at a 2 way stop.

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      05-12-2008, 05:45 AM   #28
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Here in Portugal, most accidents happen due to dangerous manouvers, not speeding. of course if you do a dangerous manouver while speeding then...
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      05-12-2008, 06:43 AM   #29
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This is generally how people crash and kill others. Driving "spirited" on "deserted" roads. A closed course is one thing, public roads are something else. You never know when a kid could be riding his bike down the side of the quiet, twisty road you are testing your car on.

The reason for speed limits is because a road might have blind corners or changing elevations, let alone hazards like wet leaves, puddles, gravel, etc. They aren't there just to ruin your fun.

This debate about speed limits is exactly why a LIGHT and lower powered car is more fun than a heavy, powerful and quicker one. Winding out a 128 is possible and you can remain under the speed limit. Winding out a 135 is harder since the car is so much faster. You run out of road.

If you really want to see what your car can do then go take a drivers course at a local track or at least an AutoX. If you have the money to afford a 40k BMW, you can afford a $30 autocross.
Wrong! 8,000 people die in the USA each year due to Drunk Drivers. I am not sure how many die due to people not paying attention like eating or on cell phones but I would think that alone is more than accidents due to spirited driving. Look at how many people complain about the cup holders in BMWs. Are we driving or are we going to do other things?
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      05-12-2008, 01:12 PM   #30
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I just looked up some statistics and they said that accidents on the German autobahn, with it's 130mph speed limit, account for less then 12% of the fatal accidents in Germany. That is lower then US interstate highway system which has an average speed limit of only 65mph. So obviously speed is not the main contributing factor to fatal car accidents. Now the laws of physics obviously dictate that the faster a car is moving the harder it is to stop and the more force it will have if it impacts something. However I think people driving at high speed are more alert and less likely to lose concentration while driving, which is really what causes most accidents in the first place. Unfortunately speeding tickets have turned into a revenue tool in this country, so regardless of the facts on speeding we will probably never see a super high speed road like the autobahn in this country.

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      05-12-2008, 02:02 PM   #31
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The reason for speed limits is because a road might have blind corners or changing elevations, let alone hazards like wet leaves, puddles, gravel, etc. They aren't there just to ruin your fun.
That's not exactly true.

The 55 mph highway speed limit is a throwback from the 70s oil crisis and was originally meant for fuel saving.

Any speed limit is a least common denominator - made so that any 1982 Oldsmobile with a rusted axle and sagging suspension on bald tires on a rainy day with my grandma driving can take the corner and live to bake some more cookies.

In many cases I feel safe driving over the posted limit - but of course, not all the time. There is no way I could safely drive the posted 25mph on my street, with cars parked on both sides, bad visibility and kids playing around. There is no way I could have driven the posted 55mph last night in the pouring rain on the highway, with standing water everywhere and rivulets crossing the lanes every 200 yards.

As long as you are able to correctly judge the circumstances, in a good car with good brakes, tires etc. and an alert driver, as long as you can always adjust your speed to specific traffic, weather, car and road conditions - the posted speed limit is meaningless.

IMO.
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      05-12-2008, 02:25 PM   #32
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^^^ Exactly!

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      05-12-2008, 02:36 PM   #33
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I lived in Europe for five years fifteen years ago. They are much much better drivers than in the USA. Driving in Europe is a privilege and in the USA it has became a rite. In Europe you never and I mean never see a car in the left lane unless they are passing someone. Also our drivers training is a joke compared to theirs. It is against the law to eat, drink or be on the phone while driving in Europe. Oh, and if you get a DUI you are not going to drive any more. A few years ago I remember some drunk hit and killed a lady in Boise, it was his sixth DUI.:iono:
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      05-12-2008, 02:38 PM   #34
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It is against the law to eat, drink or be on the phone while driving in Europe.
Sorry, that is incorrect.

(while I agree with you on everything else you said :smile.
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      05-12-2008, 03:05 PM   #35
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I think it should be against the law to talk on the phone and drive at the same time. Myth Busters did an experiment on the subject once and according to their findings talking on a cell phone while driving mas more detrimental to their ability to drive safely then being legally drunk. (i.e. .08) And these days people are starting to text while they drive, which is even worse! That requires you not only to divert your concentration but also your eyes. Disaster waiting to happen!

I know that laws are being passed in a lot of states that require the use of hands free devices to talk while driving. However I'm not sure that's enough. The Myths Busters test showed that it was the distraction of the conversation itself that caused the slowed reaction time, and not the act of holding the phone to your ear. But at least those laws are a step in the right direction.

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      05-12-2008, 03:33 PM   #36
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That's not exactly true.

The 55 mph highway speed limit is a throwback from the 70s oil crisis and was originally meant for fuel saving.

Any speed limit is a least common denominator - made so that any 1982 Oldsmobile with a rusted axle and sagging suspension on bald tires on a rainy day with my grandma driving can take the corner and live to bake some more cookies.

In many cases I feel safe driving over the posted limit - but of course, not all the time. There is no way I could safely drive the posted 25mph on my street, with cars parked on both sides, bad visibility and kids playing around. There is no way I could have driven the posted 55mph last night in the pouring rain on the highway, with standing water everywhere and rivulets crossing the lanes every 200 yards.

As long as you are able to correctly judge the circumstances, in a good car with good brakes, tires etc. and an alert driver, as long as you can always adjust your speed to specific traffic, weather, car and road conditions - the posted speed limit is meaningless.

IMO.
The 55 is indeed a throwback to the oil conservation days of the 70s. Luckily we know have 3.65/gallon to help us conserve.

The problem with your arguement about being a good driver with a good car, yadda yadda yadda is that you can't control everything on the road. If you are a good driver and you are out on some "semi" deserted roads and exceeding the speed limit by some moderate amount (40 in a 25) then you also are limiting your possible reaction time and lengthening your stopping distance.

If a drunk driver is swerving into your lane, a child crossing the street, a deer in the road, a car broken down; all of these are very real possibilities that you cannot control, regardless of you or your car's abilities. The amount of damage you do to your car and to pedestrians increases quite a bit from 25mph to 40mph. Those extra few feet or extra half second can mean the difference between narrowly avoiding an accident and vehicular manslaughter when you run over a 10 year old.

Sure, you may never experience these things or you might always drive safely and still get into an accident. But the extra time and distance you get by following the law can really mean the difference between life and death. To say the posted speed limit is meaningless is arrogant and dangerous. If you can speed then everyone can speed. And that is a very poor idea. A closed course is one thing, where everyone is going the same direction and there are no surprises. To do so on public roads is undeniably dangerous (though boring and occasionally frustrating in some locales)

PS This is actually why I feel modern cars are MORE dangerous than older ones. You are so isolated from the driving experience with sound deadening and over 3000lbs of car that you have to drive faster and faster to get any adrenelin pumping. Going 65mph in a 1990 miata on the highway is much more thrilling than going 100mph in a 135. The car is so effortless and fast that you can run out of skill or road before you know it.
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      05-12-2008, 03:53 PM   #37
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I disagree! As posted before speed limits are designed to apply to the lowest common denominator. The 135i has 6 piston anti-lock breaks so powerful that they can bring the 3,500lb body to a complete stop from 60mph in just 114 feet. Add that to the high tech suspension and traction control system and you have a car which is capable of avoiding accidents at 20mph over the speed limit just as well, if not better then, some cars going right at the posted limit.

Personally I think that as long as people are aware of the limits of their car, themselves, and the conditions of the road and whether it is very possible to safely drive over the speed limit.

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      05-12-2008, 04:25 PM   #38
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The problem with your arguement about being a good driver with a good car, yadda yadda yadda is that you can't control everything on the road. If you are a good driver and you are out on some "semi" deserted roads and exceeding the speed limit by some moderate amount (40 in a 25) then you also are limiting your possible reaction time and lengthening your stopping distance.

If a drunk driver is swerving into your lane, a child crossing the street, a deer in the road, a car broken down; all of these are very real possibilities that you cannot control, regardless of you or your car's abilities. The amount of damage you do to your car and to pedestrians increases quite a bit from 25mph to 40mph. Those extra few feet or extra half second can mean the difference between narrowly avoiding an accident and vehicular manslaughter when you run over a 10 year old.
But, you can't control anything no matter how fast you are going. Why drive 25, when you could drive 15 and be 50% safer (due to the halving of your stopping distances etc.). And there are many drivers out there who shouldn't be driving even at half the speed limit, yet they don't. It's all arbitrary.

My point is that when someone looked at the road they had a limited number of speeds to assign to it. Even if they had somehow magically determined the best speed for that road was 37, they can only put 35 or 40. But wait - how do you think these limits are determined? Do you think someone pours over topological maps and videos of the road, or drives it in both directions in a variety of weather and traffic conditions all the while performing instrumented adherence and avoidance tests?

It's an arbitrary limit anyway, put in - at best - by someone who had to account for the worst possible driver in the worst possible car. Most commonly, I'd wager the speed limits are a set as a blanket for that type of road: 25 for residential, 30 for connecting, 35 for main city thoroughfares etc. And these limits were originally determined as average speed/risk compromises - there is no "safe" speed.


Then why bring into the covnersation the possibility of running over a 10 year old? I've already admitted I cannot even drive the posted 25 limit in my neighborhood, so please read my post carefully - I mentioned being able to always realistically adjust your speed to the conditions of the road, weather etc. A good driver should do this anyway, regardless of the posted limit. Good driving should always mean anticipating trouble situations before they develop, slowing down where cars or other obstacles can obscure children at play, never exceeding a certain speed differential when passing someone, etc.

Not taking into account these major differences between drivers, cars and weather/traffic is like saying only one type of mediocre music should be allowed because that gives everyone an opportunity to play. It's obviously a hole in the way we manage/enforce traffic - admittedly it would be almost impossible to do it any other way at this time. But let's not kid ourselves, the hole is there.
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      05-12-2008, 05:04 PM   #39
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As I have been a design engineer for a couple of Texas traffic control centers and thereby have spent quality time in the traffic management environment, allow me to provide some insight. Speed limits are sometimes arbitrary but are usually a product of recommendations from engineers at your Dept of Transportation. They base it on turn radii to be encountered, elevation changes, road quality, road width, population density and type (commercial, suburb, rural) and hazards (deer, tractors, potholes, lack of banking, typical weather). Sometimes communities intervene to lower speed limits for public safety and even revenue raising. They are not generally technology adjusted but are weighted with historical actuals for similar roads in similar conditions. When accident rates drop significantly due the technology, that will modify the data and subsequent limits.

So all that being said. you're special why?

I don't follow the speed limit all the time and I'm OK with someone blowing by me at 100 on an open interstate as long as there's lots of room and they aren't using traffic for slalom pylons. I don't concur with driving fast enough to drift the corners on a public road. I suppose there are roads and drivers where this is alright but that would be an exception to the degree that the generlization of 'it's not OK' would have to apply.

Take it to the track.

-Spook

PS: American drivers suck. Even if you're the second coming of Earnhardt you can't make them drive better and they are a profound constraint on what is possible and ethical on public roads.
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      05-12-2008, 05:22 PM   #40
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I missed the OPs reference to drifting the corner. I agree that is excessive! However some have taken a hard stance that it's not OK to exceed the speed limit period, That I disagree with. As you said sometimes communities intervene and have the speed limit lowered for "revenue raising". That, to me, is ridiculous and is why I have no problem driving over the limit and just keeping my eyes peeled for cops.

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      05-12-2008, 06:19 PM   #41
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So all that being said. you're special why?
Well, I passed one of those "real" tests when I got my first license in Europe. :smile:

If you're asking me, because I'm always extremely attentive towards the road and my environment, I routinely check my rearview mirrors to have an updated "mental picture" of the cars around me, I always maintain my car's important systems at peak efficiency (tires, brakes, windshield visibility etc.), I always use my turn signals, always respect other's right of way, I actually know the rough limits of my car as explored on track, I try to anticipate maneuvers so as to never make abrupt course changes/corrections and generally try to adjust my speed to the realtime conditions. In doing all these most of the time, I feel like I am unlike 95% of the US drivers.

Whenever I'm too lazy to be so aware and plugged-in, or don't really know or see where the road is going, or have some sort of distraction going on, I drive much slower and avoid complications.

It might be arrogant of me, but I think of myself as driving quickly but not recklessly.
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      05-12-2008, 06:31 PM   #42
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^^ I feel the same way. I'm much more aware of my surroundings at all times then most other people I've driven with.

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      05-12-2008, 06:36 PM   #43
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Yes.. I think all drivers should be self-judging. As a matter of fact, when we get our license we should declare which category we're in. I think I deserve the 'no traffic laws for me' category because I'm such a swell driver and smart guy. Oh.. and the car counts too. Should be based on skid pad and braking you think? Yes, that should work. (sic)
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I do understand what you're saying and in a perfect world would agree. I think there is some room for judgement in driving. I don't think we need (or even should to be safe) to stay within the speed limit all the time. However, we cannot say that reasonable compliance should be based on self-proclaimed abilities or even abilities that can be substantiated with objective evidence. It is a system to manage millions where probabilities and statistics rule. 'Drifting around the corner' and 'not recklessly' when applied to public roads are, in the world we live in and share, a non-sensical pairing.
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      05-12-2008, 07:21 PM   #44
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I see speed limits more as a reference than a rule. It all comes down to the driver's proper assessment of the road and its conditions with the speed limit as a primary point of reference. As adc mentioned, this can mean driving much slower than the speed limit, because sometimes, even driving the posted speed limit can be unsafe depending on the circumstances. When speeding, plan and prepare for the unexpected, and be ready to return to the speed limit (or lower) much sooner than you think.

I believe all accidents happen long before the accident itself--it's the driver's pre-assessment of the road and its conditions that was most likely at fault in the first place. If the road is free and clear of any cars, pedestrians, and intersections for miles, and there are no blind spots, what is wrong with driving at 150 even? Without passengers of course. The only person you could hurt in this situation is yourself. If the road is nearby a school or in a residential area, driving at a speed no more than 15 mph would be the right thing to do even if the speed limit says 25.

Driving at any speed can cause collisions. I've witnessed an accident in a parking lot, where both drivers were driving less than 10 miles per hour. Speed doesn't cause accidents; drivers do, for the most part.

I couldn't agree more with adc and Dan203.
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