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LibertarianBorg
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Speed limit observance psychology

Wed Aug 26, 2020 9:48 pm

So due to the Coronavirus I’m now a member of the daily car commute instead of going by public transport where, even without Corona, I always end up next to people sneezing and coughing anyway.
I think I’ve noticed an interesting psychological pattern regarding speed limits and would like to hand it over to the experts here (there have to be some psychologists or people experienced with social behavior) to read what you think.

Generally you need to know to understand this post that I always keep to the speed limit and I calibrate my speedometer as good as I can with a smartphone and commonly used apps. So if 100 km/h is posted, I will do said 100 km/h if conditions allow, since the speed limits are very conservative for the respective road conditions, I will nearly always be at the speed limit. I will always use cruise control so I will notice any speed variations of the cars around me.

Here is what I found during holidays and now that I’m commuting daily:

On the I-5 Northbound from Seattle towards the Canadian border: Stretches of alternating 60 mph and 70 mph limits. I note that doing 60 mph I am in the slowest quartile of traffic. However, doing 70 mph I am in the fastest quartile of traffic. Is 65 mph sort of a "sweet spot"?

Now in Switzerland if a 80 km/h limit is posted (unfortunately often), I am basically the slowest car on the freeway with even trucks overtaking. If a 100 km/h limit is posted (curvy or dangerous stretches or noise abatement within populated areas) I will about flow with the traffic, overtaking some and being overtaken by some more cars. And if, finally, the general speed limit of 120 km/h applies, I will again be in the top quartile of cars, often catching up with others who passed me earlier because supposedly they could not bear to wait when lower speed limits were posted. Why not go faster than 120 km/h if you generally don't respect lower speed limits? The fine, I think, is just the same!

Add a tunnel to the equation and it really gets interesting: There is a specific place I always observe this, right in front of the Gubrist tunnel going Eastbound on freeway A-1 (notorious for its traffic queues and accidents and the bottle neck in Switzerland): right in front of the tunnel there is an 80 km/h limit for a couple of km, as I said I will be slowest in traffic as several access roads merge into the freeway mandating a low speed limit. Even though traffic may be crazy, I will always be able to go 80 km/h. Right at the tunnel entrance a 100 km/h speed limit is posted. Theoretically, I would predict to gently accelerate till I reach 100 km/h, possibly overtaking cars that accelerate more slowly, possibly being overtaken by cars accelerating faster than I do. But this is not the case. I will regularly have to brake down to 60 km/h, sometimes even to a full stop without any discernible reason. This is a persistent feature of this tunnel and I will only ever reach 100 km/h in very light traffic (on Sunday nights there being a fair chance if no construction is going on), in all other cases both lanes will be blocked by cars constantly braking. Is this caused by tunnel angst? But this condition must then affect a majority of the general population. When I was young and living in a different country, the general freeway speed limit applied to tunnels as well instead of the now seemingly ubiquitous 100 km/h limit in European tunnels, I can’t remember my parents ever having to brake.

And finally today: Following a foreign car on a German rural road, 100 km/h limit by default, a straight stretch with visibility galore, low traffic, prime conditions. Car in front of me does about 78 km/h – maybe unfamiliar with the law was my first thought since there is no explicit signage. Entering Switzerland, the limit reverts to 80 km/h by default, otherwise same conditions. Car takes off with I’d say at least 85 km/h until it’s out of my sight. Why? This driving absolutely contradicts any reasonable behavior and I’m just puzzled as to what the underlying issue could be.

My theory as someone not familiar with behavior analysis or psychology is that posted speed limits must seemingly cause some spite reaction and galvanize a desire to disobey the clearly visible figure shown on the sign whereas a speed limit by legal default which is not shown explicitly must trigger some other reaction more akin to “can’t go too fast, it’s dangerous!”.

Your thoughts?
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noviorbis77
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Re: Speed limit observance psychology

Wed Aug 26, 2020 10:21 pm

Generally in the UK you can get away with 10% above speed limit +3.

80 mph on a motorway, 35 mph around town etc.
 
DLFREEBIRD
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Re: Speed limit observance psychology

Wed Aug 26, 2020 11:32 pm

yes you can usually get away with going 5 miles over, unless your in a neighborhood. I used to speed a lot when i was younger. Now, if i am late, i am late, i'm not one of those idiots, that almost gets in a wreck, swerving in-between lanes, and ended up at the light, with everyone they passed. i still don't understand why people think they can beat the light when the lights are timed by traffic flow history.
 
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Aesma
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Re: Speed limit observance psychology

Thu Aug 27, 2020 12:53 am

I observe the same thing even though I drive above the speed limit, often when the limit is lowered on the road for some reason, construction, or just some turns on a highway (110Km/h instead of 130Km/h for example) there will still be a few cars driving faster than me, then when it's 130 again, I will pass them not even doing the speed limit, totally illogical.

In the US last year I was sticking to the limits as I didn't want to get shot :d An uncle of mine in fact ended up in jail (we were at his son's wedding), and that same uncle had already talked about that one time he was handcuffed after a trafic violation when he lived there, so I took the hint, he didn't.
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SheikhDjibouti
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Re: Speed limit observance psychology

Thu Aug 27, 2020 12:54 am

LibertarianBorg wrote:
I think I’ve noticed an interesting psychological pattern regarding speed limits and would like to hand it over to the experts here (there have to be some psychologists or people experienced with social behavior) to read what you think.

Generally you need to know to understand this post that I always keep to the speed limit
I'm afraid you've lost me there already. :duck:

On the I-5 Northbound from Seattle towards the Canadian border: Stretches of alternating 60 mph and 70 mph limits. I note that doing 60 mph I am in the slowest quartile of traffic. However, doing 70 mph I am in the fastest quartile of traffic. Is 65 mph sort of a "sweet spot"?
Quite possibly correct.
Two things;
a) you can set your cruise control to one speed, and just leave it there, ignoring the changes in speed limit (& trusting that the cops will give you a free pass because it's only a few mph)
b) if all the other traffic adopts a universal 65mph policy, it encourages you to stick with the herd. (plus switching between fastest & slowest quartile must also involve changing lanes; most people would prefer to avoid that chore)

Now in Switzerland ...

Add a tunnel to the equation and it really gets interesting:

And finally today: Following a foreign car on a German rural road, 100 km/h limit by default, a straight stretch with visibility galore, low traffic, prime conditions. Car in front of me does about 78 km/h – maybe unfamiliar with the law was my first thought since there is no explicit signage. Entering Switzerland, the limit reverts to 80 km/h by default, otherwise same conditions. Car takes off with I’d say at least 85 km/h until it’s out of my sight. Why? This driving absolutely contradicts any reasonable behavior and I’m just puzzled as to what the underlying issue could be.
Lots going on there; not sure I can make any comment except.... was the car you were following Swiss? Maybe the driver (Swiss) felt more comfortable with the risk that he would be pulled by a (sympathetic) Swiss policeman, but really didn't fancy aggravating a German cop? What languages might the Swiss driver use? Maybe his German was less than perfect?
Stick to the rules (with a safety margin) in Germany, but push the limit when you back on home turf.
(just an idea)
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Dieuwer
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Re: Speed limit observance psychology

Thu Aug 27, 2020 12:58 am

Drive slow sucks gas, driving fast sucks gas. So, drive faster in town and slower on the highway you get the best mileage.
 
Thenoflyzone
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Re: Speed limit observance psychology

Thu Aug 27, 2020 1:16 am

I dont know about the west coast, but here in Quebec, speed limits are a joke ! They're way too slow, especially in Montreal. Some highway service roads are 50 kmh. Hell some highways (expresssway) are 50 km/h, just because there are orange cones here and there with no one working !

Therefore, I'm consisently wayyy over the speed limit. I can't drive slow. Pandemic or not.

Basically, i'm comfortable driving fast enough to not get my license revoked and/or car impounded with a high speeding ticket. ("Grand excess de vitesse" in french)

When the limit is 50 km/h, i'm doing between 60-88 km/h
When the limit is 70 km/h, i'm doing anywhere from 80-118 km/h.
When the limit is 100 km/h, i'm doing between 120-158 km/h.

If a guy is in front of me, in the left lane, and driving super slow, that usually triggers me to drive to the higher echelons of the speeds mentioned above !

Every....single....day......

Thenoflyzone
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GalaxyFlyer
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Re: Speed limit observance psychology

Thu Aug 27, 2020 1:30 am

Thenoflyzone wrote:
I dont know about the west coast, but here in Quebec, speed limits are a joke ! They're way too slow, especially in Montreal. Some highway service roads are 50 kmh. Hell some highways (expresssway) are 50 km/h, just because there are orange cones here and there with no one working !

Therefore, I'm consisently wayyy over the speed limit. I can't drive slow. Pandemic or not.

Basically, i'm comfortable driving fast enough to not get my license revoked and/or car impounded with a high speeding ticket. ("Grand excess de vitesse" in french)

When the limit is 50 km/h, i'm doing between 60-88 km/h
When the limit is 70 km/h, i'm doing anywhere from 80-118 km/h.
When the limit is 100 km/h, i'm doing between 120-158 km/h.

If a guy is in front of me, in the left lane, and driving super slow, that usually triggers me to drive to the higher echelons of the speeds mentioned above !

Every....single....day......

Thenoflyzone


About 10 north of the NY frontier on 15, i was stopped for 125 in a 100 zone—zing about $100.

If you ain’t speedin’, you’re impedin’.
 
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Aaron747
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Re: Speed limit observance psychology

Thu Aug 27, 2020 1:37 am

In California it’s pretty common to see flow of traffic around 65-70 in a posted 55 zone and 75-80 in a posted 65 zone. Going over 90 will definitely get the attention of CHP. Exceed on a local street or residential area and the local fuzz will be on you like flies on shit.
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GalaxyFlyer
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Re: Speed limit observance psychology

Thu Aug 27, 2020 3:31 am

It’s a little looser on the east coast, I was doing about 80 or so and got passed by a trooper who soon passed the car that passed me. I have no idea what it would take to pulled over on the Mass Pike.

Speeding on city or residential streets is just stupid—you don’t save any time and create a lot of risk. All pain and no gain.
 
Kent350787
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Re: Speed limit observance psychology

Thu Aug 27, 2020 3:59 am

In Australia speed limit enforcement is either strict or really strict. At least one jurisdiction has a "leeway" allowance of only 1kmh above the posted limit.

I obey limits pretty closely in urban areas, but may exceed by up to 10% on highways in my home jurisdiction. We have a maximum limit of 100kmh, unless posted at 110kmh on some multi-lane fully grade separated roads. On more isolated rural roads I drive to the conditions rather than posted speed limits, although above 100kmh would be rare.

Our tunnels are mostly urban, and speed camera patrolled. Strict adherence there.

In the US, I've found 80mph my comfortable speed on many interstates, although will often tweak down if the posted limit drops below 70mph. My observations in the NE and SE has been people being pulled over on the interstates when they must be doing nearer 90-100mph.

I've mostly stuck to the posted speed in Canada - a bit like home. Sometimes I may not get the mph/kmh conversion quite right (which is a little crazy given I was already at school when Australia went metric), or forget the speedometer is one rather than the other.

I haven't driven in Europe for a long time, so would probably just follow the upper end of the herd.
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ltbewr
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Re: Speed limit observance psychology

Thu Aug 27, 2020 12:48 pm

I believe in the pace of traffic rule. Don't go much faster that most are driving and if not much traffic, stick close to the limit. If a jurisdiction with 'speed cameras' (usually local streets) stick to the speed limit. On highways in the USA one has to note that most fleet trucks are governed to a max of 64-68 MPH for fuel savings and safety so that can disrupt the speed-flow. One of the big problems with speeding in the USA is that too many don't keep enough space between them and the vehicle in front of them, setting up potential disaster.
 
GalaxyFlyer
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Re: Speed limit observance psychology

Thu Aug 27, 2020 1:13 pm

ltbewr wrote:
I believe in the pace of traffic rule. Don't go much faster that most are driving and if not much traffic, stick close to the limit. If a jurisdiction with 'speed cameras' (usually local streets) stick to the speed limit. On highways in the USA one has to note that most fleet trucks are governed to a max of 64-68 MPH for fuel savings and safety so that can disrupt the speed-flow. One of the big problems with speeding in the USA is that too many don't keep enough space between them and the vehicle in front of them, setting up potential disaster.


True on fleet trucks, of all sizes even small fleet trucks. Plenty of O/O “large cars” running 80+mph in open Interstates.

I have rented cars in Australia, first time I sort of drove like in America, 10-15kph over the posted on a motorway. I soon noticed I was passing nearly everybody even Porches. Asked at the concierge desk, “oh, sir, speed cameras everywhere, don’t exceed the limit”. Same thing in England, drove from LHR to Poole, friends were aghast at how many speed camera tickets I might have collected.
 
Reinhardt
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Re: Speed limit observance psychology

Thu Aug 27, 2020 1:33 pm

GalaxyFlyer wrote:
Same thing in England, drove from LHR to Poole, friends were aghast at how many speed camera tickets I might have collected.


There are a lot of camera signs all over the tops of motorways and even some rural roads. Most Motorway cameras are not active except when there is a temporary limited posted on the LED panels or if you are driving through roadworks and there is an average speed check.

You'll see most people on the outside lane on the M25 / M4 / A3 / M40 / M1 etc doing 80-90. If you get caught by the Police (very unsual because there are hardly any) doing anything over 90 you're in trouble. More of a concern is the complete inability to be in the correct lane. So much traffic caused by it and so many near accidents.

In Germany I tend to drive 5-10km/h over the limit on the Autobahn and then when no limit I'll do 160-180. Any more than that and you go through fuel like mad. In the rain I'll drive usually below the limit because they have no cats eyes, autobahn drainage is appaling so you can't see where you're going. Incredibly dangerous when you still get people plowing through at 180. Idiots.
In towns I'll stick to the limits as there are cameras, even though the fines are generally pathetically small and a huge amount of cyclists in appalingly badly designed cycle lanes.
 
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casinterest
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Re: Speed limit observance psychology

Thu Aug 27, 2020 1:42 pm

In my neck of the woods, I usually go about 10% over the limit. It is usually fast enough to pass quite a few folks, but still get passed by about 20-30% more. I figure that keeps me safe from the tickets.
Most cops will not make the move to go after you unless you are +10% over the limit or driving erratically. Speed cameras haven't made their way to most of the states, but with the advent of digital displays( something new in my newer car), it makes it a bit harder to explain to the officer that you didn't know you were speeding. Especially if you use Waze or any other app that tracks your speed.

I do notice the phenomenon alluded to earlier in construction zones or speed zones such as small towns on rural highways like US-1,US-64 or US-70. Being a 10% adherent. I usually slow down entering the zones, only to find the folks, I just passed ,pushing my rear. Then when we clear the zone, I am once again moving faster than they are.

The big issue over the years is the issue of inattentive drivers. Now , you need to be more aware of the slower drivers that are playing on their phones.
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vikkyvik
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Re: Speed limit observance psychology

Thu Aug 27, 2020 2:58 pm

LibertarianBorg wrote:
On the I-5 Northbound from Seattle towards the Canadian border: Stretches of alternating 60 mph and 70 mph limits. I note that doing 60 mph I am in the slowest quartile of traffic. However, doing 70 mph I am in the fastest quartile of traffic. Is 65 mph sort of a "sweet spot"?


Both in MA and CA, I've generally found that traffic speed does not substantially change when going from a 65 mph to a 55 mph zone, or vice versa. Speeds top out around 85, which is pushing it a bit too far for me - some of those people will certainly get pulled over.

I used to cap my speed at 78 mph, but with so much less traffic on the road due to Covid, I'm capping at 81 mph, which is a pretty typical fast-lane speed in low traffic.

In MA, there have been a few times when I've been in the fast lane, doing 75-80, and a cop pulls up behind me. No lights or anything - all he wants is for me to move over so he can pass me, going 90.

In CA, it's pretty normal to drive past cops who are on the side of the freeway. I've passed them going 80, and I doubt they even look up from whatever magazine they're reading.

LibertarianBorg wrote:
But this condition must then affect a majority of the general population.


Not necessarily. Especially in something like a tunnel, all it takes is one person to slow down moderately, and suddenly people 20 cars back are slamming on their brakes. Two main reasons in my opinion: 1.) brake lights alone don't tell you the deceleration rate, and 2.) no one actually observes proper following distances.
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T18
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Re: Speed limit observance psychology

Thu Aug 27, 2020 3:08 pm

An issue I've noticed is that many roadways around me have artificially low speed limits. When a roadway is built and designed in a way that supports 55mph safely but the city,state or country posts a 35 limit on it, it does not make much change to the speeds driven, it only creates a much larger speed differential between those who are speeding and those who are following the posted limit. Multiple studies have found that speed differential is just as large if not large of a factor than posted speed limits in accidents related to over taking and road rage.

https://www.mdt.mt.gov/other/webdata/ex ... Jul-16.pdf
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/a ... 2812043947

Another interesting point upthread involves camera enforcement which as far as I was last aware had been deemed unconstitutional in my state, because it shifted the burden to prove who was operation a motor vehicle from the state to the individual who is now forced to prove they were not operating it. There has also been past debate over whether a camera based ticket allows one the right to 'face their accuser', although I'm not as sure that one holds water as, video and photo evidence is commonly admissible in court and one can't exactly cross examine a Nikon.

Another fun addendum is the impact of a roadway design on the speed drivers feel safe at. For example it seems the wider a road is and the more clear of obstructions the verges are, the faster drivers will drive, which has created an odd paradox for residential roads where to improve safety (essp for pedestrians) roads have been widened and visual obstructions moved back, but the fatality rate for pedestrians has not been changed much as now conflicts tend to occur at higher speeds.

https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/5849/0 ... ef5618.pdf
https://usa.streetsblog.org/2017/09/13/ ... so-common/
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seb146
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Re: Speed limit observance psychology

Thu Aug 27, 2020 5:34 pm

The number of lanes and the two points the road is connecting have a lot to do with it, too. I-5 between Eugene and Salem is two lanes in both directions. Speed limit is 65MPH. We are lucky to get up to 60MPH because of trucks passing and the sheer number of vehicles on the road. The interesting part comes between Salem and Portland when a third lane is added. The right lane is mostly trucks, middle lane is trucks passing and people going the posted speed and the left lane is fast.

Then, there is I-84 between Portland and Boise which is two lanes nearly the entire way. Very little traffic so not much need for trucks to pass. Many sections of flat and straight roadway. The speed limit is 70MPH for much of this section but some have gone well over that.

On both sections, police use their own discretion when pulling people over for speeding. I have noticed that if a vehicle is under control even though they are over the speed limit, police do not generally do anything. There are times they do but, generally, not.
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LibertarianBorg
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Re: Speed limit observance psychology

Thu Aug 27, 2020 7:51 pm

vikkyvik wrote:
Not necessarily. Especially in something like a tunnel, all it takes is one person to slow down moderately, and suddenly people 20 cars back are slamming on their brakes. Two main reasons in my opinion: 1.) brake lights alone don't tell you the deceleration rate, and 2.) no one actually observes proper following distances.


That is exactly what is puzzling me. Right in front of the tunnel traffic is busiest with cars merging and others changing lanes. The limit is 80 km/h and even though some may have to brake and most don't observe proper distance, traffic still moves on nicely at ~80 km/h except when the tunnel is totally jammed. In the tunnel, there are no merging lanes or curves any more, the posted limit is 25% higher, and yet traffic is slower than it was. I would think if you could go 80 keeping an eye out for cars breaking, changing lanes or merging in front of the tunnel, going 100 in the tunnel should not be a problem at all? If the effect persisted just in the first hundred meters or so I could rationalize it for others accommodating their vision and getting used to the tunnel. But at the end of the tunnel (3.25 km/2 mi down the road as I just checked) traffic still is moving slow.

Thanks to all who got the original intention of my question. It was not about how much over the speed limit you can go in your area (a valid topic in itself!). Just to have stated this I'm perfectly fine with others speeding on condition that they keep to their lane, overtake in a reasonable way and don't slow down without reason when they are in front of me.

There is another thing I noticed and don't know whether it is a misjudgment of speed differences or an actual conscious or sub-conscious act by drivers in front when they are approached from behind. If I see I will catch up with someone doing a few (say 5) km/h less than me, I adjust my cruise control accordingly until I'm at the same speed. Suddenly the car in front of me then slows down considerably. Is this a misjudgment on the speed difference approaching the other car or a reaction by the driver in front of me? Seems to happen much more often than the other possibility of the guy in front waking up and accelerating to catch up with the speed limit. Since I don't have an indicator showing me the speed of the car in front of me (I understand many commercial trucks do), I'm curious if others had this experience, too.
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GalaxyFlyer
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Re: Speed limit observance psychology

Thu Aug 27, 2020 9:04 pm

I haven’t noticed, but I never use the cruise control. In 30 years of driving M-Bs, I’d guess I haven’t engaged more than a half dozen times not counting initial check to see it functions under warranty. That’s about 450,000 miles including many long trips.
 
rlwynn
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Re: Speed limit observance psychology

Thu Aug 27, 2020 9:24 pm

I use it all the time. Keeps me from going too fast. Just a klick with my thumb. On the autobahn I go as fast as how much fuel I want to waste.
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PlymSpotter
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Re: Speed limit observance psychology

Thu Aug 27, 2020 9:30 pm

Speeders on the open road don't particularly both me - what really annoys me are speeders in urban or school areas where it's 30 or less.

Oh, and 45mph drivers - the ones that do 45mph no matter where they ar: 60, 50, 40, 30 and even 20mph limits, they just go at the same damn speed from one to the other, like they have a single gear.
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fr8mech
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Re: Speed limit observance psychology

Fri Aug 28, 2020 3:27 am

I often wonder about speed limits and their nature as they relate to the (my) philosophy of law.

Just driving on the roads, or reading these posts, we know that a sizable percentage of the population routinely exceeds the speed limit. Why? Apathy? Complacency? Ignorance? Obstinance? Rebellion? Whatever, it all amounts to the same thing, people breaking the law, with impunity.

Laws that won't be enforced, can't be enforced, or shouldn't be enforced need to go away, because they are detrimental to the rule-of-law.

Since it is accepted* that the current speed limits are too low, we should raise the speed limits to a hard limit. If the limit is 80, where it used to be 70, 81 gets you a ticket. Or, better yet, do away with the speed limit, and use a "reckless driving" or "due diligence" standard for enforcing traffic safety. Of course, that kind of standard is almost completely subjective.

*accepted because the police almost never pull someone over for exceeding the speed limit by "a little"

.
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TWA772LR
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Re: Speed limit observance psychology

Fri Aug 28, 2020 3:52 am

Growing up in Texas, I developed LFD, Lead Foot Disorder. The seed limit there (in Houston at least on the highway) is as follows from far right lane to far left:
Posted speed limit (exiting and entering highway)
Speed limit +10
Previous lane +10
Previous lane +10
Until you get to the far left lane which is practically unlimited (unless there's a a cop :biggrin: )

I never got a traffic ticket until I moved to Colorado (2 for about 19 over). Although I didn't get pulled over for speeding in Texas (rolling through stop sign, brake light out, forgetting to turn my lights on at night) I was able to talk my way out of them. But in Texas it's generally accepted (using fr8mechs definition) that it's usually ok to go over by 10 mph.

If you're in Denver, NEVER speed on Pena Blvd, they WILL get you. Which sucks because it's so easy to speed there!

With car technology making them much safer (my 2017 Outback has the automatic braking and other things) I think it's time for Congress to re-examine speed limits to raise them and, for federal/state governments to look in to adopting a model similar to the Autobahn.

For psychology, in the US, the underlying culture of rebellion and getthereitis make people speed.
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seb146
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Re: Speed limit observance psychology

Fri Aug 28, 2020 6:21 pm

TWA772LR wrote:
Growing up in Texas, I developed LFD, Lead Foot Disorder. The seed limit there (in Houston at least on the highway) is as follows from far right lane to far left:
Posted speed limit (exiting and entering highway)
Speed limit +10
Previous lane +10
Previous lane +10
Until you get to the far left lane which is practically unlimited (unless there's a a cop :biggrin: )

I never got a traffic ticket until I moved to Colorado (2 for about 19 over). Although I didn't get pulled over for speeding in Texas (rolling through stop sign, brake light out, forgetting to turn my lights on at night) I was able to talk my way out of them. But in Texas it's generally accepted (using fr8mechs definition) that it's usually ok to go over by 10 mph.

If you're in Denver, NEVER speed on Pena Blvd, they WILL get you. Which sucks because it's so easy to speed there!

With car technology making them much safer (my 2017 Outback has the automatic braking and other things) I think it's time for Congress to re-examine speed limits to raise them and, for federal/state governments to look in to adopting a model similar to the Autobahn.

For psychology, in the US, the underlying culture of rebellion and getthereitis make people speed.


I remember when I was driving big rigs, I was on I-25 north of Denver headed south and there was a long, long, long back up. Being in a big rig, I stayed in the right lane. I saw so many people going "off road" to the right to the frontage road to get around the traffic. Not a cop in sight.

I love driving in Los Angeles with people in the car with me. We usually stay in the San Fernando Valley (his aunts and uncles live there) and we sometimes go to Orange County or San Diego. That far left lane over the double lines next to the big cement wall is amazing. Yeah, sure, the speed limit sign says 60 but in that far left lane, it is merely a suggestion.
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bhill
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Re: Speed limit observance psychology

Fri Aug 28, 2020 6:41 pm

I have wondered why when I was young, the speed limit on Interstates was 70mph until the oil embargo brought them to 55mph...and now that we are purported to be an EXPORTER of oil it is 60mph in most places...what happened to the last 10MPH? I was amazed when I drove from Washington State to Kentucky...some stretches of the midwest were 80mph!!
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Tugger
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Re: Speed limit observance psychology

Fri Aug 28, 2020 7:43 pm

TWA772LR wrote:
With car technology making them much safer (my 2017 Outback has the automatic braking and other things) I think it's time for Congress to re-examine speed limits to raise them and, for federal/state governments to look in to adopting a model similar to the Autobahn..

Actually I am seeing conversations that with all the new technology they should use geo-fencing tech etc. and set speed rules that a car will automatically follow. Whatever the speed limit for that part of town or road, that's the max the car will go. That's where I rediscover why I probably don't want an auto-drive car and shouldn't hope for one.

For me, in the morning now going to work is roughly 80-85 mph the whole way. And the drive home is 70-80.

Tugg
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Aesma
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Re: Speed limit observance psychology

Fri Aug 28, 2020 8:25 pm

Yes you can also have cameras that will time you over several miles so if you're speeding you get caught. I heard some French paying highways will also snitch on you if you have too short a time between entering and exiting them...

Now since my commute is full of traffic, I'll still take the self-driving car while I finish my night.
New Technology is the name we give to stuff that doesn't work yet. Douglas Adams
 
GalaxyFlyer
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Re: Speed limit observance psychology

Fri Aug 28, 2020 9:58 pm

Aesma wrote:
Yes you can also have cameras that will time you over several miles so if you're speeding you get caught. I heard some French paying highways will also snitch on you if you have too short a time between entering and exiting them...

Now since my commute is full of traffic, I'll still take the self-driving car while I finish my night.


When they installed automated tolling in my state using the data for speed enforcement was very specifically disavowed. And, the old paper ticket could have used, too. The transponder might have taken 20 minutes to go 30 miles, but nothing proves who is the operator. That and vast expanses of the US are untolled. Like truckers when asked about te scales would say, “son, I’m not crossing the scales”.
 
rlwynn
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Re: Speed limit observance psychology

Sat Aug 29, 2020 8:48 am

Here in Germany it does not matter who was driving. The car gets the ticket. Just like it does not matter who parked the car in a no parking zone.
I can drive faster than you
 
Kno
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Re: Speed limit observance psychology

Sat Aug 29, 2020 11:34 am

DLFREEBIRD wrote:
yes you can usually get away with going 5 miles over, unless your in a neighborhood. I used to speed a lot when i was younger. Now, if i am late, i am late, i'm not one of those idiots, that almost gets in a wreck, swerving in-between lanes, and ended up at the light, with everyone they passed. i still don't understand why people think they can beat the light when the lights are timed by traffic flow history.


Depends where you are. Driving in Manhattan the lights are timed in such a fashion that if you can keep a very specific speed you will hit green after green consistently, sometimes for hundreds of blocks, some times doing so will require some clever lane weaving to avoid overly slow or clueless drivers or wondering cabs.

In my opinion lane weaving if done properly is a very useful skill. On multi lane roads in many parts of America, especially large cities on the east and west coast, people use lanes cluelessly. On highways I can’t for the life of me figure out why selfish drivers with no intention of passing hog left lanes, but I’ll happily slide past them on the right.

If I’m safely in control of my vehicle and I want to go faster than the cars around me, and they won’t get out of lanes they shouldn’t be in, then why wait up at their pace? I’ll make use of the open space around me and go around.
 
Kno
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Re: Speed limit observance psychology

Sat Aug 29, 2020 11:47 am

vikkyvik wrote:
LibertarianBorg wrote:
On the I-5 Northbound from Seattle towards the Canadian border: Stretches of alternating 60 mph and 70 mph limits. I note that doing 60 mph I am in the slowest quartile of traffic. However, doing 70 mph I am in the fastest quartile of traffic. Is 65 mph sort of a "sweet spot"?


Both in MA and CA, I've generally found that traffic speed does not substantially change when going from a 65 mph to a 55 mph zone, or vice versa. Speeds top out around 85, which is pushing it a bit too far for me - some of those people will certainly get pulled over.

I used to cap my speed at 78 mph, but with so much less traffic on the road due to Covid, I'm capping at 81 mph, which is a pretty typical fast-lane speed in low traffic.

In MA, there have been a few times when I've been in the fast lane, doing 75-80, and a cop pulls up behind me. No lights or anything - all he wants is for me to move over so he can pass me, going 90.

In CA, it's pretty normal to drive past cops who are on the side of the freeway. I've passed them going 80, and I doubt they even look up from whatever magazine they're reading.

LibertarianBorg wrote:
But this condition must then affect a majority of the general population.


Not necessarily. Especially in something like a tunnel, all it takes is one person to slow down moderately, and suddenly people 20 cars back are slamming on their brakes. Two main reasons in my opinion: 1.) brake lights alone don't tell you the deceleration rate, and 2.) no one actually observes proper following distances.


I mostly drive in MA and CA and agree with everything you’ve said.

The speed limits are ridiculously low and nobody follows them. Most of 95 is 55mph - everyone is going 65-85. Most of 90 is 65, most people are going 75-85. The unspoken rule is you can get away with 80 without getting a ticket and most cops will excuse 85 if the highway is empty and straight.
 
GalaxyFlyer
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Re: Speed limit observance psychology

Sat Aug 29, 2020 4:46 pm

Kno wrote:
DLFREEBIRD wrote:
yes you can usually get away with going 5 miles over, unless your in a neighborhood. I used to speed a lot when i was younger. Now, if i am late, i am late, i'm not one of those idiots, that almost gets in a wreck, swerving in-between lanes, and ended up at the light, with everyone they passed. i still don't understand why people think they can beat the light when the lights are timed by traffic flow history.


Depends where you are. Driving in Manhattan the lights are timed in such a fashion that if you can keep a very specific speed you will hit green after green consistently, sometimes for hundreds of blocks, some times doing so will require some clever lane weaving to avoid overly slow or clueless drivers or wondering cabs.

In my opinion lane weaving if done properly is a very useful skill. On multi lane roads in many parts of America, especially large cities on the east and west coast, people use lanes cluelessly. On highways I can’t for the life of me figure out why selfish drivers with no intention of passing hog left lanes, but I’ll happily slide past them on the right.

If I’m safely in control of my vehicle and I want to go faster than the cars around me, and they won’t get out of lanes they shouldn’t be in, then why wait up at their pace? I’ll make use of the open space around me and go around.


Weaving is dangerous, frequently the cause of highway accidents. The law, everywhere is drive on the right, pass on the left, PERIOD. Idiots who don’t follow that rule invite accidents and will see my high beans in their mirrors, if they even watch them. And me tapping on my rear view as I go by. If you think that aggressive, you’re part of the problem.

I witnessed a fatal rollover happen on I-90 in Otis. Opposite direction weaving driver trying to pass on the the right, gets cut off in the right lane as the left lane driver, surprised by the guy, tries to move to right lane. Next thing is a tumbling car spilling out bodies, two dead.
 
Kno
Posts: 608
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Re: Speed limit observance psychology

Sat Aug 29, 2020 8:57 pm

GalaxyFlyer wrote:
Kno wrote:
DLFREEBIRD wrote:
yes you can usually get away with going 5 miles over, unless your in a neighborhood. I used to speed a lot when i was younger. Now, if i am late, i am late, i'm not one of those idiots, that almost gets in a wreck, swerving in-between lanes, and ended up at the light, with everyone they passed. i still don't understand why people think they can beat the light when the lights are timed by traffic flow history.


Depends where you are. Driving in Manhattan the lights are timed in such a fashion that if you can keep a very specific speed you will hit green after green consistently, sometimes for hundreds of blocks, some times doing so will require some clever lane weaving to avoid overly slow or clueless drivers or wondering cabs.

In my opinion lane weaving if done properly is a very useful skill. On multi lane roads in many parts of America, especially large cities on the east and west coast, people use lanes cluelessly. On highways I can’t for the life of me figure out why selfish drivers with no intention of passing hog left lanes, but I’ll happily slide past them on the right.

If I’m safely in control of my vehicle and I want to go faster than the cars around me, and they won’t get out of lanes they shouldn’t be in, then why wait up at their pace? I’ll make use of the open space around me and go around.


Weaving is dangerous, frequently the cause of highway accidents. The law, everywhere is drive on the right, pass on the left, PERIOD. Idiots who don’t follow that rule invite accidents and will see my high beans in their mirrors, if they even watch them. And me tapping on my rear view as I go by. If you think that aggressive, you’re part of the problem.

I witnessed a fatal rollover happen on I-90 in Otis. Opposite direction weaving driver trying to pass on the the right, gets cut off in the right lane as the left lane driver, surprised by the guy, tries to move to right lane. Next thing is a tumbling car spilling out bodies, two dead.


It’s dangerous when a bad driver does it without plenty of space, but you could say the same about almost any driving maneuver. To say it’s just flat out dangerous is ridiculous, how dangerous it is is very situational and case by case.
 
GalaxyFlyer
Posts: 7779
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Re: Speed limit observance psychology

Sat Aug 29, 2020 9:25 pm

It’s not situational, it a poor practice and violation of the law, but you knew that. Of course, you’re the exceptional skilled driver who is allowed to violate the traffic rules safely. Got it.

https://www.vox.com/2014/6/16/5804590/s ... ic-illegal

MA: https://malegislature.gov/Laws/GeneralL ... /Section4b

CA: https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/face ... nNum=21654

Excerpt from California:


21654.
(a) Notwithstanding the prima facie speed limits, any vehicle proceeding upon a highway at a speed less than the normal speed of traffic moving in the same direction at such time shall be driven in the right-hand lane for traffic or as close as practicable to the right-hand edge or curb, except when overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction or when preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway.

(b) If a vehicle is being driven at a speed less than the normal speed of traffic moving in the same direction at such time, and is not being driven in the right-hand lane for traffic or as close as practicable to the right-hand edge or curb, it shall constitute prima facie evidence that the driver is operating the vehicle in violation of subdivision (a) of this secti shall be driven in the right-hand lane for traffic or as close as practicable to the right-hand edge or curb, except when overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction or when preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway.
 
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Aesma
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Re: Speed limit observance psychology

Sat Aug 29, 2020 11:58 pm

Well if you can pass on the right, it means the other driver is also violating those same rules...
New Technology is the name we give to stuff that doesn't work yet. Douglas Adams
 
GalaxyFlyer
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Re: Speed limit observance psychology

Sun Aug 30, 2020 1:05 am

It’s illegal to pass on the right, cops in the US make weak kneed to make traffic stops but it continues. Lane discipline here is horrible and and causes 10% of highway accidents. But some, here in fact, think it’s just dandy because they’re smarter than average bear.
 
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Aaron747
Posts: 14976
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Re: Speed limit observance psychology

Sun Aug 30, 2020 1:24 am

Kno wrote:
GalaxyFlyer wrote:
Kno wrote:

Depends where you are. Driving in Manhattan the lights are timed in such a fashion that if you can keep a very specific speed you will hit green after green consistently, sometimes for hundreds of blocks, some times doing so will require some clever lane weaving to avoid overly slow or clueless drivers or wondering cabs.

In my opinion lane weaving if done properly is a very useful skill. On multi lane roads in many parts of America, especially large cities on the east and west coast, people use lanes cluelessly. On highways I can’t for the life of me figure out why selfish drivers with no intention of passing hog left lanes, but I’ll happily slide past them on the right.

If I’m safely in control of my vehicle and I want to go faster than the cars around me, and they won’t get out of lanes they shouldn’t be in, then why wait up at their pace? I’ll make use of the open space around me and go around.


Weaving is dangerous, frequently the cause of highway accidents. The law, everywhere is drive on the right, pass on the left, PERIOD. Idiots who don’t follow that rule invite accidents and will see my high beans in their mirrors, if they even watch them. And me tapping on my rear view as I go by. If you think that aggressive, you’re part of the problem.

I witnessed a fatal rollover happen on I-90 in Otis. Opposite direction weaving driver trying to pass on the the right, gets cut off in the right lane as the left lane driver, surprised by the guy, tries to move to right lane. Next thing is a tumbling car spilling out bodies, two dead.


It’s dangerous when a bad driver does it without plenty of space, but you could say the same about almost any driving maneuver. To say it’s just flat out dangerous is ridiculous, how dangerous it is is very situational and case by case.


It’s dangerous plain and simple - that’s why it’s in the traffic code.
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Kno
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Re: Speed limit observance psychology

Sun Aug 30, 2020 1:44 am

GalaxyFlyer wrote:
It’s illegal to pass on the right, cops in the US make weak kneed to make traffic stops but it continues. Lane discipline here is horrible and and causes 10% of highway accidents. But some, here in fact, think it’s just dandy because they’re smarter than average bear.


I agree lane discipline is horrible, the slow drivers hogging the left share this responsibility to manage themselves better and pay attention. In many states, if not most, passing on the right is not illegal.

Aaron747 wrote:
Kno wrote:
GalaxyFlyer wrote:

Weaving is dangerous, frequently the cause of highway accidents. The law, everywhere is drive on the right, pass on the left, PERIOD. Idiots who don’t follow that rule invite accidents and will see my high beans in their mirrors, if they even watch them. And me tapping on my rear view as I go by. If you think that aggressive, you’re part of the problem.

I witnessed a fatal rollover happen on I-90 in Otis. Opposite direction weaving driver trying to pass on the the right, gets cut off in the right lane as the left lane driver, surprised by the guy, tries to move to right lane. Next thing is a tumbling car spilling out bodies, two dead.


It’s dangerous when a bad driver does it without plenty of space, but you could say the same about almost any driving maneuver. To say it’s just flat out dangerous is ridiculous, how dangerous it is is very situational and case by case.


It’s dangerous plain and simple - that’s why it’s in the traffic code.


Traffic code is state by state.

Tell me exactly when does it become a problem?

In many states passing on the right is NOT illegal. Frankly I’m more concerned about the quality of the drivers hogging the left lane at low speeds for no apparent reason, oblivious to their surroundings, than I am concerned about those who properly assess the space around them and watch traffic as they safely pass on the right. Any other lane change involved in passing would be to the left of course - and I doubt anyone here is arguing against that - so again I rebut if a driver is bad a driver is bad, if a driver can navigate lanes safely then what exactly is the issue?

We’d all prefer to pass on the left, but with so many oblivious lane hogs who have no regard for others, people inevitably pass right.

On a daily basis I see left lane hogs applying make up, looking at phones, etc, when 5 cars in a row pass them on the right often the person hogging the left looks up, gets the hint, and slides right into their proper slow lane. In New England I see bad behavior from slow left lane hogs far more frequently than I see people dangerously weaving. In NYC and California people can’t even be bothered to care what lane they’re in.

More often than not, the drivers killing people on the road are the oblivious, the distracted, the impaired, and those who simply have poor hand eye coordination and/or awareness of the space around them - this is who we need to worry about.

GalaxyFlyer - the code you quoted about California states that drivers going slow in the left should move right. So where is the distain for the slow drivers hogging the left lane? No need to get assumptive and sarcastic about the quality of each others driving, we’ve never been in a car together.
 
Kent350787
Posts: 1904
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Re: Speed limit observance psychology

Sun Aug 30, 2020 2:15 am

In Austrlia we also have passing lane hogs, as well as passholes. A passhole is a driver that travels below the posted limit when there are not overtaking opportunities, but speeds up to block overtaking as soon there is a passing opportunity.

I'm not a left lane hog in the US - I've posted my normal cruising speeds upthread - but I really dislike the combined entry/exit lanes I've come across in the NE. These are where I actively avoid the right lane as they are logically a lower speed location.
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GalaxyFlyer
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Re: Speed limit observance psychology

Sun Aug 30, 2020 2:55 am

Here’s the synopsis of every state, passing on the right is illegal in most and a bad practice everywhere. You’re just trying to rationalize your poor practice by saying everybody does it and I’m smarter than them. That you admitting to driving dangerously and in violation of the law and good practice is proof enough of the quality of your driving. I don’t need to get in a car with you at the wheel.

“Shall” implies the mandatory, “should” the preferred. California code above uses shall move right.

https://www.mit.edu/~jfc/right.html
 
Dt91c
Posts: 3
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Re: Speed limit observance psychology

Sun Aug 30, 2020 3:08 am

Bit late to this, but to answer the first poster’s question, I’m not a psychologist, but do work professionally as a transport planner. One big factor in vehicle speeds relates to road conditions rather than posted limits.

Average vehicle speeds will tend to be higher on roads that have wide lanes and straight geometry.

Making a road “feel” more dangerous, through narrower lanes, tighter turns, can improve safety by reducing average vehicle speeds.

Generally speaking there is a difference in street design standards (ie non motorway roads) between Europe and North America/Australia. The US/Aus design philosophy will tend to centre on getting the highest volume of vehicles though as quickly as possible. This leads to wider roads, turning lanes etc. Traffic will tend to go faster in this sort of environment regardless of posted limit. There has also been the practice of posting a speed limit based on actual traffic speeds, rather than as a way of getting a desired outcome.

The European road design philosophy tends to emphasise place, so lanes are narrower and things like street trees are common. This tends to lead to lower overall speeds, and a safer road environment as drivers need to remain alert for ‘hazards’ rather than drive to the sign.

On the tunnel question earlier, about why the traffic slows in the tunnel rather than on the approach, freeways have an optimum flow rate at about 80kph. (50MPH)

Speeds higher than this, in busy conditions, tend to lead to vehicle bunching as drivers accelerate and brake hard to avoid vehicles ahead. Faster vehicles also have more distance between them so the overall road capacity is lower. Obviously, a really low speed limit would also increase journey time so a posted so eed limit should balance these two issues.

In a scenario like the tunnel, this creates waves of vehicles and congestion that lower average vehicle speed. As each driver brakes a bit the combined effect keeps reducing speed sometimes down to walking pace or a complete stop. The change in road environment entering the tunnel also has the effect of making drivers more alert, and thus more likely to brake.

A smarter design here would be to post a slower limit, and reduce bunching, thus giving everyone a quicker journey.

Hope that helps.
 
Kno
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Re: Speed limit observance psychology

Sun Aug 30, 2020 4:29 am

GalaxyFlyer wrote:
Here’s the synopsis of every state, passing on the right is illegal in most and a bad practice everywhere. You’re just trying to rationalize your poor practice by saying everybody does it and I’m smarter than them. That you admitting to driving dangerously and in violation of the law and good practice is proof enough of the quality of your driving. I don’t need to get in a car with you at the wheel.

“Shall” implies the mandatory, “should” the preferred. California code above uses shall move right.

https://www.mit.edu/~jfc/right.html


Not sure why you are so intent on insulting me, I did not admit to dangerous driving - you’re labeling me as such based on your arrogant opinion.

The link you provided literally is all about how slow drivers on the left need to move right so faster drivers can pass. Only three states, Texas, New Jersey, and Connecticut even say anything about passing on the right and those three states all clearly list exceptions to pass on the right that clearly align with my prior comments.

I’m really wondering why exactly this bothers you so much - if you are such a great driver who follows the rules of the links you’ve provided I doubt you’re hardly ever being passed on the right. If you drive too slowly in the left and get peeved when folks pass on the right I suggest you read all the links you’ve shown me that suggest you should move the hell over to the right so people who want to drive faster than you can use the left lane properly.

Do you honestly expect someone to follow some jerk in the far left lane of a 4 lane highway going 55 in a 65 when there is ample room and no traffic for a passing on the right? Come on.

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