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Old February 26th, 2007, 04:30 AM   #41
TheCat
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Well, not counting your occasional maniac who routinely exceeds the speed limit
by 50km/h or more, if you really think about it, speed limits do work. While it's
true that if you are comfortable with doing 100km/h on a certain road with a
lower limit, you would probably still drive around 100 even if the limit were higher,
on a high quality road people unconsciously do not exceed the limit by "too much".

E.g., the limit on the 400 series in Ontario is 100km/h, so average speed is
perhaps 120 in inter-urban sections, and speeds up to 140 are not rare. I'm
almost sure that if the limit were 120km/h, most of these numbers would also
increase accordingly, perhaps not in a linear fashion. This is how we humans
think, subconsciously. The creators of the speed limits know this well, so they
know that if they set a limit of 100, cars will be going faster. However, they
also know that almost no one will be going 180.

If, on the other hand, many of the high-quality sections of the 400 series
would have, say, no limit, or a limit of 160, people would be going crazy,
and any teenager with an able car would be flying through the highway at
180km/h.

This is also why I think that limits above around 130km/h are indeed
redundant. What is the point of posting a speed limit of 160km/h? That is
practically equivalent to no limit.

And just to address the 400-series issue specifically, I think that the urban
sections should be limited to 100km/h, like they are today, but many of the
inter-urban sections should indeed be raised to 120-130km/h. While I'm no
expert, and hence cannot say whether or not statistically this would increase
accident rates significantly, I can say that from personal experience of
driving on the 401 for most of the way from Toronto to Montreal, such limits
are very reasonable, as in these sections the road is almost empty, and the
quality is very good.
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Old February 26th, 2007, 05:19 AM   #42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheCat View Post
E.g., the limit on the 400 series in Ontario is 100km/h, so average speed is
perhaps 120 in inter-urban sections, and speeds up to 140 are not rare. I'm
almost sure that if the limit were 120km/h, most of these numbers would also
increase accordingly, perhaps not in a linear fashion. This is how we humans
think, subconsciously. The creators of the speed limits know this well, so they
know that if they set a limit of 100, cars will be going faster. However, they
also know that almost no one will be going 180.
Speed limits as a traffic calming measure are very much disputed. Most people drive on the freeway about as fast as they are comfortable with. Most police will not enforce speeding among traffic going over the limit, but generally at the same pace. Usually, on open road, most traffic goes about 75-80 mph (120-130 km/h). Where I am from, the speed limit is generally 70 mph (110 km/h). Most people go about 5-10 over the limit, however, on the turnpikes, where it is 75 mph (120 km/h), while I will go 85 mph (137 km/h), most people still only go 75 to 80.
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Old February 26th, 2007, 06:28 AM   #43
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I think that speed limits work indeed. For example, in order to get to my university I have to drive 30 km on a well-maintained motorway that has a speed limit of 105 km/h. I happen to drive there at the time when major traffic is gone and the road is pretty much clear. Because of the speed limit, I rarely go over 140 km/h, but if there was no speed limit, I would drive as fast as 160-170 because I feel it is safe. I was ticketed twice on this road for speeding, and everytime the cop asked me about my speed, I answered "reasonable and prudent for given conditions." It didn't help me get out of the ticket on the spot though, but at least they didn't attempt to give me a lecture as it happened once in Idaho
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Old February 26th, 2007, 06:36 AM   #44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex Von Königsberg View Post
I think that speed limits work indeed. For example, in order to get to my university I have to drive 30 km on a well-maintained motorway that has a speed limit of 105 km/h. I happen to drive there at the time when major traffic is gone and the road is pretty much clear. Because of the speed limit, I rarely go over 140 km/h, but if there was no speed limit, I would drive as fast as 160-170 because I feel it is safe. I was ticketed twice on this road for speeding, and everytime the cop asked me about my speed, I answered "reasonable and prudent for given conditions." It didn't help me get out of the ticket on the spot though, but at least they didn't attempt to give me a lecture as it happened once in Idaho
Ha, but then again, you have superior (no sarcasm at all) European driving skills, and experience on the Autobahn. I don't think most Americans would be as comfortable at those high speeds due to their lack of experience with high-skill driving, and would tend to go slower, even in clear conditions.
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Old February 26th, 2007, 07:22 AM   #45
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Well, I was not really giving an opinion on whether speed limits are good or bad,
nor what they should be. In fact, I believe that on well-maintained high-standard
highways, speed limits in North America should be higher than they currently are.

My main point was that while many (most?) people speed, the average speed
of traffic more or less is proportional to the speed limit. So while on a 100km/h
road almost no one goes 100, the average speed is still lower than if the limit
were higher.

I think a more dynamic system should be in place. There are always people who
abuse privileges and would not go "as fast as conditions allow", and so legal
speed limits do make sense in my opinion. However, limits should be imposed
more cleverly. So, I think a busy expressway through a big city can have a
lower limit, to allow the police to stop people who do stupid things, while
there indeed is no reason to impose the same limit on an empty well-maintained
inter-urban stretch of the same highway. Real-time dynamic speed limits are
also employed in many places, even though I don't know whether they are
actually necessary.
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Old February 26th, 2007, 08:07 AM   #46
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Denmark has a speedlimit on 130km/h... the normal cruise speed is ( if the traffic allows it ) about 140km/h...
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Old February 26th, 2007, 08:35 AM   #47
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With a radar detector you can get away with anything...I went up to 140 mph (225 Km/h) a few years ago (I wasn't driving).
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Old February 26th, 2007, 08:51 AM   #48
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The speed limit here is around 65 mph (almost 110 km/h), although nobody really pays attention to it...I see people driving almost 150 km/h at times.

I don't know, sometimes it's hard to stay on the speed limit, when you're the only one on the road. But a lot of roads these days are detected by radar, and there are always police hiding in the side, so I wouldn't do it often.
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Old February 26th, 2007, 09:34 AM   #49
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In Greece, the speed limit on highways is 120km/h, on all roads out of residential places is 90km/h and inside residential places 50km/h.

All those speed limits can be changed if a signs says so, I.E higher speed limit on highway that i ve seen is 140km/h.

As for trucks i m a little confused, but i believe it is 90 km/h(on highways).
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Old February 26th, 2007, 04:13 PM   #50
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I'm just glad they dont have speed cameras here in America yet... I hear horror stories about Britain... =/
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Old February 26th, 2007, 08:54 PM   #51
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So in other countries with posted speed limits - what's the situation with people actually following those rules?

In Illinois, the speed limit is 105 KM/HR. Throughout the country though, the speed most people drive is generally around 15 KM/HR above the speed limit, up to a limit - which seems to be around 120 KM/HR.

Hence in Illinois, when I drive through the non-urban areas of the state, I always set the cruise control at 120 KM/HR and am almost always going the average speed. 50 cars might pass me, and I might pass 50 others. The police will normally not pull you over unless you're going more than 15 KM/HR over the speed limit.

In Iowa, the speed limit is 112 KM/HR, yet I tend to keep it around 120 KM/HR when I get to that state, and am still going right at the average of traffic.

They've done many studies on speed limits in this country (since there are 50 states with their own speed laws, and the country depends on personal autos so much)

I read a study where they tested 227 different locations with set speed limits gathering how fast people will generally travel. The speeds were then lowered or raised on all of these streches......and on all 227 of them people kept driving the same speed as before. They concluded far and away that people will drive the "comfortable and efficient" speed for that particular road and situation. Obviously people out there drive way too slow on interstates, and more often, way too fast. Generally though, 115-120KM/HR on rural interstates is what people will drive, regardless of the posted speed limit.

I think you could probably bump this up a little out west though, where the traffic is very sparse, the roads are very straight, and there are little or no towns/exits along the interstates. In these barron areas, it's normal to see people driving 130-140KM/HR.

I use to always drive 130-135KM/HR on all interstates, but after getting 3 tickets finally slowed down a little (actually, all 3 tickets were on city streets, not interstates, so I never actually got in trouble going the 130).

Some quotes from the study:

"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."

"Raising speed limits by 5, 10, or 15 mi/h (8, 16, or 25 km/h) at the rural and urban sites had a minor effect on vehicle speeds. In other words, an increase in the posted speed limit did not create a corresponding increase in vehicle speeds."

"Is slower really safer? Not on our rural highways it isn't. Again, federal and state studies have repeatedly shown that the folks most likely to get in an accident are the ones driving at speeds significantly below the average speed of traffic. In fact, the safest motorists, in terms of avoiding accidents, are those who are driving 5 mph to 10 mph above the average speed of traffic. "

"You have probably seen those insurance company ads bemoaning the carnage and higher rates sure to follow, if speed limits are raised on rural highways. Do you know what percentage of all accidents occur on highways posted at 65 miles per hour? The answer is 2 percent."



Anyway, a lot of writing, but still generally interesting. Iowa FINALLY because the last state west of the Mississippi River to raise it's limits to at least 112 KM/HR last year.
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Old February 26th, 2007, 09:18 PM   #52
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120km/h on a rural interstate is logically more accepted than 105km/h. That's really a caterpillar speed...

I think speed limits must agree on the motorway's design speed, which is mostly 140km/h with a marge of 10 - 20km/h, so 160km/h shouldn't be a problem on rural interstates. But i can imagine that wouldn't be good for fuel usage, so i say; a general 130km/h (80MPH) speed limit on all US rural Interstates.

By the way, do US states have a welcome sign with speed limits on their state borders, like in Europe? If they don't, you need so many more speed limit signs, because there are so many different limits. In European countries, the speed limit is always the national max. unless posted otherwise.
If you are on some rural interstate, you don't know if you can drive 65,70,75 or 80 MPH, unless posted all the time.

Some more uniform approach should be nice.
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Old February 26th, 2007, 10:15 PM   #53
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Quote:
So in other countries with posted speed limits - what's the situation with people actually following those rules?
Well good point, in greece if u drive on a highway u ll notice some speed freaks around, a lot of them are driving with insane speeds such as 190+kmph, ofc if the road is quite empty, else as i said the rule is 120kmph, but most of the cars are moving with 140-150kmph speeds.
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Old February 26th, 2007, 10:34 PM   #54
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OK, thus Germany is the only developed country without speed limit!
Besides, the world's highest limit (when existing & not considering experimetal sections) is 150kph in the italian highways.
i'm very happy to live in germany . to drive at night to the disco ( ~100km ) don't take a long time at 200 km/h
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Old February 26th, 2007, 11:47 PM   #55
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Quote:
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120km/h on a rural interstate is logically more accepted than 105km/h. That's really a caterpillar speed...

I think speed limits must agree on the motorway's design speed, which is mostly 140km/h with a marge of 10 - 20km/h, so 160km/h shouldn't be a problem on rural interstates. But i can imagine that wouldn't be good for fuel usage, so i say; a general 130km/h (80MPH) speed limit on all US rural Interstates.

By the way, do US states have a welcome sign with speed limits on their state borders, like in Europe? If they don't, you need so many more speed limit signs, because there are so many different limits. In European countries, the speed limit is always the national max. unless posted otherwise.
If you are on some rural interstate, you don't know if you can drive 65,70,75 or 80 MPH, unless posted all the time.

Some more uniform approach should be nice.

Yes, all states have a welcome sign, and there are speed limit signs right inside the borders. There are normally speed limit signs every 15KM (or so) along the Interstate. So, even if you drive through 400 KM of interstates in one state and limit never changes, you'll see 20-25 small signs along the road posting the limit as a reminder.

Normally if you leave a state and enter one with a different speed limit, there will be flags on the new speed limit sign, or something alerting you to the change.

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Old February 26th, 2007, 11:58 PM   #56
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris1491 View Post
120km/h on a rural interstate is logically more accepted than 105km/h. That's really a caterpillar speed...

I think speed limits must agree on the motorway's design speed, which is mostly 140km/h with a marge of 10 - 20km/h, so 160km/h shouldn't be a problem on rural interstates. But i can imagine that wouldn't be good for fuel usage, so i say; a general 130km/h (80MPH) speed limit on all US rural Interstates.

By the way, do US states have a welcome sign with speed limits on their state borders, like in Europe? If they don't, you need so many more speed limit signs, because there are so many different limits. In European countries, the speed limit is always the national max. unless posted otherwise.
If you are on some rural interstate, you don't know if you can drive 65,70,75 or 80 MPH, unless posted all the time.

Some more uniform approach should be nice.
The US isn't centralized like most European countries. In Texas, depending on where you are, the rural limit is 70 (110), 75 (120), or 80 (130). Much of this comes from lobbying from municipalities, who tend to have a lot of say-so in state legislatures. Many states do have speed limit signs at the borders, however, it's nice to have reminder signs posted as often as they are in the US, since they can help remind you if you've managed to go too fast while not paying attention to speed.
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Old February 27th, 2007, 02:52 AM   #57
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Yeah, the interstates pull the whole nation together --- but most highways are just state or federal highways built LONG ago.

It gets complicated for people from other countries because we have FIFTY states that are basically building and maintaining their own highways by themselves. It's like having 50 little countries in control of their own roads except for the actual interstates. You get general cooperation at the borders on where roads should go, splitting the cost of bridges over rivers that divide states - but otherwise each states highways operate internally more than having the whole country in mind. That's what interstates are for.
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Old February 27th, 2007, 08:35 AM   #58
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Once I drove on US-95 from Nevada into Oregon. It is a two-lane carriageway in the middle of nowhere with the daily average traffic of 100 cars at most. Literally. However, it has an exceptional quality and a speed limit of 112 km/h on Nevada side. Once you cross into Oregon, the road doesn't change a bit and it is still a middle of nowhere, but the speed limit becomes 90 km/h. It has been a desert some 50 km before Oregon, and it will be 60 km of desert further into Oregon. Nevertheless, 22 km/h drop
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Old February 27th, 2007, 12:36 PM   #59
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90 on a freeway? Usually freeway speed limits are never that low unless they're in urban areas aren't they?
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Old February 27th, 2007, 02:44 PM   #60
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90 on a freeway? Usually freeway speed limits are never that low unless they're in urban areas aren't they?
he's talking about the US-95. I think this is just a highway.

90km/h is always faster than rural roads in The Netherlands, by far the most rural roads have speed limits of 60 or 80km/h, but there are some exceptions which have 100km/h, mostly in the north and east.
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