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Misha
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Joined: Aug 02, 2006
Posts: 704
Location: McLean, VA, USA

PostPosted: Fri Dec 01, 2006 11:29 pm Reply with quote Back to top

Need for speed. One of the major forces moving the progress and one of the biggest addictions on this planet and around. You want to get from point A to point B as fast as possible. And you want to feel the joy of moving really fast, the joy of controlling the monster, even if you do not have any need to go from point A to point B. Those were the reasons automobile was invented in the first place. Those are the major reasons anyone buys the car. Those are the major goals for the majority of trips. Yet, if one goes too fast, one might never arrive. How fast is too fast, though?

This thing is big. No, it is huge. Worse, everyone has his own opinion on this. Even worse, official opinion on this does not seem to have any scientific (means thought through, logical, and supported by reproducible studies) grounds. Still, many people aggressively defend variations of the official opinion, and it just would not be there as official, if it has not been supported by a majority of people. So, I’m going to tell heretic things in this thread, and if somebody cannot tolerate any deviation from the official point of view, please do not read any further, you’d be disappointed. Just a disclaimer.

Official answer is simple – anything above speed limit is too fast, no matter what. Period, no questions asked. As soon as it can be proved your speed is above speed limit, you are wrong and guilty, and you get pulled over. As easy as that. Authorities claim they have more versatile answer, when they introduce clauses about adjusting your speed with the road conditions change, or about not going too slow in the left highway lane.

But did you ever see a cop pulling someone over for going just below speed limit on an icy road? Or a cop pulling over a retired teacher, who is driving 10 mph below limit in the left lane under ideal environment? I did not. And I do not believe in versatility of official answer, until I do see those kinds of things on the regular basis. About as frequent as regular speeding tickets.

Until then, we are on our own to try and figure out what is the maximum possible speed that is actually safe under given circumstances? And, given this maximum possible speed, how fast we actually want to drive right now?

By and large, there are three major variables to this safe speed equation – the driver, the car, and the road. BTW, this is why my forums are categorized this way. Let me talk about those variables in some detail.

The driver means everything related to driver – his knowledge, skills, experience, physical and mental shape, mood, focus on the task at hand, his judgment ability, his personality, etc.

The car means everything related to car – both in terms of design and shape, which allows or does not allow this particular car to drive at this particular speed. And this does not mean that car just can reach this speed, it means the car can maintain this speed with reasonable three-dimensional stability under given environment. It is not about engine at all (we have a joke in Russia: even a wardrobe can reach 200km/h if you let it slide down a big mountain), it is all about tires, suspension, steering, body stiffness - active safety in other words.

And the road means just that – road conditions, environment, everything outside the car that affects or might affect its movement and, therefore, influences our decision about safe speed. Driving on a fenced highway obviously dictates speed different from driving inside residential block, driving on an icy road during midnight snowstorm – different from driving on this same road on a warm, nice, and clear autumn noon, etc.

Our job as a driver is to constantly assess all those variables and decide what is the maximum safe speed for every one of them, and then to pick the lowest – this will give you the speed that is safe from all three points of view. In other words, the maximum speed a particular driver on particular moment in particular car on particular road part can safely drive. A professional racer on a new performance car on a nice warm day would drive about the speed of a pedestrian on a tight residential lane, because he just has almost no room to react if children suddenly run into the road in front of his car.

All this does not mean you have to drive exactly at the maximum safe speed. Most of the times an experienced driver will drive slower than this, in order to not to push himself, or his car, or environment to the limit, and to give himself some room for error. It usually depends on the current trip goal. If you were sightseeing, you probably would drive much slower, and if you were delivering your wife to the hospital, you probably would push it to the limit or even further, which is a mistake, BTW.
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arun
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Joined: Dec 25, 2009
Posts: 100

PostPosted: Tue Jan 05, 2010 3:18 pm Reply with quote Back to top

That russian joke was nice LOL . Its true . Speed not only depends on engine. Proper transmission,Tires etc is also necessary. Obtaining top speed is not at all an issue, maintaining speed and driving hard and safely is what matters.
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myownworld
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Joined: Jan 06, 2010
Posts: 485

PostPosted: Thu Jan 07, 2010 6:45 am Reply with quote Back to top

Also, a driver who drives tooooo slow is a hazard in his own way! (Certainly an irritant!)
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Misha
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Joined: Aug 02, 2006
Posts: 704
Location: McLean, VA, USA

PostPosted: Thu Jan 21, 2010 12:20 am Reply with quote Back to top

Oh MOW, it's a real hazard. The worse thing about it most people don't count it as a hazard, which makes it even more dangerous...
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myownworld
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 21, 2010 4:13 am Reply with quote Back to top

I know...and when you do manage to overtake them, giving them an exasperated look, they stare back in anger wondering what on earth is wrong with YOU!! Very Happy
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Misha
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Joined: Aug 02, 2006
Posts: 704
Location: McLean, VA, USA

PostPosted: Thu Jan 21, 2010 8:20 am Reply with quote Back to top

Actually some of them honk and flip a bird LOL. Which clearly show that at least some of them do this onpurpose to hold others from driving faster. Oh well, karma will take care of them, we should not worry Laughing
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SafeTraveler
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Joined: Aug 17, 2010
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 18, 2010 3:09 pm Reply with quote Back to top

Misha wrote:
All this does not mean you have to drive exactly at the maximum safe speed. Most of the times an experienced driver will drive slower than this, in order to not to push himself, or his car, or environment to the limit, and to give himself some room for error. It usually depends on the current trip goal. If you were sightseeing, you probably would drive much slower, and if you were delivering your wife to the hospital, you probably would push it to the limit or even further, which is a mistake, BTW.
And to add another point: an experienced traveler will always obey the speed limit because failing to do so makes the traveler liable for any accidents that occur, even if it would normally place the other traveler in the wrong. (With the exception of both drivers failing to obey the traffic laws at the same time.)

myownworld wrote:
Also, a driver who drives tooooo slow is a hazard in his own way!
A slow traveler is certainly a hazard to speeders, because they may be going at a speed that doesn't let them stop in time to avoid hitting them. It is also a hazard to anyone approaching them around a blind turn in the road. But the slow traveler would still be in the right if they were rear-ended, because whoever hits the other car is always in the wrong. (Unless the slow traveler was traveling beneath the minimum speed on the rare roads that have one.)

Speaking in general:

In regards to traveling beneath the speed limit, we should all be aware that the speed limit is not the speed minimum. On many roads it is legal to travel at any speed up to the speed limit that one wishes, and we should respect everyone's right to do so. Otherwise, aren't we foregoing our rights do the same ourselves? How else is one to safely watch for street names when GPS is not available?
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myownworld
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 18, 2010 5:59 pm Reply with quote Back to top

You make a good point about the difference in speed limit and speed minimum. I wonder though what the 'threshold' point at which someone has a right to drive slow and where he becomes a definite hazard really is..!

I suppose, a lot depends on the speed limit of a given road/lane. I mean, where it says, a limit of 50, someone crawling at the rate of 20 would definitely drive me up the wall! Conversely, in a lane with 20 speed limit, it wouldn't.

But yes, another important point raised about the necessity of driving slow without a GPS so as to read directions. Hell, nothing is worse than trying hard to focus on a sign board, esp. on unfamiliar routes and having people honk at you from behind! Confused
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SafeTraveler
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 19, 2010 1:49 pm Reply with quote Back to top

Quote:
You make a good point about the difference in speed limit and speed minimum. I wonder though what the 'threshold' point at which someone has a right to drive slow and where he becomes a definite hazard really is..!

Not an easy answer, because some states have vague minimum speed laws that aren't posted on the roads. However, these minimum speed laws only apply to highways, which is the only place you'll ever see the minimum speed posted anyway. Otherwise, the answer is that the minimum speed only exists if it is posted.

California Vehicle Code Section 22400: Minimum Speed Law
Quote:
(a) No person shall drive upon a highway at such a slow speed as to impede or block the normal and reasonable movement of traffic, unless the reduced speed is necessary for safe operation, because of a grade, or in compliance with law.

(b)No person shall bring a vehicle to a complete stop upon a highway so as to impede or block the normal and reasonable movement of traffic unless the stop is necessary for safe operation or in compliance with law.


North Carolina Vehicle Code Section 20‑141: Speed restrictions
Quote:
(c) Except while towing another vehicle, or when an advisory safe‑speed sign indicates a slower speed, or as otherwise provided by law, it shall be unlawful to operate a passenger vehicle upon the interstate and primary highway system at less than the following speeds:

(1) Forty miles per hour in a speed zone of 55 miles per hour.

(2) Forty‑five miles per hour in a speed zone of 60 miles per hour or greater.

These minimum speeds shall be effective only when appropriate signs are posted indicating the minimum speed.


Washington State Vehicle Code Section 46.61.425: Minimum speed regulation
Quote:
(1) No person shall drive a motor vehicle at such a slow speed as to impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic except when reduced speed is necessary for safe operation or in compliance with law: PROVIDED, That a person following a vehicle driving at less than the legal maximum speed and desiring to pass such vehicle may exceed the speed limit, subject to the provisions of RCW 46.61.120 on highways having only one lane of traffic in each direction, at only such a speed and for only such a distance as is necessary to complete the pass with a reasonable margin of safety.


New York State Vehicle Code Section 1181: Minimum speed regulations
Quote:
(a) No person shall drive a motor vehicle at such a slow speed as to impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic except when reduced speed is necessary for safe operation or in compliance with law.

(b) Whenever a minimum speed limit has been established as authorized in sections sixteen hundred twenty or sixteen hundred forty-two, no person shall drive at a speed less than such minimum speed limit except when entering upon or preparing to exit from the highway upon which such a minimum speed limit has been established, when preparing to stop, or when necessary for safe operation or in compliance with law.


These are all the links I could easily find, but there is evidence that other states have similar laws (just not indexed by Google or available online yet). Note their wording similarity: most will say that you cannot "impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic" (with the exception of North Carolina). (They are copying from the Uniform Vehicle Code in case you were wondering.) This description is so vague as to be pointless, and up to the interpretation of the police officer or judge. And I'd say that Mr. Police Officer and Honorable Judgey Wudgey are probably more interested in stopping the speeders that are getting people killed than they are stopping the slow pokes.
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myownworld
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Posts: 485

PostPosted: Thu Aug 19, 2010 5:46 pm Reply with quote Back to top

lol..! I see, the law is as vague about the minimum speed as people themselves are, hence the gray area in which which so many plod along!

All I understand from this information is that it's not exactly a crime to drive slow in a fast lane... (though cause for irritation no doubt!) and that speeders are generally considered more of a hazard than the slow trotters! OR they would've been more specific about minimum speed limit signs at the start of every road! Hmm....

Thank you for the great links though... if anything, I'll try not to roll my eyes next time I see someone crawling in a lane. Will just blame the ambiguity of the law and lack of specific directions! Wink
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SafeTraveler
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Joined: Aug 17, 2010
Posts: 29

PostPosted: Fri Aug 20, 2010 1:57 pm Reply with quote Back to top

Oh, you can still roll your eyes if you want. Unofficially, they shouldn't be in the left lane unless they are passing. And I agree with this, because that system seems to work well. I'd say that if one was to travel slow or at the speed limit, then one should stay out of the way of those in a hurry. There are two lanes, so this isn't hard to do and doesn't cause any undue difficulty.

There is only one exception: when they put an exit on the left, which forces the slow/speed limit travelers to have to get into the left/passing lane some time before the exit. I hate it when they do that.
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myownworld
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 20, 2010 6:53 pm Reply with quote Back to top

lol... thank god you're human, I was beginning to worry now! Wink

And yes, I completely agree that the different lanes are there for a purpose, and that those who want to speed on ahead have the choice to do so, but usually slow drivers are most exasperating on roads where there aren't lanes enough to overtake! And even if there are, as you pointed out, one has to stay on the left for an exit and hence be stuck behind a 'tortoise'! Confused [/i]

Not that I have anything against tortoises in general... perfectly harmless species, just saying.... Wink
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SafeTraveler
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Posts: 29

PostPosted: Mon Aug 23, 2010 11:41 am Reply with quote Back to top

myownworld wrote:
lol... thank god you're human, I was beginning to worry now!
lol. I can understand why you say that. As Einstein said, "We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them." I am trying to make the world a better place by thinking in new ways.

myownworld wrote:
Not that I have anything against tortoises in general... perfectly harmless species, just saying....
[Assuming that you equate a "tortoise" with a traveler doing considerably less than the speed limit, such as going 45 in a 55, etc.]

I understand. They can cause you to underestimate the duration of travel when you have calculated the duration using the typical speed of traffic, which almost always breaks the speed limit. The effect of this is worse on the two lane roads where passing is difficult or impossible. Some jobs are so inflexible that being late can endanger one's employment. (I highly recommend avoiding jobs like that when possible. Been there, done that, and hated the stress it added to my life.)

The only solution is to leave early enough to compensate for this eventuality, but how much time to add is difficult to estimate. Adding too much time causes you to arrive at your destination too early, which can be undesirable.

I recommend not calculating the duration of travel based on speeding, so that when you get stuck behind someone who is always doing the speed limit, you do not get mad at them for obeying the law. Try a test run while doing the speed limit the whole way to see what the duration is, then add a bit extra to compensate for those doing under the speed limit. That should give one a good working estimate, and is good practice. If your workplace is hostile enough to prevent you from entering early, bring a book with you to spend any extra time reading before going in.
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myownworld
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 23, 2010 7:23 pm Reply with quote Back to top

Ah, Einstein... fine words those.

I wonder if they have a job for someone good at driving therapy... sort of like a psychologist specializing in the mindset of drivers on the road! You could easily qualify for the job you know... Smile

On a serious note, what you're suggesting is basically a matter of discipline and organization and I agree that half of our road problems (and stress) would be reduced if only we stuck to those qualities.

Yes, leaving early for work/dates/meetings would solve so many problems, except... except how often do we find ourselves pressed for time... rushing out of the house a little too late... then finding a jam on the way... and knowing we'd never make it in time! The beeping horns, the frustrated attempts to overtake and over speeding are the natural result and only puts us at a risk for accidents. Yet, do we change our life styles and bad habits? Till it's too late, I'm afraid not... Confused
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newyorkdd
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Joined: Nov 10, 2009
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 11, 2011 1:56 am Reply with quote Back to top

I know...and when you do manage to overtake them, giving them an exasperated look, they stare back in anger wondering what on earth is wrong with YOU!!

Great answer...

*link snipped*
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