Stick to Speed Limits

An everyday system, TM, is a simple, commonsense solution to an everyday problem, grounded by a pun or metaphor. Propose/discuss new systems here.
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infoproj
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Stick to Speed Limits

Post by infoproj » Sat Dec 22, 2007 7:51 pm

Can't think of a snazzy title yet - '"The Speed's the Limit" or something equally cringeworthy.

In the UK speeding and congestion on the roads is abysmal. Everyone thinks speeding is bad, congestion is bad - but they only want other people to slow down. There are a large number of speed or 'safety' caermas being erected, many of which are being burnt down or vandalised.

People invest large sums of money in 'Road Angels' or other radar detectors and generally go to great lengths so that they can speed, use gas guzzlers and like.

Yet there is also a growing 'Green' movement and general environmental awareness. Hypocrisy in action.

My simple, everyday proposal to go some way to tackling speeding, pollution and rising fuel costs (and it is suitably cheap and low-tech):

STICK TO SPEED LIMITS.

That's it. Without exception. In a hurry - set off earlier.

Benefits:

- No speeding tickets EVER.
- No eternal remorse should the worst happen and someone gets injured or worse (well none as far as your excess speed was concerned at least)
- Less pollution. Check your fuel computer when you stick to speed limits - the results are quite surprising.
- Less wear and tear on your car. A friend has the same car as me but his is always in the garage - he thrashes it everywhere. Drive gently and your car will thank you.
- Statistically less chance of an accident.
- Less road rage. When I stop racing around in a frenzy I just accept the road conditions and driver in front's speed. I gain patience and calm.
- No outlay on fancy gadgets just to allow you to break the law (some people are just twisted).

Disadvantages:

- Passengers may think you are nerdy (who cares?)
- Tailgaters. They are a big problem and try to bully you out of the way and generally take your speed as being antagonistic. I've had people gesturing me to pull over for a fist fight and numerous cars overtaking on a blind bend as a result of this. Obviously I would be the cause of any resulting accident!

So there you go. Another state-the-obvious lesson in common sense that most people just don't seem to get.

Sorry if this is just plain dull but I felt like spreading the word! Thanks for listening.

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reinhard
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Post by reinhard » Thu Dec 27, 2007 3:13 pm

Not dull at all. Very intriguing, in fact.

I'm not much of a driver at all, so not, big picture, much of a speeder, but I have to admit, my virtue in this regard is mostly due to lack of temptation.

I've heard a lot of these arguments before, but I haven't seen hard statistics. To win me (and others) over, it would be very helpful to know: what are the actual average fuel savings of driving 55 or 65 mph vs. 75 or 85? How much less likely is an accident, etc? (perhaps following the speed limit when no one else is is actually dangerous) What is the projected personal/societal/financial/environmental/medical cost over a lifetime of such behavior vs. speeding (presumably does have the benefit of getting you somewhere faster, which, though maybe not paramount, does need to be considered somehow). If I'm going to be honked at or worse, I at least want to have a smug smile on my face and not have to wonder whether I'm risking road rage without compelling evidence. I kinda sorta think it makes sense to do what you propose, but if I'm going to be mocked/threatened with physical violence, I'd really like to *know.*

If anyone knows of any good stats, please post them here. I'll do a little digging myself later.

So I'm very sympathetic. I agree that it's irritating how much green moralizing is simply posturing, and that simple, seemingly obviously effective (but uncool) solutions are eschewed. But human nature, irritating though it may be, is what it is, and only an appeal to vanity (through a well grounded feeling of knowing better) is going to (maybe) overcome the vanity of wanting to go fast.

Reinhard

infoproj
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Post by infoproj » Thu Dec 27, 2007 8:34 pm

Cheers. This is not some personal 'crusade' or anything - far from it. I used to be pretty reckless when I drove, but being older (and now a parent) you start to see things differently.

Just a suggestion of a new everyday habit which could make a difference perhaps? Anyhow, it's up to the individual.

I'll see if I can think up some more generally acceptable suggestions!

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reinhard
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Post by reinhard » Thu Dec 27, 2007 9:36 pm

Don't get me wrong -- I find your proposal very acceptable, at least, the sane and rational part of me does. And I'm confident that the stats will bear out what you suggest. But for the sane and rational part of me to prevail, stats will help.

Here are the results of some off the cuff googling (not very scientific, but a start):

from:

http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/driveHabits.shtml
While each vehicle reaches its optimal fuel economy at a different speed (or range of speeds), gas mileage usually decreases rapidly at speeds above 60 mph.

As a rule of thumb, you can assume that each 5 mph you drive over 60 mph is like paying an additional $0.20 per gallon for gas.
But according to:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Maximum_Speed_Law
The 55 mph limit reduced gasoline consumption, but by how much remains debatable. With pundits from the left and right citing various biased sources, it is still unclear the total economic loss or benefit of the 1995 repeal of the 55/65 speed limit.
and perhaps even more compellingly:
In "The Way We Was," a teenage Homer Simpson prepares for a debate on the 55 mph speed limit, arguing that, "Sure, it'll save a few lives, but millions will be late!"
Reinhard

infoproj
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Post by infoproj » Fri Jan 25, 2008 10:00 pm

I realise that I may have painted myself as a humourless road safety campaigner here but, truth is, I was as bad as the next guy when I drove. Sometimes I still can be - need to practice what I preach more. :oops:

I do a bit of fitness cycling so you get to see some, erm, interesting driving over here! Also I became a parent and we know what that can do to your perspective on life.

Reason I suggested this was as a way of getting a habit going that would lead to good personal things (such as fuel savings, no speeding fines etc.) and, as a by product, good citizen type things (moral high ground kind of stuff).

All my findings are purely anecdotal btw, I really don't have the time or need to go googling for contradictary eveidence.

Anyhow, as Frasier would say, thanks for listening.

Spook
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Post by Spook » Mon Jan 28, 2008 11:44 am

Good idea, but I can think of two problems...

Firstly, I'd have real trouble sticking to it on motorways. I personally think 80 mph is a safe speed on motorways (in good driving conditions, light traffic, etc).

Secondly, I wouldn't want to start paying undue attention to the speedometer, as I think this would have a negative affect on my driving as I'd be paying less attention to the road. I think this sort of thinking might encourage people to trust their instincts less, and perhaps even drive too fast on some roads.

For example, driving at 30 mph on narrow residential streets, with parked cars either side - I'd consider this pretty reckless, but it wouldn't be speeding.

In a nutshell, I'm just worried that concentrating too hard on maintaining the speed limit might reduce the amount of attention that I'm able to pay to maintaining a safe speed.

infoproj
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Post by infoproj » Thu Jan 31, 2008 10:36 pm

Good point re concentrating on speedo - however aiming to keep the speed should be sufficient - not necessarily talking about anally-pedantic monitoring.

I have cruise control which helps in these situations!

afeman
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Post by afeman » Wed Feb 13, 2008 7:25 pm

I started doing this back when I had a car (about a year ago). I never really found myself obsessing about the speedometer, and as mentioned cruise control contributed to that. Also, I found that there were a lot of likeminded people in the right lane that I hadn't really noticed before, so most of the time there wasn't a big problem with speed differential.

Concerning gas milage, supposedly it really drops off around 60 for most cars. In my Camry I'm pretty sure I gained nearly 5mpg between fillups (mostly highway, YMMV, ha ha).

The only comment I've gotten was from my mom, the coffee drinking, cell-phone using BMW driver from whom I learned to steer with my knees: She said she felt very secure when I was driving, like I was just driving and paying attention and not trying to make it a race.

Nowadays I've reverted to a bicycle, my usual transportation mode, and I think that might contribute to the habit of mindfulness.

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Blithe Morning
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Post by Blithe Morning » Wed Apr 16, 2008 1:49 pm

CNN did the math on how slowing down saves gas.

I've started accelerating more slowly and driving at the speed limit which was always about 5 mph too slow for me. My goal is to keep the tachomter below 2500 RPM. Not always doable, especially on the highway. Going 72 mph keeps it a shade under 3000.

But I too have noticed the slower people. Maybe they were always there.

W/r/t more mindful transportation, I am in the market for a "granny bike". No dropped racing handlebars, please. Maybe three gears to help me on the hills. A basket would be nice to carry my lunch. I'd like to use it to ride to work on the nice days.

http://money.cnn.com/2008/03/26/autos/s ... ney_latest

lmt2pt
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Post by lmt2pt » Wed Apr 16, 2008 4:46 pm

I drive the interstate (70 mph speed limit) daily. 30 miles there, 30 home. Dropping my speed down to the speed limit, which puts me in the middle lane, from my previous 80 mph driving increased my gas milage 7 mpg. On days I'm in no particular hurry I drive in the right lane with the old folks, going between 60 and 65 mph. That increased my milage by another 2 mpg. These numbers are true for my 2008 Hyundai Accent and similar numbers worked for my 1997 Saturn.

Oh, how I can't wait until there is more development near me! I miss being able to ride my bike to work or the store. I miss being able to walk to restaurants too!
Heather

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brownstudy
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Drive for distance, not speed

Post by brownstudy » Thu Apr 24, 2008 2:27 am

In addition to sticking to the speed limit, and if you don't want to be glancing at your speedometer all the time, keep a safe distance from the car in front of you instead.

I think (someone Google this for me) that when the car in front of you passes a landmark, count to yourself "one-mississippi, two-mississippi", at which point you should pass the same landmark.

This provides enough stopping distance in case of an emergency. It's arguably safer than just driving slower, though you'll probably do that naturally.
Mike Brown

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Blithe Morning
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Post by Blithe Morning » Sat May 03, 2008 12:19 am

So, both DH and I are driving much more "gently". Accelerating more slowly. Waiting for the car to set forward after shifting from reverse to drive. (It takes, oh, maybe two seconds) Going about 20 - 25mph on side streets. Taking my foot off the gas if the light four blocks ahead turns red (Why do I need to race up to a red light?). Keeping the tachometer under 2500.

Gas mileage up about 10%.

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Blithe Morning
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Post by Blithe Morning » Fri May 09, 2008 3:52 am

Second fill up with slightly higher gas mileage.

afeman
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Post by afeman » Wed May 14, 2008 1:22 pm

Ah, I remembered my catchy title for following the speed limit and other traffic laws:

Incivil obedience!

Haw!

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Blithe Morning
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Post by Blithe Morning » Wed May 21, 2008 12:28 am

Apparently, there is a name for this, although I haven't looked deeply enough to see if there is a nifty system: Hypermiling.

http://www.hypermiling.com/

YMMV :lol:

ohlittlejeannie
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speed limit

Post by ohlittlejeannie » Sun Aug 10, 2008 8:27 pm

Hey this is my first post!

I started driving the speed limit about 4 or 5 months ago when the gas price surged so high! Not only have I noticed a difference in my mileage by driving the speed limit and driving "gently", a wonderful benefit has been my enjoyment level while commuting the 23 miles to and from work each day. I just leave about 10 minutes earlier to allow plenty of time, and thus I savor my alone time in the car, taking in the scenery along the way. I now NOTICE things I did not notice before because my focus is not on hurrying. I'm driving safer because I am not weaving in and out of traffic to try to get to the front of the pack!! I don't care if the guy behind me gets impatient....I just pull over if I am able to and let him sail on by. It IS amazing how impatient so many drivers have become. Much easier for MY blood pressure.

And, it IS nice not having that anxious feeling in my gut when I spot a police car.....I KNOW I won't be pulled over!!

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reinhard
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Post by reinhard » Mon Aug 11, 2008 1:37 pm

Welcome, ohlittlejeannie!

I like the term "hypermiling." Thanks for posting it, Blithe (and sorry it somehow escaped my attention till now).

Reinhard

Chris Graeme
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Post by Chris Graeme » Tue Aug 12, 2008 2:44 pm

Hi there

some relevant ideas here:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/7530652.stm

hammatime
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Post by hammatime » Mon Apr 27, 2009 3:37 am

I ride a bike whenever I can because I love it and it makes up for my "bad driving habits".

For the environment, speeding is not too friendly, but in terms of safety I'd argue that most times it is safer than switching cruise control on and disconnecting your mind from the road.

When I drive 90mph on large trafficless highways, I am not being reckless. My car is light, has upgraded ventilated brakes, sticky sport tires and great handling. I am constantly checking my mirrors to make sure there is no police car trying to creep up on me and thus give 100% of my attention to the surrounding vehicles. I have never had an accident and only a few speeding tickets and have never bought a radar detector because I know it would convince me to keep my guard down.

Accidents are caused by bad and reckless drivers, not by speeders. I'd argue the majority of accidents are caused by inattentiveness. I know my car's handling limits and can feel it all the time at my finger tips. I also always assume other cars on the road are controlled by complete morons who will veer into me at any time, so I make sure to expect the worst when I pass them. Driving is one of my hobbies and I can't bear to turn it into a mindless routine.

I'm sorry I'm ranting, but what I'm trying to say is that a lot of speeders are much safer drivers because the fear of police and the andrenelin keeps their minds really focused. All those people with cruise control are thinking about work and day dreaming. Just my 2 cents.

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