Comments about ‘The winners and the losers’

Return to article »

Published: Saturday, Feb. 2 2013 12:00 a.m. MST

Comments
  • Oldest first
  • Newest first
  • Most recommended
wrz
Ogden, UT

"Officials said troopers will keep an eye out for people driving too slowly in the fast lane."

In the first place, there's no such thing as a 'fast lane.' There's a 'passing lane' which you should not be in unless passing or when there's high traffic volume.

Secondly, if you're in the HOV lane driving the speed limit there's no way you can move over if someone is speeding and comes up behind you. He has to cool his heels until he gets to the dashed white line. I have no obligation to get out of a speeder's way in the HOV.

The speed limit is just that... the speed limit. If it is to be ignored (by cops and drivers alike), why have a speed limit? I drive the speed limit in any lane I choose, except the passing lane. If a cop wants to pull me over and give me a lecture, I would lecture him right back. And if he gives me a ticket, I'll take it to court... and win. Hopefully, the judge will lecture the cop as well for ticketing a law-abider and ignoring the speeders.

Pops
NORTH SALT LAKE, UT

The safest speed one can drive on the freeway is the prevailing speed, regardless of what the speed limit might be. If you're driving 10 mph slower than everyone else, then you're the one who is creating a safety hazard even if you're at the speed limit. If you lack the equipment or the skill to keep up, then perhaps there are options other than the freeway that would work better.

The carrying capacity of a freeway is a function of spacing and speed of vehicles. There is a point at which everyone driving too slowly, even if "too slowly" = "speed limit", will cause the carrying capacity to be exceeded, resulting in a parking lot, when driving 5 over would keep traffic moving.

What would be really nice is a system of electronic signs to pace traffic to keep things moving, such as one might see on the Autobahn. I'm not sure the concept of a "speed limit" makes sense on a modern limited-access highway with modern equipment that is capable of safely traveling much faster than current speed limits. Speed limits keep surface streets safe - not so much on the freeway.

Mr. Bean
Ogden, UT

@Pops:
"The carrying capacity of a freeway is a function of spacing and speed... There is a point at which everyone driving too slowly, even if 'too slowly' = 'speed limit,' will cause the carrying capacity to be exceeded, resulting in a parking lot, when driving 5 over would keep traffic moving."

Using your theory, going 100 MPH or more would dramatically increase carrying capacity... but everyone would be likely be crippled, maimed or dead from the resultant pile-ups.

If you need to be somewhere on time, leave earlier so you can drive the speed limit or less thus saving lives... and the lives you save may be that of your wife, your kids, or yourself. Put that on for size.

And, by the way, the safe spacing between vehicles is about one car length for every ten miles of speed. Anything less and you're up the tailpipe of the guy in front of you if he has to suddenly stop.

Freeways are not race ways. If you want that join the Indy 500.

Nor are they a place to gamble with your life. Many have and many have died from it.

wrz
Ogden, UT

@Pops:
"The safest speed one can drive on the freeway is the prevailing speed, regardless of what the speed limit might be."

The safest freeway speeds are the speed limits or less. Since everyone uses, and is authorized to use, freeways the safest speed is calculated (by traffic experts) to accommodate all types of drivers from the very best on down.

"If you're driving 10 mph slower than everyone else, then you're the one who is creating a safety hazard even if you're at the speed limit."

Try telling that to the cop if someone dies from an accident... Someone could go to jail... and should.
"If you lack the equipment or the skill to keep up, then perhaps there are options other than the freeway that would work better."

Freeways were NOT built for just a few folks who can drive at breakneck speeds. Freeways are for everyone with a driver's license.

"Speed limits keep surface streets safe - not so much on the freeway."

Too funny. Freeways are where most deaths from speeding occurs. I think you're attitude shows lack of regard for the safety of others... including yourself.

Pops
NORTH SALT LAKE, UT

Yes, going 100 mph would increase carrying capacity. I can't see anywhere I said that might be sane.

You all missed the point. The safest speed is the prevailing speed. If everyone is going 10 under, that's the safest speed. If everyone is going 10 over, that's the safest speed. I've been on I-5 in Southern California in a driving rain, bumper-to-bumper traffic in all three lanes with going 80-85. I thought it was crazy, but I was young, I was driving a decent car, and I wasn't driving beyond my ability. But would it have been safer to drive 75 when everyone else was going 85? Not really. I would have died in about 15 seconds. And if I didn't think I (or my car) couldn't handle it, I would have gotten off the freeway. (If I was smart, I would have just gotten off.)

If you want to be really safe, don't drive. If you want to minimize risk while driving on the freeway, drive the same speed as everyone else.

Mr. Bean
Ogden, UT

Pops:
"... going 100 mph would increase carrying capacity. I can't see anywhere I said that might be sane."

If all drivers were like Al Unser, 100 MPH would be a piece-a-cake. But we're not. The freeway is for everyone who has a driver's license and thus authorized to be there... not just you or others who feel they can speed.

"You all missed the point. The safest speed is the prevailing speed."

Not so. The safest speed is that calculated by traffic experts, written into the law, and posted on the roadside.

"If everyone is going 10 under, that's the safest speed. If everyone is going 10 over, that's the safest speed."

What you say is probably true. But, authorities who manage the government-owned freeway say the speed limit is the safest speed. When people disregard the law, lives are lost. In 2010, approximately 2,500 lives were lost from speeding.

"If you want to be really safe, don't drive."

Freeways are for all legal drivers, not just folks like you. And the speed to assure ALL are safe who drive is the speed limit or less.

Pops
NORTH SALT LAKE, UT

You know, I think we're talking about different things. In an ideal world everybody absolutely would observe the speed limit. In the real world, when I drive up the on-ramp to the freeway my mind is not occupied with my speedometer, but on the actual and current conditions on the freeway, which includes the speed and relative positions of other vehicles, and merging into traffic rather than obstructing or disrupting the flow.

Freeway speed limits attempt to achieve a balance between risk and utility. As we've acquired better driving skills and have improved the equipment and the roads over the years, fatalities have gone down at the same time that average speeds have gone up. Speed doesn't kill - crashing does. Don't crash. Don't cause others to crash because you're driving too slow. Don't cause others to crash because you're driving too fast. Go with the flow.

Cincinnatus
Kearns, UT

"The safest speed is that calculated by traffic experts, written into the law, and posted on the roadside."

Funny, considering that freeway speed limits have constantly been changing.

Prior to 1973, states set their own speed limits. Many states were at 75 mph. Some had no limits set on certain roads. The national, 55 mph speed limit was set in 1973, NOT due to safety concerns. The Federal government was reacting to oil price spikes and trying to conserve oil by reducing speeds. It never worked as effectively as they'd hoped.

Speed limits were partially given back to the states in the 80's, and many rural freeway limits rose to 65, urban limits staying at 55. In 1995, full control over limits were returned to the states, and most urban limits were raised to 65, rural limits raised to 70 or higher.

In other words, often times these limits were political causes, not being calculated by safety experts. If safety is the main reason, why have some stretches of the SAME road gone from 55 to 80 mph in the last 20 years?

to comment

DeseretNews.com encourages a civil dialogue among its readers. We welcome your thoughtful comments.
About comments