Do you ever wonder why we have speed limits? We have speed limits because of the believed risk involved when driving. Speed limits are not only designed for maximum speeds but also for minimum speeds. Ultimately, they are designed for what is believed to be the safety of the driver and the drivers around you.
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The article below questions the purpose of speed limits and whether or not speed limits really affect risks when driving.
Would we speed if we did not have speed limits?
Many individuals believe that, if drivers are not given strict rules on how to drive, then there would be mayhem. However, most people have common sense and know what a comfortable and safe driving speed is, so would we really drive at an unsafe speed if given the freedom?
Oddly enough, there is only one country that does not require speed limits on certain highways.
This country would of course be Germany, and the highway would be the infamous Autobahn.
The Autobahn allows drivers to drive at any speed they like. However, the average speed of a driver on the Autobahn is 80 miles per hour. If this is the average speed, then most individuals, left to their own decision making, would most likely still drive at a safe rate.
In fact, most drivers do drive at their own comfortable speed. They subconsciously judge the traffic around them and adjust to the speeds others are driving. Haven’t you ever gotten pulled over by the police and had no idea that you were speeding, because you were simply driving with the flow of traffic?
Do we speed with speed limits?
Of course we speed with designated speed limits. In fact, the reason why many highways increased their speed limit to 70 mph was due to the fact that almost no one drove 55 mph on major highways.
When every individual is going at least 70 mph on a highway and there are only a few people driving 55 mph, then the flow of traffic becomes dangerous. Speed limits are then increased to ensure a safe flow of traffic.
In Australia, individuals are ticketed more often for going too slow, because they cause a risk to the individuals around them.
Are there any good uses for speed limits?
There are definitely many benefits to establishing speed limits. Most of the time speed limits are beneficial on two-lane roads. You have to establish a set speed for the safety of everyone on the road. After all, you don’t want to cause one of the worst freeway pileups of all time. However, the rate should be determined to accommodate the majority of drivers.
Another obvious place that proves speed limits are beneficial is in school zones. Unfortunately, children do not always look both ways before they cross a street, and are often unaware of their surroundings. The reason for slow speeds in school zones is to protect the children going to, and coming from, school.
Lastly, speed limits benefit our government and insurance agencies. Without speed limits, tickets could not be written generating millions of dollars for many state and county governments. This money helps pay for law enforcement, road improvements, and, in some instances, keeps the tiny town that you sped through alive!
Speed limits benefit our car insurance providers, as they can charge higher amounts for individuals who have multiple driving infractions. This can protect the agency against taking a risk by insuring these individuals.
Do speed limits really lower fatality rates?
According to the National Motorist Association, fatality rates do not increase when individuals speed.
Vehicle fatalities that result from speeding only make up 30% of deadly accidents.
It is important to understand that this does not mean that it was the speeding that caused the accident.
The speed limits on most highways have increased over the last 100 years, but accident fatality rates continue to drop. This is due to a number of factors including the improved safety in vehicle and highway construction. It is also because of studies that have proven that if speed limits are established at a rate of the average of what 85% of the people are driving, it will be a safe speed.
Do lower speed limits save gas?
Lower speed limits do not necessarily save gas. You can get the best gas mileage driving at a consistent speed for a consistent amount of time. The speed that the vehicle is driven does not impact this rule.
The most important thing to remember is to drive at a speed that does not impair the safety of yourself or the people around you. This is why a speed limit has been established. We might not always agree with the number, but we still have to obey the law.
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