Speed Limits

If the phrase, “I thought of it more as a suggestion,” applies to anything, it applies to speed limits*…in some places. Some speed limits are so arbitrarily low that there is no way that a sane person can drive there at that speed, yet others are so high that no person who values their life even a tiny bit could drive at that.

For example, take FM-518/Broadway (those of you that do not reside in Pearland, feel free to replace this with any other road that has an unrealistically low speed limit) has a speed limit in most parts of 45 MPH. Other than for the times that I was in driving school or when my dad was peering over at the speedometer as I drove and telling (<–euphemism) me to slow down, I have never been on 45 for more than the probably 30 seconds it takes to get above it…

The reason: the traffic is going much faster than that…I’m actually less safer driving at 45 and ticking off the guy behind me than I am while driving at higher speeds and conforming with traffic.

The same thing applies to most highways. Sam Houston Toll Road for example, you will get honked at if you stay at the limit of 60…

Of course this doesn’t mean that speed limits are always wrong, in construction areas they are usually very helpful in getting people in and out in safe manner…but in most places, they become a nuisance.

So the simple solution to the problem…AUTOBAHN STYLE. Give the people the freedom to set the speed limits. If we can apply the assumptions of economics here (people are rational), we can say that this will work very well. Of course, whether or not people are rational is open for debate.

But if you think about it, nobody has a vested interest in injuring themselves, thus they will drive at a speed that they think they can go at without injuring themselves…

And this doesn’t mean that people should drive at speeds that are way too high for the road conditions (weather, amount of stop signs, red lights, pedestrians, etc), it’s just that they shouldn’t be bogged down my speed limits that don’t make very much sense…

*Please note: I am not encouraging speeding and therefore I am in no way responsible for any speeding tickets that you may get after reading this post.

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