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Speed limit poll

Poll #1786625 Speed limit poll

On a British motorway, with good conditions and little traffic, what should the speed limit be in miles per hour?

Mean: 82.86 Median: 80 Std. Dev 14.36



( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 15th, 2011 06:06 am (UTC)
Mainly because my particular car doesn't really like a steady 70 and prefers either faster or slower (it's the same at 30 *sigh*.)
Oct. 15th, 2011 08:15 am (UTC)
Good conditions and light traffic, 90.

Other conditions, possibly less, so 80 might be a sensible all-round limit.
Oct. 15th, 2011 08:24 am (UTC)
I went for 80, because people tend to drive a little above the limit if the conditions are good anyway, and I found merging with an autobahn where the traffic is doing 90+ in an older car somewhat hair-raising.

(when I say older car, I mean pp's old MX5, not Helga Saab. I think Helga would be quite happy merging at 90, but the '5 took a long time about accelerating once above about 80)
Oct. 15th, 2011 08:30 am (UTC)
I remember a courtesy car we had at one time that we referred to as the 'sewing machine' and, not only wasn't it at all happy cruising at anything above, say 59 mph, it felt so tinny that we expected to be squashed flat by anything larger than a SMART.

That was one of the most hairraising motorway drives I have experienced... It was mainly the lack of acceleration. Put your foot to the floor all you wanted, it wouldn't accelerate fast enough to get you out of trouble, and you can imagine how the rest of the drivers treated it.
Oct. 15th, 2011 08:45 am (UTC)
People are alarmingly intolerant of the limits of other, slower machines.

I don't mind people cruising at whatever speed on an open road if they have the brakes, acceleration and reflexes to handle it, but if the guy in front of you is driving a banger or a classic car, then yes, their safe speed is going to be lower and it's daft not to respect that.

For that matter even if they are driving a faster car they may have reasons to not want to fly along like a bat out of hell. So far I have only once stopped to reprove someone who was tailgating me because I had the hounds in the car and was driving carefully (their centre of gravity is rather high) but it was enormously satisfying and as I get older and madder I will probably do it again. :-D (It was a teenage driver. He crumbled very pleasingly when I scolded him.)
Oct. 15th, 2011 09:12 am (UTC)
And we're back to my oft-repeated suggestion that everyone should carry placards wherever they go, in which they explain where they're going and any special circumstances. I've had several situations when I'd love to be able to display a notice in the back window reading, "Yes, I KNOW I'm going very slowly, but I've got two wowling cats and 100 fragile wine glasses in the car, so please be patient."

(There's a Hilary McKay novel in which just this happens. Nervous newly qualified driver is engaged in desperate, terrifying first solo trip, while 8 year old sister sits in the back scrawling explanatory messages to the drivers behind, who back off. I felt so very vindicated and triumphant when I read it.)
Oct. 15th, 2011 09:52 am (UTC)
I would totally support this. I'm not a driver myself, but I've been a passenger at both ends of this situation, as it were. (I also have cats who wowl in true championship style the moment you put them in a car, so I can particularly sympathise on that one.)

I am actually flabbergasted at how many otherwise calm and lovely people utterly transform as soon as they get behind the wheel of a car, and become a character with all the patience, thoughtfulness and empathy of a charging bull. I'm sure a few well-placed signs would help. You can't think the worst of another driver when they have a placard in their window like the one you mentioned!
Oct. 15th, 2011 11:51 am (UTC)
"He crumbled very pleasingly when I scolded him."

It probably didn't hurt that you were driving a Prodrive-modified Subaru Impreza Turbo at the time. In the non-verbal language spoken by the sort of yoofs who tailgate on country lanes, that says (quite loudly) "My car is not only awesome, it is f***in' hard. Your pathetic small hatchback makes it clear that your genitalia are undersized and you probably secretly listen to boy bands. Now...f*** off."
Oct. 15th, 2011 01:57 pm (UTC)
The problem with that car was that in the language of insurance companies it said 'I am automatically liable in any accident, even if the car was stationary at the time'. :-/
Oct. 15th, 2011 09:09 am (UTC)
My impression (as a passenger) is that most people do 80, anyway, so this would just be legalising a fait accompli. The thing is, if the limit was raised, would everyone then just drive at 90? I don't think so. I don't think people drive at 80 because they're frustrated and miserable unless they're exceeding the speed limit; I think they drive at 80 because it feels like a sensible speed for an open motorway in good conditions.
Oct. 15th, 2011 11:57 am (UTC)
Something that isn't an option in the poll is "Whatever speed you think is appropriate". The crime would be driving dangerously not driving safely and fast.

I think in an ideal world, where everyone was a good driver that would work. Unfortunately, we aren't in that world. I'd still like to try it though on some roads. After all, the Germans seem to manage, with pretty similar cars to what we drive. I would perhaps limit the no speed limit rule to cars that could cope with it and to experienced drivers.
Oct. 15th, 2011 02:12 pm (UTC)
One thing that always puzzles me is that, round here at least, the authorities exercise extreme proscriptiveness on A and B roads, but leave you free to exercise your discretion on minor roads. It's common to be forced to drive at 40 on a wide, straight, hazard-free A-road, only to turn off it onto a twisty, high hedged single track road with passing places, frequented by horses and walkers, and immediately be greeted with a derestricted sign. And, with the exception of a few idiots, most people do in fact drive on these roads at a sensible and appropriate speed.
(Deleted comment)
Oct. 15th, 2011 11:45 am (UTC)
Something that I could have asked as a follow-up question is "...and how fast can you comfortably drive your current car?"

As bunn mentions below, driving at 100mph in an MX-5 may have been legal on an unrestricted dual carriageway in Germany, but it was still a little nerve-wracking. In my 911, I'd be happy doing the same road at 120+.
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )