Safe Driving

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Steven Bjork

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Jun 24, 1992, 11:15:00 AM6/24/92
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In article <182...@pyramid.pyramid.com>
rte...@pyrman2.pyramid.com (Rex Tener) writes:

>Why doesn't the city just raise the speed limit on the expressways?

No matter what the speed limit is, a large number of folks
would go faster than that.

The biggest problem on Embarcadero (for example) is that people
average 40% greater than the posted limit. This makes it extremely
hard to cross this street except at a stoplight controlled
intersection.

On the freeway, you cannot drive in the manner recommended by the
California Drivers Handbook. This specifies one carlength per
ten MPH between you and the car ahead. If you try to leave this
much room, someone *will* cut you off and take that space.

Basically it is impossible to drive safely on the freeways in
the Bay Area, using the guidelines in the CDH.

--Steven

Arnie Berger

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Jun 24, 1992, 1:03:45 PM6/24/92
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>
> No matter what the speed limit is, a large number of folks
> would go faster than that.
>

Dave Barry, the columnist, once wrote an article where he tried to find out
what the real speed limit was in Florida. The real speed limit being defined
as the speed that you will get a ticket for if you exceed it. The Florida
Highway Patrol would not tell him the real speed limit.

Arnie
--
Arnie Berger
arnie@hplsdvt
Telnet 590-5642

Eric Praetzel

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Jun 24, 1992, 1:44:12 PM6/24/92
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In article <1992Jun24....@telebit.com> bj...@telebit.com (Steven Bjork) writes:
>In article <182...@pyramid.pyramid.com>
>rte...@pyrman2.pyramid.com (Rex Tener) writes:
>>Why doesn't the city just raise the speed limit on the expressways?
>No matter what the speed limit is, a large number of folks
>would go faster than that.
People will go at whatever speed the general traffic proceeds at (which
is the safest ie slower or faster driving is more dangerous than an absolute
fast speed) and that is determined by what feels safe in the car. They will
not do 100 mph in Honda Civics or the Big Three's land yahts. The speed
limits used to be set by the average speed of the cars that used the road.
The road speeds were set for cars of the 60's and now the cars are a lot
safer and people drive a bit faster. The police use the difference as a
revenue collection scheme. In quite a few of the states they can not get
50% of the cars to drive at or below the speed limit and the states may
loose their road funding because of this. The speed limits should be
re-evaluated. 55 does not save lives, never has and never will and it
is a completely false belief that people will drive as fast as their cars
can go if given the chance. That is as stupid as the belief that access
to guns results in crime. Check out Sweden (?) where every household has
a military rifle because everyone has gone thru the army and been trained
on its use. More people playing with numbers to get what they think is
right.

>On the freeway, you cannot drive in the manner recommended by the
>California Drivers Handbook. This specifies one carlength per
>ten MPH between you and the car ahead. If you try to leave this
>much room, someone *will* cut you off and take that space.

I hate that. But its the rules of the road as determined by its users
and not the system. I find that I can leave a 2 sec gap but most cars go
by the 1 second spacing. Anything more than 2 and the hole gets filled.
The question is who determines the rules? Is it the users and tax payers
or some @#^^#@$$ burecrat and his police force who want to make money by
selectivly enforcing useless rules?

Ok. I have seen enough of this. How about getting back to wreck.bikes?
How do you have fun with someone who just got STI?
Ans: You find a really steep hill where the lowest gear is just enough
and then ask him to shift up and down for you. When he finds that under
full torque + pulling on the bars, it does not sift as well as on a flat
stretch go for it.
- Eric

24411-sohl

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Jun 24, 1992, 2:24:07 PM6/24/92
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In article <1992Jun24.1...@col.hp.com> ar...@col.hp.com (Arnie Berger) writes:

>> No matter what the speed limit is, a large number of folks
>> would go faster than that.

That is more popular myth than fact. I began driving in 1958 and had
plenty of opportunity to drive the Interstates in the northeast when speed
limits were 70mph. There simply was NOT a large number (certainly not the
nearly 100% that exceed 55 today) of drivers that exceeded 70mph.
More importantly, those that exceeded the limit usually were within
a few mph (5-9 over) of the limit. That's a far cry from 20+ over average
traffic flow on interstaes here in NJ. I just drove from Redbank to
Morristown on the Garden State Pkway and I-287. I pretty much stayed
in the middle or right lane and was generally doing around 70 (in a 55)
while just going with the flow of traffic.

>Dave Barry, the columnist, once wrote an article where he tried to find out
>what the real speed limit was in Florida. The real speed limit being defined
>as the speed that you will get a ticket for if you exceed it. The Florida
>Highway Patrol would not tell him the real speed limit.

At our local sports car club meeting a number of years ago we had
a NJ trooper give a talk and radar gun demo. As you can
guess, the question of how fast before a ticket is issued was
asked. This cop was pretty staright and said that he really
doesn't issue tickets (on highways) for less than 10 over the limit.
He said there was more than enough offenders at 10+ over to keep
him busy. He did say he couldn't say every cop was that way, but
he felt that was the case for most of the cops he knew.

From practical experience, I know many folks (including
myself) that have known they were
doing around 10 over when they passed a cop with their radar detector
on. They knew they had been "hit," but there was no pursuit.

Standard Disclaimer- Any opinions, etc. are mine and NOT my employer's.
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Bill Sohl (K2UNK) BELLCORE (Bell Communications Research, Inc.)
Morristown, NJ email via UUCP bcr!dancer!whs70
201-829-2879 Weekdays email via Internet wh...@dancer.cc.bellcore.com

Don Parks

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Jun 24, 1992, 4:39:13 PM6/24/92
to
In article <1992Jun24.1...@col.hp.com> ar...@col.hp.com (Arnie Berger) writes:
>>
>> No matter what the speed limit is, a large number of folks
>> would go faster than that.
>>
>
>Dave Barry, the columnist, once wrote an article where he tried to find out
>what the real speed limit was in Florida. The real speed limit being defined
>as the speed that you will get a ticket for if you exceed it. The Florida
>Highway Patrol would not tell him the real speed limit.
>
I read not to long ago about the arguments for and against raising
the speed limits in Maryland from 55 to 65 on interstates. The law
makers said that the 55 mph speed limit was used to keep the speed of
cars under 70 mph. I often drive the interstate 68 which goes
through West Virginia and Maryland. The speed limit in WV is 65 and
a swear, that in general, people drive faster in MD (55 mph) then WV.

What all this means and what in the world it has to do with cycling
is beyond me :-)

Don
--

RON...@lexmark.com

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Jun 24, 1992, 5:02:44 PM6/24/92
to
In article <1992Jun24.1...@col.hp.com>
ar...@col.hp.com (Arnie Berger) writes:

>
>>
>> No matter what the speed limit is, a large number of folks
>> would go faster than that.
>>
>
>Dave Barry, the columnist, once wrote an article where he tried to find out
>what the real speed limit was in Florida. The real speed limit being defined
>as the speed that you will get a ticket for if you exceed it. The Florida
>Highway Patrol would not tell him the real speed limit.
>
> Arnie

My wife teaches with a wife of a state trooper here in Kentucky... her husband
has indicated that they won't stop anyone up to 10 miles per hour over the
posted limit... that is, unless they're weaving or cutting through traffic.
However, the local cops have their own agenda that seems to vary by
municipality, proximity to the end of the month, phase of the moon, etc...

Randy O'Neal RON...@lexmark.com Printer Attach Software Development
Lexmark International, Inc.
-- Weinberg's Law -- Lexington, Ky.
'If builders built buildings like
programmers wrote programs, then __o
the first woodpecker that came "The views above are not those `\<,
along would destroy civilization.' of my employer... just mine." O/ O

Steven A Rubin

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Jun 24, 1992, 7:45:27 PM6/24/92
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In article <1992Jun24....@telebit.com> bj...@telebit.com (Steven Bjork) writes:

>
>No matter what the speed limit is, a large number of folks
>would go faster than that.
>

This is not true. It has been proven time and time again that drivers
will choose a speed they feel comfortable and in control of their
vehicle given current road conditions. Why else would most motorists
drive at normal highway speeds when the road is dry, yet drive
10-20mph on those very same highways during a snowstorm?

There will always be those who drive significantly faster than the
posted limit no matter what that limit is, just as there will be some
people who will drive significantly slower. But because the speed
limits on most roads are currently being set artificially low, the
police are too busy pulling over motorists who were driving at a
reasonable and prudent speed, that they can't devote these same
resources to pursuing the very fast drivers as well as drunks and
other drivers who pose a genuine hazzard on the road.

Jim Frost

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Jun 25, 1992, 10:43:35 AM6/25/92
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par...@source.asset.com (Don Parks) writes:
>I read not to long ago about the arguments for and against raising
>the speed limits in Maryland from 55 to 65 on interstates. The law
>makers said that the 55 mph speed limit was used to keep the speed of
>cars under 70 mph. I often drive the interstate 68 which goes
>through West Virginia and Maryland. The speed limit in WV is 65 and
>a swear, that in general, people drive faster in MD (55 mph) then WV.

I'd have to agree here. I regularly drive from MA (55mph limits
almost everywhere) to NH (65mph limits almost everywhere). Traffic
*slows down* just over the NH border, from circa 70-75 to just about
the speed limit. I never understood the phenomenon but it certainly
does occur.

jim frost
ji...@centerline.com

Paul Robichaux

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Jun 25, 1992, 11:26:47 AM6/25/92
to
In <jimf.70...@centerline.com> ji...@centerline.com (Jim Frost) writes:
>I'd have to agree here. I regularly drive from MA (55mph limits
>almost everywhere) to NH (65mph limits almost everywhere). Traffic
>*slows down* just over the NH border, from circa 70-75 to just about
>the speed limit. I never understood the phenomenon but it certainly
>does occur.

In the South, it's very common to find state {troopers | hwy. patrol}
right across the border, radar guns aimed. In addition, many states
locate weigh stations for trucks (usually equipped with two or three
police cruisers) and state trooper substations near interstate border
crossings.

I always slow down, just in case...


--
Paul Robichaux, KD4JZG | NTI doesn't pay for my opinions, and NASA
robi...@lambda.msfc.nasa.gov | doesn't know I have any.
This message printed on recycled phosphors.

Shane Roach

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Jun 25, 1992, 1:00:15 PM6/25/92
to
From article <1992Jun25.1...@lambda.msfc.nasa.gov>, by robi...@lambda.msfc.nasa.gov (Paul Robichaux):

>
> In the South, it's very common to find state {troopers | hwy. patrol}
> right across the border, radar guns aimed. In addition, many states
> locate weigh stations for trucks (usually equipped with two or three
> police cruisers) and state trooper substations near interstate border
> crossings.
>
> I always slow down, just in case...
>
I don't see it as much now, but here in South Carolina a few years after they
upped the speed limit to 65mph on "rural Interstates", it wasn't uncommon to
see one of the ole boys in his Crown Vic with radar on at the changeover from
65 to 55, nabbing people who kept their extra momentum a tad too long.

Just out o' curiosity, what do the Highway Patrol/State Trooper/Etc. cars in
some of your states look like. I've always thought SC's marked Caprices, Crown
Vic's, and Mustangs looked pretty sharp in the silver with blue stripes(four
inches wide, a third of the way down the fender, from nose to tail) and gold
reflective state seal and "State Trooper" signs on the trunklid and front
fenders. I caught a glimpse of a Florida HP Mustang a few years ago, and the
two-tone brown literally looked like sh*t.

Shane Roach
csr...@eng.clemson.edu


Larry Smith

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Jun 25, 1992, 2:12:26 PM6/25/92
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In article <jimf.70...@centerline.com>, ji...@centerline.com (Jim Frost) writes:
>I'd have to agree here. I regularly drive from MA (55mph limits
>almost everywhere) to NH (65mph limits almost everywhere). Traffic
>*slows down* just over the NH border, from circa 70-75 to just about
>the speed limit. I never understood the phenomenon but it certainly
>does occur.

Speaking as a long-time NH resident, I believe I can explain that. Quite
simply, 55 is way too low, so people ignore it and drive at whatever speed
they feel comfortable at, which is 65-75. In NH, 65 is just a _little_
too low, but still reasonable, and guilt makes up for the extra 10 mph, so
we all slow down and heed the half-way reasonable speed limit. Proof positive,
if it were needed, that higher speed limits will NOT be ignored to the same
extent - indeed, may not be ignored at all, except by the reckless driver
whose excess speed really IS a true danger signal "idiot at the wheel".

Larry Smith (sm...@ctron.com) No, I don't speak for Cabletron.
-------------------------------------------------------------
Daily I'd go over to Congress - that grand old benevolent national asylum - and
report on the inmates there. Never seen a body of men with tongues more handy,
or information more uncertain. If one of those men had been present when the
Diety was on the point of saying "Let there be light" we never would've had it.

Eric Hvozda

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Jun 25, 1992, 3:26:40 PM6/25/92
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In article <1992Jun25....@hubcap.clemson.edu> csr...@eng.clemson.edu (Shane Roach) writes:
>I don't see it as much now, but here in South Carolina a few years after they
>upped the speed limit to 65mph on "rural Interstates", it wasn't uncommon to
>see one of the ole boys in his Crown Vic with radar on at the changeover from
>65 to 55, nabbing people who kept their extra momentum a tad too long.

Ah yes, this is a favorite past time of PA troopers at the state borders.

God how I wish PA would make I-80 65 MpH at least...
--
Ack! esh...@psuvm.psu.edu ESH101@PSUVM
hvo...@vivaldi.psu.edu hvo...@wilbur.psu.edu DoD #0217

Randall L. Smith

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Jun 25, 1992, 11:45:56 AM6/25/92
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sar...@jhunix.hcf.jhu.edu (Steven A Rubin) writes:
> But because the speed limits on most roads are currently being set
> artificially low, the police are too busy pulling over motorists who
> were driving at a reasonable and prudent speed, that they can't devote
> these same resources to pursuing the very fast drivers as well as
> drunks and other drivers who pose a genuine hazzard on the road.

The concept of a "very fast driver" is exactly what has been at issue in
this newsgroup since it's inception. It is rather uniformly agreed that
one mans fast is another mans slow. At which speed the police deem a
"very fast driver" is completely arbitrary and largely too complicated
for a humble human being (cop) to discriminate beyond their personal
condition. Meaning: what speed is prudent? 80th percentile?

If I feel safe at 80mph on an open Interstate in a newish automobile,
with newish appropriately rated tires, in alert condition, with good
reflexes, why should I be ticketed. Because grampaw can't see over the
steering wheel and his neck long ago quit turning right or left to see
oncoming traffic?

I don't know exactly what I'm saying, except that this whole issue of
speeding vs. plain bad driving is befuddling to me. It is as much a
judgement call as anything if done without illegitimate revenue
enhancement clouding the issue.

{ObDrv Story:}

The other day I lapsed in my attention watching for copoids as I drove
75 in a 55 on a light to moderate 3 lane barrier divided highway (SR
315 to the locals), good weather, good car, etc... I was pulling in
the right lane as often as reasonable even though I was clearly the
fastest car at the moment. I was getting ready to pull into the left
lane to pass a van when up from behind, all in a moment was Mr. Law.
Ack! He *had* to be doing *85* or more. We were clearly in his
jurisdiction. I know the territory. I jammed on the brakes to
prevent me from being forced into pulling into the left lane in front
of Mr. Law. A nanosecond before I hit the brakes, he was pulling in
behind me. My heart was in my mouth.

As I slipped from 75 to 55 in record space and trying like hell to
keep the front of the car from doing a nose dive, he pulled back in
his lane. I was caught in the grand flagrante with brake lights
screaming their penatent tome. As Mr. Law pulls back in his lane and
passes me, he looks over, slowly shakes his head and gives me this
sort of disappointed, dismayed, bemused look that said, "Shit son, if
you're gonna speed, do it right.". I stayed below 60 for the rest of
the trip. My heart couldn't take any more.

Cheers!

- randy

ra...@rls.uucp <backbone>!osu-cis!rls!randy rls!ra...@tut.cis.ohio-state.edu
You could say the girl has a problem getting a date. She's so ugly the
tide wouldn't take her out.

Karen Fegley

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Jun 25, 1992, 11:28:42 AM6/25/92
to
In article <jimf.70...@centerline.com> ji...@centerline.com (Jim Frost)
writes:

On the other hand, I noticed during my daily commute on the Mass.
Turnpike that shortly after the legal speed limit on selected
CENTRAL and WESTERN portions of the Pike were raised to 65 MPH,
the average speed on the EASTERN end (which is still posted at
55 MPH) went up, about 5-10 MPH in my estimation.

Karen

Bradford Kellogg

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Jun 25, 1992, 12:35:08 PM6/25/92
to

In article <1992Jun24....@telebit.com>, bj...@telebit.com (Steven Bjork) writes:
|> In article <182...@pyramid.pyramid.com>
|> rte...@pyrman2.pyramid.com (Rex Tener) writes:
|>
|> >Why doesn't the city just raise the speed limit on the expressways?
|>
|> No matter what the speed limit is, a large number of folks
|> would go faster than that.
|>
Ah, but if the speed limit were 150, most everyone would be traveling well
below the speed limit...

George Neville-Neil

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Jun 25, 1992, 1:11:06 PM6/25/92
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In article <1992Jun25....@viewlogic.com>, br...@buck.viewlogic.com (Bradford Kellogg) writes:
|> Ah, but if the speed limit were 150, most everyone would be traveling well
|> below the speed limit...

The speed limit should be infinite. Then you'd never be driving even
the smallest fraction of the posted speed. But then the CHP would cite
you for driving too slow :-)

Later,
George

--
The large print giveth and the small print taketh away.
Tom Waits --- Step Right Up

David Pressley

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Jun 25, 1992, 4:46:05 PM6/25/92
to
In article <1992Jun25....@hubcap.clemson.edu> csr...@eng.clemson.edu (Shane Roach) writes:
>
>Just out o' curiosity, what do the Highway Patrol/State Trooper/Etc. cars in
>some of your states look like. I've always thought SC's marked Caprices, Crown
>Vic's, and Mustangs looked pretty sharp in the silver with blue stripes(four
>inches wide, a third of the way down the fender, from nose to tail) and gold
>reflective state seal and "State Trooper" signs on the trunklid and front
>fenders. I caught a glimpse of a Florida HP Mustang a few years ago, and the
>two-tone brown literally looked like sh*t.
>

I dont think "pretty sharp" is the phrase I would use to describe the
police cars I've seen in SC. I've been pulled over 12 times in that state
(only 3 tickets though). In fact I dont think I could even imagine a
positive adjective to describe what I think about them. Seems like most
of the SC police cars I see have all these blue and white lights flashing
and I just cant seem to appreciate the paint. I will say that the
Caprices, Criown Vic's, and Mustangs, all pretty much look alike when
they are behind you at night with all those lights flashing :-)

David P.
pres...@cs.clemson.edu pres...@dg-rtp.dg.com

Wilson Heydt

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Jun 25, 1992, 2:22:34 PM6/25/92
to
In article <1992Jun24....@telebit.com> bj...@telebit.com (Steven Bjork) writes:
>In article <182...@pyramid.pyramid.com>
>rte...@pyrman2.pyramid.com (Rex Tener) writes:
>
>>Why doesn't the city just raise the speed limit on the expressways?
>
>No matter what the speed limit is, a large number of folks
>would go faster than that.

Does this mean that if the speed limit is posted to be 'c', that we'll
soon have folks out there with FTL drives? If so--speed the day.

--Hal
--
=======================================================================
Hal Heydt | "Boycott Time-Warner"
Analyst, Pacific*Bell | --J. Danforth Quayle
510-823-5447 | "... kill all the lawyers."

Wilson Heydt

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Jun 25, 1992, 4:37:56 PM6/25/92
to

In article <BqD2L...@watserv1.waterloo.edu> prae...@marconi.waterloo.edu (Eric Praetzel) writes:
> People will go at whatever speed the general traffic proceeds at (which
>is the safest ie slower or faster driving is more dangerous than an absolute
>fast speed) and that is determined by what feels safe in the car. They will
>not do 100 mph in Honda Civics or the Big Three's land yahts. The speed
>limits used to be set by the average speed of the cars that used the road.
>The road speeds were set for cars of the 60's and now the cars are a lot
>safer and people drive a bit faster.

I believe that you are in error. The current speed limits derive from
Federal pressure following the 1973 Arab Oil Embargo and were designed
to cut fuel consumption. (The pressure was: mandate 55 mph maximum
or lose your Federal Highway funding.) In the years before that, the
basic maximum speed limit in California was 65 mph, with some sections
of freeway posted 70 mph. I-5, for instance was designed and buit
with 70 mph limits in mind. Nevada *had* no speed limit. They simply
used 'reasonable and proper' on open roads. For many years, the
Kansas Turnpike had a maximum limit of 80 mph (and a minimum of 40
mph).

During the '60s, the CHP didn't really care how fast traffic moved so
long as the speed was consistent with the road conditions and
everybody was moving at about the same speed. You used to see CHP
cars in the middle of packs with everyone doing 80 to 85. They'd
ticket anyone who came through significant;y faster or significantly
slower--even if the 'slower' was over the posted limit. Bit of shock
that. I knew people that had gotten 'impeding traffic' tickets while
driving over the posted limit.

>The police use the difference as a
>revenue collection scheme. In quite a few of the states they can not get
>50% of the cars to drive at or below the speed limit and the states may
>loose their road funding because of this.

This is also do to Federal pressure. After the the heat was put on to
post to 55, quite a few states realized they were mandating speeds a
lot lower than the roads were designed for, and made enforcing 55 a
very low priority. Congress retaliated by trying to tie funding to
enforcement.

>The speed limits should be
>re-evaluated.

Definitely. We're saving more fuel through CAFE than we ever did
through the 55 limit.

>55 does not save lives, never has and never will and it
>is a completely false belief that people will drive as fast as their cars
>can go if given the chance.

Probably not so. Check the highway fatality stats for the first few
years after 55 went in (and a lot more poeple were obeying it).
There was a drop there.

Ian J Gardner

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Jun 25, 1992, 7:43:54 PM6/25/92
to
> >Dave Barry, the columnist, once wrote an article where he tried to find out
> >what the real speed limit was in Florida. The real speed limit being defined
> >as the speed that you will get a ticket for if you exceed it. The Florida
> >Highway Patrol would not tell him the real speed limit.

> At our local sports car club meeting a number of years ago we had
> a NJ trooper give a talk and radar gun demo. As you can
> guess, the question of how fast before a ticket is issued was
> asked. This cop was pretty staright and said that he really
> doesn't issue tickets (on highways) for less than 10 over the limit.
> He said there was more than enough offenders at 10+ over to keep
> him busy. He did say he couldn't say every cop was that way, but
> he felt that was the case for most of the cops he knew.

> From practical experience, I know many folks (including
> myself) that have known they were
> doing around 10 over when they passed a cop with their radar detector
> on. They knew they had been "hit," but there was no pursuit.

On the other hand, I've had the opportunity to see them get pulled over
for less than 10 mph... I think it depends on the region. Heck, some
of the officers even get brave: Inside the City of Pgh, there are no
radar guns used. Instead, there's a system called "VASCAR", whereby
there are two (or is it 3) stations set up. One is a "Start" station.
The other is a "Stop" station. If the *AVERAGE* speed between those two
stations is greater than a fixed allowance, you're caught. Period.
Can't argue it. Can't detect it. The brave part of this little story
is the situation where I was lucky to observe a motorcycle cop stand in
front of a Blazer that was driving semi-hazardously and too fast, and
flag it down. Of course, add in the fact that he was hiding behind a
construction vehicle/dump truck, and you can imagine the suprise on THAT
driver's face. ("Oh SH**!")

But, why ARE we discussing this on THIS newsgroup?

Ian Gardner
ig...@andrew.cmu.edu
Carnegie Mellon University
Computer Science/Political Science


"This .sig paid for by a contribution from the 'Vote for Bush in '92'
campaign."


Alex D Rodriguez

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Jun 26, 1992, 9:44:41 AM6/26/92
to
In article <1992Jun24....@telebit.com> bj...@telebit.com (Steven Bjork) writes:
>In article <182...@pyramid.pyramid.com>
>rte...@pyrman2.pyramid.com (Rex Tener) writes:
>
>>Why doesn't the city just raise the speed limit on the expressways?
>
>No matter what the speed limit is, a large number of folks
>would go faster than that.

This is not necessarily true. While it is true that there will be some
people who will go faster most will not. The ones that do go faster are
the ones who drive just as fast anyway, the speedlimit does not really
have much influence on them. People usually drive at what they condsider to
be a safe speed. This is the way speed limits use to be set. The current
speed limits are arbitrarily set, usually for monetary gain. As an example
if you have ever driven in a snow storm you will notice that even though
the speed limit is 55 most people are driving at slower speeds.

>

>
>--Steven

Alex Rodriguez
Columbia University
NYC

Bernd Felsche

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Jun 25, 1992, 11:27:35 PM6/25/92
to
In <1992Jun24....@telebit.com> bj...@telebit.com (Steven Bjork) writes:

>On the freeway, you cannot drive in the manner recommended by the
>California Drivers Handbook. This specifies one carlength per
>ten MPH between you and the car ahead. If you try to leave this
>much room, someone *will* cut you off and take that space.

Surprising that they don't use the much more
straight-forward 2 seconds on dry roads. I use this all the
time and my foot is on the brake when it's down to 1 second.
It's almost reflex now.

People find it very hard to judge distance, and their
judgement is impaired by lighting (e.g. you'll misjudge a
distance driving into the sun, thinking that objects are
further away -- oops; minor bender!).

Regarding your traffic problems in CA, all I can suggest is
short-range SSMs. ;-)
--
+-----+ Bernd Felsche _--_|\ #include <std/disclaimer.h>
| | | | MetaPro Systems Pty Ltd / \ ber...@metapro.DIALix.oz.au
| | | | 328 Albany Highway, X_.--._/ Fax: +61 9 472 3337
|m|p|s| Victoria Park, Western Australia 6100 v Phone: +61 9 362 9355

Chuck Fry

unread,
Jun 26, 1992, 12:00:17 PM6/26/92
to
)Why doesn't the city just raise the speed limit on the expressways?

In article <1992Jun24....@telebit.com> bj...@telebit.com
(Steven Bjork) responds:
)No matter what the speed limit is, a large number of folks
)would go faster than that.

In article <1992Jun26.1...@news.columbia.edu> ad...@cunixf.cc.columbia.edu (Alex D Rodriguez) rebuts:
)This is not necessarily true. While it is true that there will be some
)people who will go faster most will not. The ones that do go faster are
)the ones who drive just as fast anyway, the speedlimit does not really
)have much influence on them. People usually drive at what they condsider to
)be a safe speed. This is the way speed limits use to be set. The current
)speed limits are arbitrarily set, usually for monetary gain. As an example
)if you have ever driven in a snow storm you will notice that even though
)the speed limit is 55 most people are driving at slower speeds.

Alex is right. There is a body of Federally-funded research that
demonstrates this fact. In particular, one experiment showed that
changing the posted speed limit had no demonstrable effect on speed
distribution!

It turns out that even the "speed freaks" at the far upper end of the
distribution are a whole lot less dangerous to other drivers than the
"slowpokes" who can't keep up with the flow for whatever reason. The
former tend to have single-car accidents, the latter tend to cause
pile-ups.

The 85th percentile rule is the way speed limits used to be set, and
continues to be the correct way. (I.e. the speed limit should be set
at a speed that 85% of the drivers don't exceed.) However, as is so
common in this society, some well-intentioned people think they know
what's best, and try to impose their will on the rest of us.

Since this is not a technical problem but a political one, only
political solutions are likely to work. If you're tired of speed
traps, YOU must make the effort to get the limit changed.

-- Chuck Fry Chu...@charon.arc.nasa.gov
Card-carrying member of the National Motorists Association

andrew.shaw

unread,
Jun 26, 1992, 12:47:40 PM6/26/92
to
From article <1992Jun26....@kronos.arc.nasa.gov>, by chu...@kronos.arc.nasa.gov (Chuck Fry):

> The 85th percentile rule is the way speed limits used to be set, and
> continues to be the correct way. (I.e. the speed limit should be set
> at a speed that 85% of the drivers don't exceed.)

Why, I wonder, in those golden days, was there a speed limit at all?
I can see the reason for a "speed advisory" for those unfamiliar with
a specific road, but if the "limit" was set by the speed people actually
drove, why have a limit? After all, they were driving at that speed
to begin with.

Andrew Lawson

unread,
Jun 26, 1992, 11:00:16 AM6/26/92
to
In article <24...@dog.ee.lbl.gov> jtc...@csa3.lbl.gov writes:

>Let's forget this silly notion that a sign on a stick with a magic
>number determines whether you're safe or not. That idea is an insult
>to skilled drivers and a dangerous rationalization for bad ones.

Of course it doesn't determine whether you're safe.

It determines whether you are a criminal.

--
Drew Lawson If you're not part of the solution,
law...@acuson.com you're part of the precipitate

Jeffrey Baer

unread,
Jun 26, 1992, 6:49:15 PM6/26/92
to
In article <1992Jun26.1...@news.columbia.edu> ad...@cunixf.cc.columbia.edu (Alex D Rodriguez) writes:
>In article <1992Jun24....@telebit.com> bj...@telebit.com (Steven Bjork) writes:
>>In article <182...@pyramid.pyramid.com>
>>rte...@pyrman2.pyramid.com (Rex Tener) writes:
>>
>>>Why doesn't the city just raise the speed limit on the expressways?
>>
>>No matter what the speed limit is, a large number of folks
>>would go faster than that.
>
>This is not necessarily true. While it is true that there will be some
>people who will go faster most will not.

Bullpucky. I do not believe that if the speed limit were suddenly raised,
most people would drive at EXACTLY the same speed as before. More likely,
the average speed would increase at or near the same amount as the posted
limit. Compliance would increase very little, and the average speed would
go up.

>The ones that do go faster are
>the ones who drive just as fast anyway, the speedlimit does not really
>have much influence on them.

I think that for most drivers this is not true. Most drivers
(except for those who religiously follow all speed limits,
known in this group most commonly as "sheep") look at the posted
speed limit, and add a little delta on top of that to determine
their normal operating speed. For example, most people see a 35
speed limit and drive at 45 based on that. So, a speed limit sign
is more of a suggestion, much like an "icy road" or "school" or
other informational sign. But, I think most people take at least
a passing note of the posted limit. People who drive at the same
(fast) speed no matter what the limit is are (fortunately) a
pretty small minority.

For that reason (people tend to drive somewhat faster than the posted
limit consistently), I think that if the speed limits were raised to
reflect the actual normal flow of traffic, that traffic flow would
also become faster.

>People usually drive at what they condsider to
>be a safe speed. This is the way speed limits use to be set. The current
>speed limits are arbitrarily set, usually for monetary gain.

I don't agree with this. I think that they are arbitrarily ENFORCED
for monetary gain, but in most cases there is at least a rationalization
for why a limit exists (whether it is valid is another point). I think
that only in places like Lizard Butt, Idaho, do you find a limit set
strictly for bucks (a 25 zone on straight road that appears out of the
middle of nowhere).

>As an example
>if you have ever driven in a snow storm you will notice that even though
>the speed limit is 55 most people are driving at slower speeds.

This is an absurd example. I think that driving behavior in blinding
snow tells nothing about normal driving behavior. Even the most foolish
speed demon crazies I know can't hit 55 in a snowstorm. It certainly
doesn't say much about somebody's driving in normal conditions, only
that even normally fast drivers don't have any desire to wind up in
a ditch or sliding into oncoming traffic.

>>--Steven
>
>Alex Rodriguez
>Columbia University
>NYC

jeff
--
"Nothing rings as true as silence."
Jeff Baer
National Semiconductor Corp.
ba...@nsc.nsc.com

The Chipmunk

unread,
Jun 26, 1992, 3:50:18 PM6/26/92
to
Written in article <1992Jun24....@porthos.cc.bellcore.com>
by wh...@dancer.UUCP ():

: In article <1992Jun24.1...@col.hp.com> ar...@col.hp.com

: (Arnie Berger) writes:
:
: >> No matter what the speed limit is, a large number of folks
: >> would go faster than that.
:
: That is more popular myth than fact. I began driving in 1958 and had
: plenty of opportunity to drive the Interstates in the northeast when speed
: limits were 70mph. There simply was NOT a large number (certainly not the
: nearly 100% that exceed 55 today) of drivers that exceeded 70mph.

Add to this that there are such things as places where people actually
drive LESS than the posted speed.

There's a stretch of Grand Avenue in the city of Walnut where the speed
limit is set to 55. Prevailing traffic tends to be 45.

I am a resident, so I KNOW what the speed limit is ... I cruise the
freeways at all sorts of speeds higher than 55 ... nevertheless, I find
myself driving this stretch at 45, if I happen to forget.

There's just something about this street that says "drive 45, son!"
I can't put my finger on it. Maybe it's the curves, or the number of
lanes. But to drive at 55, I have to consciously remind myself that
I'm really allowed to go that fast.

Whatever it is, I think it demonstrates once and for all that people's
sense for what a speed ought to be has absolutely nothing to do with the
posted limit. People do not look for speed signs then automatically add
10mph. They drive what they feel is safe for the prevailing conditions.

And, as we've already discovered in previous arguments (in ca.driving),
I think you'll also find that most of the time, most of the people are
right.

--
The Chipmunk.
Opinions are mine, batteries not included, void where prohibited.
If you're a real good kid, I'll give you a piggy-back ride on a
buzz-saw. -- W. C. Fields

lead...@bigbootay.sw.stratus.com

unread,
Jun 26, 1992, 8:34:56 PM6/26/92
to
In article <1992Jun26.1...@cbnewsm.cb.att.com>, mad...@cbnewsm.cb.att.com (G. E. Madine, AT&T-BL/AL, cbnewsm.) writes:
|> In article <1992Jun26....@kronos.arc.nasa.gov>, chu...@kronos.arc.nasa.gov (Chuck Fry) writes:
|> > ...[referring to "Federally funded research" concludes:]

|> > It turns out that even the "speed freaks" at the far upper end of the
|> > distribution are a whole lot less dangerous to other drivers than the
|> > "slowpokes" who can't keep up with the flow for whatever reason. The
|> > former tend to have single-car accidents, the latter tend to cause
|> > pile-ups.
|> > ...

|> > -- Chuck Fry Chu...@charon.arc.nasa.gov
|> > Card-carrying member of the National Motorists Association
|>
|> Anyone care to theorize how "slowpokes" *cause* accidents?
|>
|>
|> Gary E. Madine, Allentown, PA
|> g...@aloft.att.com

Sure! In fact I can even provide a real life example.

Last night on the way home I had the misfortune to being behind some
older man in a Trecel. He crawled down the freeway to an exit ramp
where he proceded to go about 15 MPH around a corner I normally
take at 40-45. Then he merges into 55+ traffic while still going
less than 25. I pulled left early and went around him before he broke
30.

Good thing too. He then merged left ... no more like cut left
into the middle and then left lanes. Oh he had his signal on,
but he wasn't even close to 55 let alone what traffic was doing.
He cut off several people in each lane as he crossed them.

He seemed to feel everyone else had to brake to let his econ-box in
because he had his signal on. People in the left lane had to brake real
hard to avoid hitting him. This man is an accident trying to happen.

That old man and his car had no place in the middle lane, let alone
the left. He never made it to even 55 when he got to the left lane.
People were slamming on their brakes and swearving all over to dodge
this idiot. As seems to be typical for these folks he seemed to
think everyone else drives as slowly as he does. He didn't even
look, he just turned on his signal and started changing lanes.

I don't know about you, but I don't let anyone into the lane if
they aren't even trying to get up to the speed of traffic. I
don't expect everyones car to accel like a rocket, but they have to
at least try. That means using the first pedal on the right when
merging into faster traffic. Crawlers can crawl behind me and waste
their time not mine.

Putting on your signal doesn't give you legal right to change lanes.

Mark A. Roces

unread,
Jun 27, 1992, 5:06:58 AM6/27/92
to
It would be interesting if someone could compile data on pro-Indurain
posts on this network for the following time periods: the period prior
to last July, the period between last July and this July (with special
regard to this past May-June), and the period after this July.
Somehow I'd imagine that the total number of pro-Indurain posts before
and after the July 1991/July 1992 period wouldn't be anywhere near the
number of pro-Indurain posts within that period.
Not to undermine the siginficant achievements of Indurain, but I wonder
how many of you, who are so eager to rip off your shirts and show the
Banesto jersey that you wear with such fervor, will be bowing before a
different pair of shaved legs next July, should Miguel lose his Yellow
jersey this year.

-Mark A. Roces
mr...@andrew.cmu.edu

Mike Peercy

unread,
Jun 27, 1992, 11:44:09 PM6/27/92
to
mad...@cbnewsm.cb.att.com (G. E. Madine, AT&T-BL/AL, cbnewsm.) writes:

| chu...@kronos.arc.nasa.gov (Chuck Fry) writes:
| > ...[referring to "Federally funded research" concludes:]

| > It turns out that even the "speed freaks" at the far upper end of the
| > distribution are a whole lot less dangerous to other drivers than the
| > "slowpokes" who can't keep up with the flow for whatever reason. The
| > former tend to have single-car accidents, the latter tend to cause
| > pile-ups.

| > ...


| > -- Chuck Fry Chu...@charon.arc.nasa.gov
| > Card-carrying member of the National Motorists Association

| Anyone care to theorize how "slowpokes" *cause* accidents?

The fast car is a single actor negotiating her way through a sea of average
speed cars. On the other hand, the slow car causes a sea of average speed
cars to negotiate its way around his one car.

In brief, the fast car requires only one driver to actively maneuver. The
slow car forces a multitude of drivers to actively maneuver. Clearly the
latter condition is much more dangerous, perhaps by orders of magnitude.

However, it's worse than this since the fast car _chooses_ to actively
maneuver--implying that she is both attentive to and comfortable with it.
The scores of average speed drivers who must actively maneuver around the
slow car do not choose it, and are likely more lackadaisical.

Mike Peercy
pee...@crhc.uiuc.edu

Randall L. Smith

unread,
Jun 28, 1992, 2:21:08 PM6/28/92
to
mad...@cbnewsm.cb.att.com (G. E. Madine, AT&T-BL/AL, cbnewsm.) writes:
> chu...@kronos.arc.nasa.gov (Chuck Fry) writes:
>> ...[referring to "Federally funded research" concludes:]
>> It turns out that even the "speed freaks" at the far upper end of the
>> distribution are a whole lot less dangerous to other drivers than the
>> "slowpokes" who can't keep up with the flow for whatever reason. The
>> former tend to have single-car accidents, the latter tend to cause
>> pile-ups.
>
> Anyone care to theorize how "slowpokes" *cause* accidents?

Gee, I thought you'd never ask.:-) There are several many ways they
are dangerous and *cause* accidents. I only have time to talk about one.

The worst kind of "slowpokes" drive at decellerated speeds because of FUD
(fear, uncertainty and doubt). That basic profile sets the stage for
locking in step with another car going their same basic speed. It is a
speed that they and their cohort are comfortable with and have formed a
consensus, whether deliberate or coincidentally, regarding it's
suitability. They often caught up at a speed differential of a couple
miles per hour or perhaps a stoplight.

When they connect they are dangerous. One or both of the drivers are
incapable, unaware or billigerent to the needs of traffic piling up behind
them. FUD reinforces their willingness to let others suffer under their
rule. Some feel empowered and rightious. Speed limit signs are their
guideposts for good citizenship and they will enforce others compliance
just as they will rouse any other nonconformist at a football game to
stand for the national anthem or bow their head in prayer.

Now you say, "How is that dangerous enough to cause accidents?". Well,
that answer is easy and should be obvious. The piles of cars and trucks
behind the "slowpokes" are traveling in a narrow formation at a
relatively high speed for such closeness. Reaction times become critical
for the safety of the entire formation of vehicles. Add one variant to
this volitale mix of conditions and you will have a catastrophy.

A single variant like potholes, a driver that loses concentration because
of a spilled drink (remember kids, don't drink and drive, you might spill
your drink), a dropped muffler, pallates falling off a truck, a child or
pet out of control or sick, rain, fog, dust, wind, or all the other
realities of driving on the roads.

Slowpokes generally, and I emphasize generally, have a condition that
makes them unwilling or unable to conform with other drivers on the road.
Those conditions *can be* from old age, limited IQ, bad eyesight,
handicaps, stunted reflexes, cranial-rectal inversion, unhappy childhood,
and yet many, many others...

A law in Ohio that I have mixed feelings about requires trucks to drive at
55 mph, while autos can travel at 65 on the Interstates. It is clearly
marked on large speedlimit signs throughout the Interstate system in Ohio.
Trucks tend to become the guidepost that many drivers incapable of passing
and allow the following traffic to bypass the constriction in traffic
flow. At best the truck becomes a venturi of high speed flow past the
constriction and at worst the slowpokes cannot pass the truck quickly
enough to prevent clumping of normal traffic. See the above problems of
clumping. This is a condition where legal traffic within legal
speedlimits are endangered by "slowpokes".

I could go on with different scenarios of how "slowpokes" are a danger
and *cause* accidents, but the point should be obvious by now. Whether
it is through billigerence or incompetence the results are the same.

The overwhelming problem is that those bastards are not directly involved
in the accidents. They just set the stage for others to be victims of
their flawed perceptual and ability apparatus.

Happy trails.

Chris O'Neill

unread,
Jun 28, 1992, 10:13:19 PM6/28/92
to
In article <1992Jun26....@nsc.nsc.com> ba...@nsc.nsc.com (Jeffrey Baer)
writes:

>In article <1992Jun26.1...@news.columbia.edu>
ad...@cunixf.cc.columbia.edu (Alex D Rodriguez) writes:
>>In article <1992Jun24....@telebit.com> bj...@telebit.com (Steven
Bjork) writes:
>>>In article <182...@pyramid.pyramid.com>
>>>rte...@pyrman2.pyramid.com (Rex Tener) writes:
>>>
>>>>Why doesn't the city just raise the speed limit on the expressways?
>>>
>>>No matter what the speed limit is, a large number of folks
>>>would go faster than that.
>>
>>This is not necessarily true. While it is true that there will be some
>>people who will go faster most will not.
>
>Bullpucky. I do not believe that if the speed limit were suddenly raised,
>most people would drive at EXACTLY the same speed as before. More likely,
>the average speed would increase at or near the same amount as the posted
>limit.

This is simply not true. I know of roads where the speed limit was increased
from 60 kilometres per hour (kph) to 75 kph and the average speed on these was
at least 70 kph before the increase and about 75 kph after the increase. i.e.
the average speed increase was less than one-third of the posted limit
increase.

> Compliance would increase very little,

Simply not true.

> and the average speed would go up.

Not anywhere near as much as you say.

>>The ones that do go faster are
>>the ones who drive just as fast anyway, the speedlimit does not really
>>have much influence on them.
>
>I think that for most drivers this is not true. Most drivers
>(except for those who religiously follow all speed limits,
>known in this group most commonly as "sheep") look at the posted
>speed limit, and add a little delta on top of that to determine
>their normal operating speed.

As I have observed above, not true.

Chris O'Neill

Chris O'Neill

unread,
Jun 28, 1992, 9:41:58 PM6/28/92
to
In article <1992Jun26....@cbfsb.cb.att.com> as...@cbnewsg.cb.att.com

Not all of them were. Don't you know what 85th percentile means. It means 15%
were going faster.

Hugh Grierson

unread,
Jun 29, 1992, 3:24:11 AM6/29/92
to
In article <1992Jun26....@nsc.nsc.com> ba...@nsc.nsc.com (Jeffrey Baer) writes:
>In article <1992Jun26.1...@news.columbia.edu> ad...@cunixf.cc.columbia.edu (Alex D Rodriguez) writes:
>>This is not necessarily true. While it is true that there will be some
>>people who will go faster most will not.
>
>Bullpucky. I do not believe that if the speed limit were suddenly raised,
>most people would drive at EXACTLY the same speed as before. More likely,
>the average speed would increase at or near the same amount as the posted
>limit. Compliance would increase very little, and the average speed would
>go up.

When the speed limit in NZ went up from 80 km/hr to 100 a few years ago
the average speed *did not* increase by the same. My observation
(unsupported by anything even remotely resembling statistics, 99% of
which are made up anyway) was an increase of around 5 km/hr, from
95-100 to 100-105. Speeding fines went up at the same time, and caused
a decrease in speeds in many instances.

One interesting survey (not at all related to the speed limit increase)
was of the average speeds around curves which post a recommended, not
mandatory, speed limit. It was found that the average speed was a
constant amount (around 15k I think) over the posted speed, independent
of what the posted speed actually was. I have observed local variations
in this however. In some parts of the country 75 really means 75, not 95.

--
-Hugh Grierso...@fivegl.co.nz----------Go fast or go home----------------
-Fujitsu SDC-Auckland-New Zealand-Ph:+64.9.6231150-Fax:+64.9.6235448-
That which doesn't kill you makes you stronger

andrew.shaw

unread,
Jun 29, 1992, 9:50:39 AM6/29/92
to
From article <1992Jun29....@trl.oz.au>, by c.on...@trl.oz.au (Chris O'Neill):

Thanks for the response. Actually, not only do I know what
"percentile" means, I also know how to punctuate an interrogative
sentence. The point, though, is: what is the magic of the 85th
percentile? Was there an assumption of a Poisson distribution
and were they therefore thinking "n standard deviations is acceptable,
but n+1 is not"? And was the minimum speed therefore set to the
same amount below the mean?

Jim Frost

unread,
Jun 29, 1992, 1:23:58 PM6/29/92
to
ba...@nsc.nsc.com (Jeffrey Baer) writes:
>In article <1992Jun26.1...@news.columbia.edu> ad...@cunixf.cc.columbia.edu (Alex D Rodriguez) writes:
>>While it is true that there will be some
>>people who will go faster most will not.

>Bullpucky. I do not believe that if the speed limit were suddenly raised,
>most people would drive at EXACTLY the same speed as before. More likely,
>the average speed would increase at or near the same amount as the posted
>limit. Compliance would increase very little, and the average speed would
>go up.

[...]


>Most drivers
>(except for those who religiously follow all speed limits,
>known in this group most commonly as "sheep") look at the posted
>speed limit, and add a little delta on top of that to determine
>their normal operating speed.

You are mistaken, and I can prove it both through observation and
statistics.

Watching driving patterns in areas where the speed limit went from 55
to 65 was enlightening. I saw one of two different behavior patterns:

1. No change in average speed.
2. Slower average speeds.

In either case you get *much* higher conformance. For example:

Most stretches of I93 in middle NH showed virtually no variance
before and during the 55mph limit period and showed no appreciable
variance when the speed limit hopped to 65mph (ie traffic didn't
suddenly start doing 80mph even though it had been doing 70mph before
the change).

I've noticed that on the stretch of I93 where the speed limit jumps
from 55mph (MA) to 65mph (NH) average traffic speed *drops* from about
70mph to about 60mph. Really! It slowly climbs back up again as you
get more rural but peaks at about 70mph. Assuming a limit+delta
pattern would give us average velocities of about 80mph, but that's
not what happens.

For another example, take the MA Pike (I90). Average speed in the
eastern reaches is 70-75mph, posted limit 55mph. In the western 65mph
regions it's basically the same -- not 80-85mph as you'd predict.

People drive what they're comfortable with; in my experience, the
comfort zone for your average driver is between 70 and 75mph. This
really clicks with observed behavior, while a fixed delta does not.

You do get speed maniacs under any conditions with any limit, but what
you *don't* see is your average driver doing 15-20mph above the limit
-- whatever that limit may be -- as we regularly see in 55mph areas.

This isn't my *opinion*, this is my *observation*.

Now I'm going to let you prove to yourself that what I'm saying is
true through statistics. Go find out what the nonconformance rate was
before the 55mph limits went in place and what it was before the 65mph
law went into affect(1). Under your theory there should be almost no
change.

I'm not going to quote you the bare statistics, I want you to look
them up because it'll hit harder then. If you see total
nonconformance +/- 10% with what we see now (which would put
conformance anywhere from 5% to 25%, easily wide enough to cover
statistical error) come back and tell me I'm wrong(2).

We've become so accustomed to absurdly low speed limits that our first
reaction is to extrapolate behavior with the low speed limit in order
to predict behavior with a sane speed limit -- the extrapolation just
plain doesn't hold true. You don't have to take my word for it, just
drive around in places where the speed limit changes although the
driving conditions don't, or back up in time to before the limits went
in place. In both cases you see much better conformance and not
limit+delta driving habits.

jim frost
ji...@centerline.com

(1) You will have a hard time with this statistic because I don't
think it was calculated in most areas until after the 55mph law went
through. You can get a rough approximation of variation of
conformance by looking at total tickets issued; if it jumps or drops
significantly there's a change in conformance (or one in ticketing --
although ticketing seldom causes jumps of more than 10 or 15%). Also
look at the average difference between posted limit and ticket issue
speeds; some areas never changed their ticketing habits so a large
jump here indicates that police tend to give out about the same amount
of larger tickets, indicating a higher average velocity with relation
to the posted limit.

(2) You won't, at least in most areas. Expect 70-90% conformance
(more than four times what we see today).

richard welty

unread,
Jun 29, 1992, 12:17:34 PM6/29/92
to
In article <1992Jun26....@nsc.nsc.com> ba...@nsc.nsc.com (Jeffrey Baer) writes:
>In article <1992Jun26.1...@news.columbia.edu> ad...@cunixf.cc.columbia.edu (Alex D Rodriguez) writes:
>>This is not necessarily true. While it is true that there will be some
>>people who will go faster most will not.

>Bullpucky. I do not believe that if the speed limit were suddenly raised,
>most people would drive at EXACTLY the same speed as before. More likely,
>the average speed would increase at or near the same amount as the posted
>limit. Compliance would increase very little, and the average speed would
>go up.

believe what you want. there is a substantial body of evidence, in the
form of over 20 years of Federally funded studies, that support Alex on
this one. as one fine example, when the posted limit was raised from
55 to 65 on rural interstates, the average speeds on those roads went up
by 3mph, even though the speed limit went up by 10mph. compliance on
55 roads is about 10%; compliance on 65 roads is in the neighborhood
of 50%.

>I think that for most drivers this is not true. Most drivers
>(except for those who religiously follow all speed limits,
>known in this group most commonly as "sheep") look at the posted
>speed limit, and add a little delta on top of that to determine
>their normal operating speed.

this is commonly believed, and demonstrably not true. the most recent
study bearing on this is from the FHWA; they studied a large number of
roads over a period of several years. on many of these roads, speed
limits were raised or lowered during the time period. when the average
speeds were compared with the posted speeds, it was found that the average
speeds did not change when the posted speeds changed, regardless of which
way the posted speeds went (up or down.) the study was called _speed
zoning in america_, as i recall (my copy of the preliminary results is
at home.)

believe what you want; when it comes to actual studies and statistics,
Alex is right.

cheers,
richard
--
richard welty 518-393-7228
we...@cabot.balltown.cma.com
``if you can read this, mario, you're too close''
-- bumper sticker seen on a CART safety truck

Mark J. Rinehart

unread,
Jun 29, 1992, 2:18:36 PM6/29/92
to
In article <1992Jun26.1...@acuson.com> law...@acuson.com (Andrew Lawson) writes:

> In article <24...@dog.ee.lbl.gov> jtc...@csa3.lbl.gov writes:
>
> >Let's forget this silly notion that a sign on a stick with a magic
> >number determines whether you're safe or not. That idea is an insult
> >to skilled drivers and a dangerous rationalization for bad ones.
>
> Of course it doesn't determine whether you're safe.
> It determines whether you are a criminal.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

This statement is too pathetic to comment on, save a feeling I get
that the commentator is either brainwashed or braindead!!


Mark

Jeffrey Baer

unread,
Jun 29, 1992, 3:39:02 PM6/29/92
to
In article <18...@fritz.filenet.com> asyl...@fritz.filenet.com (The Chipmunk) writes:
>Written in article <1992Jun24....@porthos.cc.bellcore.com>
> by wh...@dancer.UUCP ():
>
>: In article <1992Jun24.1...@col.hp.com> ar...@col.hp.com
>: (Arnie Berger) writes:
>:
>: >> No matter what the speed limit is, a large number of folks
>: >> would go faster than that.
>:
>: That is more popular myth than fact. I began driving in 1958 and had
>: plenty of opportunity to drive the Interstates in the northeast when speed
>: limits were 70mph. There simply was NOT a large number (certainly not the
>: nearly 100% that exceed 55 today) of drivers that exceeded 70mph.

But, I'd bet that there were more folks going 80 (a 10mph increase
over 70) than there are now (a 25mph increase). I don't think 100%
compliance is what's important, it's the average prevaling speed,
be it legal or not.

>
>Add to this that there are such things as places where people actually
>drive LESS than the posted speed.
>
>There's a stretch of Grand Avenue in the city of Walnut where the speed
>limit is set to 55. Prevailing traffic tends to be 45.
>
>I am a resident, so I KNOW what the speed limit is ... I cruise the
>freeways at all sorts of speeds higher than 55 ... nevertheless, I find
>myself driving this stretch at 45, if I happen to forget.
>
>There's just something about this street that says "drive 45, son!"
>I can't put my finger on it. Maybe it's the curves, or the number of
>lanes. But to drive at 55, I have to consciously remind myself that
>I'm really allowed to go that fast.
>
>Whatever it is, I think it demonstrates once and for all that people's
>sense for what a speed ought to be has absolutely nothing to do with the
>posted limit.

This is another example like the one about people not driving 55 in a
snowstorm. A lot of people are smart enough to know what the safe speed
is in a situation. Bully for them. However, the "safe" limit may
not be completely obvious to all drivers. On Grand Avenue, if there
is no other traffic for an unfamiliar driver to see, he or she may not
realize what the safe limit is and overshoot. In general, I'll bet there
are a lot more examples of people who drive over the speed limit unsafely
than under it safely.

In addition, there's another thread of this discussion that is talking
about the real menace being ultra-slow drivers (grandpa). I absolutely
agree; SPEED is not the significant variable, it is the DIFFERENCE in
speed between the slow guys and the fast guys on the road. I think 55
serves to shrink this delta, and I don't see how raising or eliminating
speed limits will do anything but increase the differential. Gramps is
not going to go faster than 45 whether the speed limit is 55 or 70.
Why make him even slower than the prevailing traffic? Is that safer?

>People do not look for speed signs then automatically add
>10mph. They drive what they feel is safe for the prevailing conditions.

People who don't want to get tickets take some notice of the speed limit.

>
>And, as we've already discovered in previous arguments (in ca.driving),
>I think you'll also find that most of the time, most of the people are
>right.

Most of the people rationalize their own behavior, whether it is right
or wrong.

>
>--
>The Chipmunk.
>Opinions are mine, batteries not included, void where prohibited.
>If you're a real good kid, I'll give you a piggy-back ride on a
>buzz-saw. -- W. C. Fields

jeff

Michael J. Konopik

unread,
Jun 29, 1992, 3:51:53 PM6/29/92
to
In article <1992Jun26....@nsc.nsc.com> ba...@nsc.nsc.com (Jeffrey Baer) writes:
>I think that for most drivers this is not true. Most drivers
>(except for those who religiously follow all speed limits,
>known in this group most commonly as "sheep") look at the posted
>speed limit, and add a little delta on top of that to determine
>their normal operating speed.

I suspect that most drivers actually figure out how fast they feel is safe
to drive on a road, take note of the posted speed limit, and then choose a
speed somewhere between the two (depending on traffic, road conditions, and
the presence/absence of cops).

Would raising the limit from 55 to 65 on a stretch of 280 really raise
the average motorist speed by 10mph? My guess is that it would raise it
by 5 or 6 at most. As you keep raising the speed, you gradually approach
a point where the posted speed is about as fast as most drivers will feel
comfortable driving.
-Mike

Kemasa

unread,
Jun 29, 1992, 8:17:10 PM6/29/92
to
In article <1992Jun29.1...@nsc.nsc.com> ba...@nsc.nsc.com (Jeffrey Baer) writes:
>In article <18...@fritz.filenet.com> asyl...@fritz.filenet.com (The Chipmunk) writes:
>>Written in article <1992Jun24....@porthos.cc.bellcore.com>
>> by wh...@dancer.UUCP ():
>>: In article <1992Jun24.1...@col.hp.com> ar...@col.hp.com
>>: (Arnie Berger) writes:
>>: >> No matter what the speed limit is, a large number of folks
>>: >> would go faster than that.
>...

>In addition, there's another thread of this discussion that is talking
>about the real menace being ultra-slow drivers (grandpa). I absolutely
>agree; SPEED is not the significant variable, it is the DIFFERENCE in
>speed between the slow guys and the fast guys on the road. I think 55
>serves to shrink this delta, and I don't see how raising or eliminating
>speed limits will do anything but increase the differential. Gramps is
>not going to go faster than 45 whether the speed limit is 55 or 70.
>Why make him even slower than the prevailing traffic? Is that safer?

The problem is that too many people think 55 is too slow and go over
that while some do not and this is creating the speed difference.
Making the speed limit low only increases the differences since more
people will ignore the speed limit. A good example is on I5 which is
now at 65 for a long stretch. A majority of the people driving on
that road are going closer to the same speed, at least from what
I have seen when I drive it. Some people decide that 65 is fast
enough and don't want to risk a ticket and others will go 65 since
it is the speed limit.

You are always going to have people who are at the extremes and in the case
of the slow drivers they might just take another road, but the majority
will tend to group together and reduce the average difference in speeds.

>>People do not look for speed signs then automatically add
>>10mph. They drive what they feel is safe for the prevailing conditions.
>
>People who don't want to get tickets take some notice of the speed limit.

Yes and if they happen to not go that speed they might just decide
to go *faster* since they are risking a ticket anyhow. If you are going
to break the law, why not get away with all that you can? What is the
difference between 65 and 70 when the speed limit is 55? You can get
a ticket in either case and one gets you where you want to go faster
(although this is a lame excuse in many cases, but think about it).

>>And, as we've already discovered in previous arguments (in ca.driving),
>>I think you'll also find that most of the time, most of the people are
>>right.
>
>Most of the people rationalize their own behavior, whether it is right
>or wrong.

And people rationalize why things should and shouldn't change whether


it is right or wrong.
--

Kemasa.

The best defense is insanity.

Sierra Club Leader NRA Life Member Pro-freedom

e-mail address: kem...@ghost.hac.com

richard welty

unread,
Jun 29, 1992, 6:04:44 PM6/29/92
to
In article <1992Jun29....@cbfsb.cb.att.com> as...@cbnewsg.cb.att.com (andrew.shaw) writes:
> The point, though, is: what is the magic of the 85th
>percentile? Was there an assumption of a Poisson distribution
>and were they therefore thinking "n standard deviations is acceptable,
>but n+1 is not"? And was the minimum speed therefore set to the
>same amount below the mean?

no; it was really just a crude engineering rule of thumb. if you look
at the distribution of the speeds, and at the distribution of fatalities,
you will find that for any given class of roads, there are some clear
patterns; one of these is that the safest traffic on a rural interstate
is invariably that traveling between the 50th percentile and the 85th
percentile (this is a positive correlation; there is no established
causalty here.) the rates for involvement in fatal accidents go up
sharply from this point; traffic at lower speeds tends to be involved
in multi car incidents, and traffic at higher speeds tends to be involved
in single car incidents.

not really `knowing' the causality, and having learned that traffic
tended to ignore speed limit signs, the engineers who used to set speed
limits tended to pick speeds which made the `safest' drivers (e.g., those
statistically least likely to be involved in a fatal accident; again,
for reasons that are as yet not proven) legal; therefore speed limits
tended to be set using a 85th or a 90th percentile rule; the speed limit
was set to the 5mph increment which would at the least make the 85th
percentile drivers legal.

i'm not clear on what the rule of thumb for min speed limits is; the
accident stats for roadways generally suggest that anything below the
30th percentile has a strong correlation with a high accident rate,
but it would be unreasonable to set minimums at such a level for extremely
obvious reasons.

note that in urban environments, the curves are somewhat different; the
`safest' speed is a slightly lower one. the drivers at the greatest
risk, statistically speaking, are those below the 30th percentile, once
again.

Derek Tearne

unread,
Jun 29, 1992, 5:25:48 PM6/29/92
to
In article <1992Jun29....@fivegl.co.nz> hu...@fivegl.co.nz (Hugh Grierson) writes:
>
>One interesting survey (not at all related to the speed limit increase)
>was of the average speeds around curves which post a recommended, not
>mandatory, speed limit. It was found that the average speed was a
>constant amount (around 15k I think) over the posted speed, independent
>of what the posted speed actually was. I have observed local variations
>in this however. In some parts of the country 75 really means 75, not 95.

There are a couple of these in the East Cape which say 25Kmph and 30Kmph and
_mean_ it. Much faster than that and you're cliff fodder. The most
amusing advisory signs in New Zealand are the ones on the Matamata straights.
These are a series of long straight bits of road with a few reasonable
bends and one or two 90 degree bends. The speed limit on this road is
100Kph but many use it to explore their top speeds and 160+ is not unusual.
The bends are posted at an advisory 95Kmph - This is kind of an admission
by the authorities that people will be exceeding the speed limit by a
considerable amount. I wonder what they were posted as when the national
speed limit was 80Kmph - anyone know?

Derek Tearne


--

Derek Tearne de...@fivegl.co.nz --Fujitsu SDC Auckland,New Zealand
VirusBlat Version 1:
.sig virus detected and removed from file: /home/users/derek/.signature

Andrew Lawson

unread,
Jun 29, 1992, 11:07:34 AM6/29/92
to
In article <l4qdc9...@dopey.crhc.uiuc.edu> pee...@dopey.crhc.uiuc.edu (Mike Peercy) writes:
>mad...@cbnewsm.cb.att.com (G. E. Madine, AT&T-BL/AL, cbnewsm.) writes:

>| Anyone care to theorize how "slowpokes" *cause* accidents?

>In brief, the fast car requires only one driver to actively maneuver. The


>slow car forces a multitude of drivers to actively maneuver. Clearly the
>latter condition is much more dangerous, perhaps by orders of magnitude.
>
>However, it's worse than this since the fast car _chooses_ to actively
>maneuver--implying that she is both attentive to and comfortable with it.
>The scores of average speed drivers who must actively maneuver around the
>slow car do not choose it, and are likely more lackadaisical.


I get it. That slow driver forces the other cars to make reckless lane
changes and cut people off.

The way I drive (and was taught), if you are paying attention and
_aren't_ tailgating, you can react safely to most obstacles. I agree
that the meeting of slow drivers and fast drivers can be hazardous, but
I do not accept that the danger comes from the slow driver who is
acting consistently. It comes from drivers who don't want to take the
time to pass safely.


It reminds me of a case I heard while waiting in traffic court a few
years back. Someone had rear-ended another car, and the driver brought
a witness in on his behalf. She said (of the hit car), "She just
stopped for no reason."

The judge's reply was, "What if she had a reason? What if a child had
run in front of the car?" The person charged was simply driving too
closely to have reaction time. It is no defense to say that the other
car shouldn't have stopped. It's sort of like saying, "If you had
moved your face, my fist wouldn't have hit it."

Chris O'Neill

unread,
Jun 30, 1992, 2:53:07 AM6/30/92
to
In article <1992Jun29....@cbfsb.cb.att.com> as...@cbnewsg.cb.att.com

(andrew.shaw) writes:
>From article <1992Jun29....@trl.oz.au>, by c.on...@trl.oz.au (Chris
O'Neill):
>> In article <1992Jun26....@cbfsb.cb.att.com> as...@cbnewsg.cb.att.com
>> (andrew.shaw) writes:
>>>From article <1992Jun26....@kronos.arc.nasa.gov>, by
>> chu...@kronos.arc.nasa.gov (Chuck Fry):
>>>> The 85th percentile rule is the way speed limits used to be set, and
>>>> continues to be the correct way. (I.e. the speed limit should be set
>>>> at a speed that 85% of the drivers don't exceed.)
>>>
>>>Why, I wonder, in those golden days, was there a speed limit at all?
>>>I can see the reason for a "speed advisory" for those unfamiliar with
>>>a specific road, but if the "limit" was set by the speed people actually
>>>drove, why have a limit? After all, they were driving at that speed
>>>to begin with.
>>
>> Not all of them were. Don't you know what 85th percentile means.
>> It means 15% were going faster.
>>
>Thanks for the response. Actually, not only do I know what
>"percentile" means, I also know how to punctuate an interrogative
>sentence. The point, though, is: what is the magic of the 85th
>percentile? Was there an assumption of a Poisson distribution
>and were they therefore thinking "n standard deviations is acceptable,
>but n+1 is not"?

I don't know how the justification was made a long time ago but these days the
justification is that the accident rate only increases for the fastest 5% of
vehicles. This would lead to a speed limit at the 95th percentile but
conservativeness reduces this to the 85th percentile.

> And was the minimum speed therefore set to the
>same amount below the mean?

What do you mean by the minimum speed?

Kenneth Crudup

unread,
Jun 30, 1992, 9:52:23 AM6/30/92
to
In article <1992Jun26....@nsc.nsc.com> ba...@nsc.nsc.com
(Jeffrey Baer) writes:
>Most drivers (except for those who religiously follow all speed limits,
>known in this group most commonly as "sheep")

In article <1992Jun29.1...@acuson.com>
law...@aldia.UUCP (Andrew Lawson) bleats:
>I must register a public complaint. As long as the driving peer pressure is
>derisive toward people who comply with speed limits, no one can expect any
>improvement.

"Improvment" in what? Compliance with the slow speed limits? I assume you're
from the SF Bay Area, and I'm sure there are lots of traffic tie-ups there,
and I bet another 10 mph couldn't hurt anyone.

You still don't get it, huh?

--
Kenneth R. Crudup, Contractor, OSF DCE QA
OSF, 11 Cambridge Center, Cambridge, MA 02142 +1 617 621 7306
ke...@osf.osf.org OSF has nothing to do with this post.
Chmn, Blacks for Perot- "He can't screw us any worse than George or Willie will"

Pete Ikusz

unread,
Jun 30, 1992, 10:28:53 AM6/30/92
to
In article <1992Jun29.1...@acuson.com> law...@aldia.UUCP (Andrew Lawson) writes:
>In article <1992Jun26....@nsc.nsc.com> ba...@nsc.nsc.com (Jeffrey Baer) writes:
>
>>Most drivers
>>(except for those who religiously follow all speed limits,
>>known in this group most commonly as "sheep")
>I must register a public complaint. As long as the driving peer pressure is
>derisive toward people who comply with speed limits, no one can expect any
>improvement.
>
>I obey the posted speed limits and do not appreciate being called a sheep,
>in that I perceive that you intend that in the negative.
>
>I also would offer the retorical question:
> Who is following more, the person obeying the speed limit or the
> person obeying the speed limit + 10 mph?

I think the point needed to be made is that people who drive faster than the
posted speed limit have no problems with people that drive the speed limit.
The problem lies in the latters' understanding of the statement, "SLOWER TRAFFIC
KEEP RIGHT".

In Germany if you are in the left lane and someone wants to pass, it is common
__courtesy__ to move aside. Here the majority of these drivers sit in their
own little world, and either don't see you, don't care, or just won't move.
Sounds like laziness, stubbornness, or both. You make the call.
-Pete
--
-------------------------------------------------------
Pete Ikusz Introl Corporation pe...@introl.com

Robert J. Wade

unread,
Jun 30, 1992, 10:20:44 AM6/30/92
to
In article <1992Jun29.1...@acuson.com> law...@aldia.UUCP (Andrew Lawson) writes:
>In article <1992Jun26....@nsc.nsc.com> ba...@nsc.nsc.com (Jeffrey Baer) writes:
>
>>Most drivers
>>(except for those who religiously follow all speed limits,
>>known in this group most commonly as "sheep")
>
>
>I must register a public complaint. As long as the driving peer pressure is
>derisive toward people who comply with speed limits, no one can expect any
>improvement.
>
i don't mind if you want to follow the speed limit, just please stay in
the right lane and if you are in the left and i am coming up behind you
flashing my lights please move over so i can pass. thank you.


> Who is following more, the person obeying the speed limit or the
> person obeying the speed limit + 10 mph?
>

uh, the person who is obeying the speed limit.

andrew.shaw

unread,
Jun 30, 1992, 1:15:15 PM6/30/92
to
From article <1992Jun29.1...@acuson.com>, by law...@acuson.com (Andrew Lawson):

>
> I also would offer the retorical question:
> Who is following more, the person obeying the speed limit or the
> person obeying the speed limit + 10 mph?
>
The person stuck behind is following more. :->

andrew.shaw

unread,
Jun 30, 1992, 1:10:28 PM6/30/92
to
From article <1992Jun30.0...@trl.oz.au>, by c.on...@trl.oz.au (Chris O'Neill):
> In article <1992Jun29....@cbfsb.cb.att.com> as...@cbnewsg.cb.att.com

> (andrew.shaw) writes:
>
>> And was the minimum speed therefore set to the same amount below the mean?
>
> What do you mean by the minimum speed?

Sometimes here you see highway signs: Speed Limit 55 Minimum 40.

Michael G. Lohmeyer

unread,
Jun 30, 1992, 1:43:46 PM6/30/92
to
In article <1992Jun29.1...@acuson.com> law...@aldia.UUCP (Andrew Lawson) writes:

It is generally true that whenever you rear end someone, no matter what
the other person did, you will be held responsible under the idea that
you should have had enough following distance and attention to react and
stop without hitting the person.

In that respect, if someone is going 55 on the freeway while everyone
else is going 65 to 70, if the slower person gets hit, it is purly the fault
of the person that rear ended the slower person.

Now, let's bring the reality of life into this. I think we all agree
that speed difference is more of a danger than outright speed itself.
This is why if everyone on the freeway is going faster than 65 except for
one person who is doing less than 55, the person driving slow should speed
up because they are causing a hazard. I know, the law says they are doing
nothing wrong, but think in terms of defensive driving. If I was the only
one on a freeway going 55 when everyone else was going 65 or more, I would
feel pretty uncomfortable because I would be worried about someone hitting me. It doesn't mean that I am in the wrong for driving slow, but it does mean
that I am being stupid because I am not driving defensively.

Of course, my example is idealistic in that one person is driving 10
MPH slower than everyone else when really it is more like everyone is
driving between 55-70. But, getting back to the original poster who talked
about the guy who entered the freeway at 25 MPH (I think) and never got
beyond 45 MPH in traffic that was going significantly faster. Anyway you
look at it, this guy was a hazard to himself and to traffic on the freeway.
He should have speed up (before entering the freeway), or he shouldn't
have been on the freeway in the first place.

Mike
-------------
Mike Lohmeyer mi...@berlioz.nsc.com
National Semiconductor Corporation Santa Clara CA
(408) 721-8075

Matthew T. Russotto

unread,
Jun 30, 1992, 10:33:39 PM6/30/92
to
In article <1992Jun29.1...@acuson.com> law...@aldia.UUCP (Andrew Lawson) writes:
>In article <l4qdc9...@dopey.crhc.uiuc.edu> pee...@dopey.crhc.uiuc.edu (Mike Peercy) writes:
>>mad...@cbnewsm.cb.att.com (G. E. Madine, AT&T-BL/AL, cbnewsm.) writes:
>
>>| Anyone care to theorize how "slowpokes" *cause* accidents?
>
>>In brief, the fast car requires only one driver to actively maneuver. The
>>slow car forces a multitude of drivers to actively maneuver. Clearly the
>>latter condition is much more dangerous, perhaps by orders of magnitude.
>>
>>However, it's worse than this since the fast car _chooses_ to actively
>>maneuver--implying that she is both attentive to and comfortable with it.
>>The scores of average speed drivers who must actively maneuver around the
>>slow car do not choose it, and are likely more lackadaisical.
>
>
>I get it. That slow driver forces the other cars to make reckless lane
>changes and cut people off.
>
>The way I drive (and was taught), if you are paying attention and
>_aren't_ tailgating, you can react safely to most obstacles. I agree
>that the meeting of slow drivers and fast drivers can be hazardous, but
>I do not accept that the danger comes from the slow driver who is
>acting consistently. It comes from drivers who don't want to take the
>time to pass safely.

If you've been in the real world, you know that some people are
inattentive ALL the time, and all people are inattentive some of the
time. The driver driving significantly slower than the speed of
traffic is like a magnet for inattentive drivers only. Thus the slow
driver does pose a threat, even if you don't want to assign blame.

>It reminds me of a case I heard while waiting in traffic court a few
>years back. Someone had rear-ended another car, and the driver brought
>a witness in on his behalf. She said (of the hit car), "She just
>stopped for no reason."
>
>The judge's reply was, "What if she had a reason? What if a child had
>run in front of the car?" The person charged was simply driving too
>closely to have reaction time. It is no defense to say that the other
>car shouldn't have stopped. It's sort of like saying, "If you had
>moved your face, my fist wouldn't have hit it."

So if a person DOES stop for no reason, do they have no blame? That
certainly makes no sense.

--
Matthew T. Russotto russ...@eng.umd.edu russ...@wam.umd.edu
Some news readers expect "Disclaimer:" here.
Just say NO to police searches and seizures. Make them use force.
(not responsible for bodily harm resulting from following above advice)

Mike Peercy

unread,
Jun 30, 1992, 11:34:48 PM6/30/92
to
law...@acuson.com (Andrew Lawson) writes:

| pee...@dopey.crhc.uiuc.edu (Mike Peercy) writes:
| >mad...@cbnewsm.cb.att.com (G. E. Madine, AT&T-BL/AL, cbnewsm.) writes:

| >| Anyone care to theorize how "slowpokes" *cause* accidents?

| >In brief, the fast car requires only one driver to actively maneuver. The
| >slow car forces a multitude of drivers to actively maneuver. Clearly the
| >latter condition is much more dangerous, perhaps by orders of magnitude.
| >
| >However, it's worse than this since the fast car _chooses_ to actively
| >maneuver--implying that she is both attentive to and comfortable with it.
| >The scores of average speed drivers who must actively maneuver around the
| >slow car do not choose it, and are likely more lackadaisical.

| I get it. That slow driver forces the other cars to make reckless lane
| changes and cut people off.

| The way I drive (and was taught), if you are paying attention and
| _aren't_ tailgating, you can react safely to most obstacles. I agree
| that the meeting of slow drivers and fast drivers can be hazardous, but
| I do not accept that the danger comes from the slow driver who is
| acting consistently. It comes from drivers who don't want to take the
| time to pass safely.

I am not trying to pass a moral judgment on the speed of a driver.
I'm simply trying to point out that it is a more hazardous situation
to have one slow car on the road than to have one fast car on the road.

When a dozen cars going 68-72 come up behind a car going 60 in the
right lane (of two), they must all go to the left lane to pass. In
taking the time to pass safely, some of these cars will actually fall
in speed to 60 as they must wait for the left lane to clear.

Some posters have pointed out that it is the _differences_ in speeds
of cars which is the correlated factor in accidents. As some of the
passing cars must slow down in order to pass, the standard deviation
of the speeds of all the cars actually increases! Thus the situation
is more dangerous by the measure of speed difference.

On the other hand, when an 80 mph car passes the bunch at 68-72,
the only car which may need to change its speed is the 80, a change
which will, in fact, _lower_ the standard deviation of speeds.

If we're to take speed differential as _the_ deciding factor in
accidents (an unwise move, I agree), the fast car passing the
pack is an inherently stable situation because the speed
differential is nonincreasing. However, the pack passing the
slow car is an inherently unstable situation because the speed
differential is nondecreasing.

This is a naturally occurrence when the average drivers are forced
to react rather than when the exceptional driver must react.

Mike Peercy
pee...@crhc.uiuc.edu

Matthew T. Russotto

unread,
Jun 30, 1992, 10:19:33 PM6/30/92
to
In article <43...@transfer.stratus.com> lead...@bigbootay.sw.stratus.com writes:
>Sure! In fact I can even provide a real life example.
>
>Last night on the way home I had the misfortune to being behind some
>older man in a Trecel. He crawled down the freeway to an exit ramp
>where he proceded to go about 15 MPH around a corner I normally
>take at 40-45. Then he merges into 55+ traffic while still going
>less than 25. I pulled left early and went around him before he broke
>30.
...

>He seemed to feel everyone else had to brake to let his econ-box in
>because he had his signal on. People in the left lane had to brake real
>hard to avoid hitting him. This man is an accident trying to happen.
...

>That old man and his car had no place in the middle lane, let alone
>the left. He never made it to even 55 when he got to the left lane.


Just to defend the car model I drive, the Tercel is perfectly capable
of acceleration into 55MPH traffic. Or 75MPH traffic for that matter.
You might have to take it out of 4th, something some people seem
unable to understand...

Andrew Lawson

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Jul 1, 1992, 10:58:55 AM7/1/92
to
In article <1992Jun30.1...@noose.ecn.purdue.edu> rjw...@rainbow.ecn.purdue.edu (Robert J. Wade) writes:
>In article <1992Jun29.1...@acuson.com> law...@aldia.UUCP (Andrew Lawson) writes:
>
>> Who is following more, the person obeying the speed limit or the
>> person obeying the speed limit + 10 mph?
>>
>uh, the person who is obeying the speed limit.

Why? The sign on the side of the road is what the speeder is following.
How many of those 65 drivers stay at 65 when the speed limit drops to
35?

They're just faster sheep.

Andrew Lawson

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Jul 1, 1992, 10:56:10 AM7/1/92
to

>I think the point needed to be made is that people who drive faster than the
>posted speed limit have no problems with people that drive the speed limit.
>The problem lies in the latters' understanding of the statement, "SLOWER TRAFFIC
>KEEP RIGHT".

Perhaps you can explain then why it is that I am constantly being
tailgated when driving in the right two lanes of a four lane highway.
These drivers with at least two passing lanes to the left still hang on
my bumber as if it were their duty to help me realize that I've
forgotten to drive at 65 mph.


You might also explain for me the recently posted sentiment that slower
drivers (i.e. non-speeders) are a traffic hazard.

Unknown

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Jul 1, 1992, 2:47:48 PM7/1/92
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Who cares.

Jeffrey Baer

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Jul 1, 1992, 7:08:44 PM7/1/92
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In article <1992Jun29.1...@acuson.com> law...@aldia.UUCP (Andrew Lawson) writes:
>In article <1992Jun26....@nsc.nsc.com> ba...@nsc.nsc.com (Jeffrey Baer) writes:
>
>>Most drivers
>>(except for those who religiously follow all speed limits,
>>known in this group most commonly as "sheep")
>
>
>I must register a public complaint. As long as the driving peer pressure is
>derisive toward people who comply with speed limits, no one can expect any
>improvement.
>
>I obey the posted speed limits and do not appreciate being called a sheep,
>in that I perceive that you intend that in the negative.

Sorry. It was a satirical reference, not meant to be offensive. Others
in this group have used the term in a much more negative sense, and
I was trying to make a slight point (obviously too slight).

If you notice, I was defending the position of the importance of speed limits.

>
>I also would offer the retorical question:

> Who is following more, the person obeying the speed limit or the
> person obeying the speed limit + 10 mph?
>

>--
>Drew Lawson If you're not part of the solution,
>law...@acuson.com you're part of the precipitate

Jeff Donsbach x4365 5-2

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Jul 1, 1992, 5:29:03 PM7/1/92
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In article &