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BaderJF

Speed limit

Increasing speed limits  

68 members have voted

  1. 1. Increase speed limits?

    • yes
      37
    • no
      15
    • maybe
      3
    • on new highways e.g. IH10
      9
    • add "speed lanes"
      4


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What do you think about increasing the speed limit on freeways and highways especially on IH10

to like 75 since many drivers go at least 80, or add "speed lanes" where a person can drive faster than

the regular lanes.

What do you think is a good speed limit?

 

Just something to see peoples opinion on

 

Edited by BaderJF

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NO!  Safety first!  You increase to 75, then people will speed going 90, rather than 80.  Increase to 80, then people will want to drive 100.

 

We have WAY too many injuries and fatalities on the roads as it is - excluding those killed by people under the influence.

 

Increasing speed does nothing but make driving more dangerous.  And there are "Speed Lanes" - its called the Left Lane.  Its for passing.  ONLY.

Edited by arche_757

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NO!  Safety first!  You increase to 75, then people will speed going 90, rather than 80.  Increase to 80, then people will want to drive 100.

 

We have WAY too many injuries and fatalities on the roads as it is - excluding those killed by people under the influence.

 

Increasing speed does nothing but make driving more dangerous.  And there are "Speed Lanes" - its called the Left Lane.  Its for passing.  ONLY.

 

 

From NMA  (http://www.motorists.org/speed-limits/faq)

 

Q. Isn't slower always safer?

A. No, federal and state studies have consistently shown that the drivers most likely to get into accidents in traffic are those traveling significantly below the average speed. According toresearch, those driving 10 mph slower than the prevailing speed are more likely to be involved in an accident. That means that if the average speed on an interstate is 70 mph, the person traveling at 60 mph is more likely to be involved in an accident than someone going 70 or even 80 mph.

Q. Wouldn't everyone drive faster if the speed limit was raised?

A. No, the majority of drivers will not go faster than what they feel is comfortable and safe regardless of the speed limit. For example, an 18-month study following an increase in the speed limit along the New York Thruway from 55 to 65 mph, determined that the average speed of traffic, 68 mph, remained the same. Even a national study conducted by Federal Highway Administration also concluded that raising or lowering the speed limit had practically no effect on actual travel speeds.

Q. Don't higher speed limits cause more accidents and traffic fatalities?

A. No, if a speed limit is raised to actually reflect real travel speeds, the new higher limit will make the roads safer. When the majority of traffic is traveling at the same speed, traffic flow improves, and there are fewer accidents. Speed alone is rarely the cause of accidents. Differences in speed are the main problem. Reasonable speed limits help traffic to flow at a safer, more uniform pace.

Q. Aren't most traffic accidents caused by speeding?

A. No, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) claims that 30 percent of all fatal accidents are "speed related," but even this is misleading. This means that in less than a third of the cases, one of the drivers involved in the accident was "assumed" to be exceeding the posted limit. It does not mean that speeding caused the accident. Research conducted by the Florida Department of Transportation showed that the percentage of accidents actually caused by speeding is very low, 2.2 percent.

Edited by HoustonMidtown

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Wow!  You sure pulled that up quickly!

 

Those are good points.  However, my post should have included:  Drive THE speed limit marked, or slightly over (I tend to drive 3-4 miles faster on the freeways), road speeds I maintain an EXACT speed that's posted.  I'm not advocating for slower speeds, just for people to not speed.  I don't want to have to merge onto 59 at Greenbriar/Shepherd going 75 when it should be 65 or even 60 (due to the density of traffic).  Or worse at PEL off of Allen Parkway going 70 on that meager little acceleration lane.  That's almost suicidal right now, add 15 mph to the speed limit and we're talking impossible dangerous!

 

That's all I'm saying.

 

And speeding = reckless driving (talking about excessive speeding).  Reckless driving is dangerous.

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From NMA  (http://www.motorists.org/speed-limits/faq)

 

Q. Isn't slower always safer?

A. No, federal and state studies have consistently shown that the drivers most likely to get into accidents in traffic are those traveling significantly below the average speed. According toresearch, those driving 10 mph slower than the prevailing speed are more likely to be involved in an accident. That means that if the average speed on an interstate is 70 mph, the person traveling at 60 mph is more likely to be involved in an accident than someone going 70 or even 80 mph.

Q. Wouldn't everyone drive faster if the speed limit was raised?

A. No, the majority of drivers will not go faster than what they feel is comfortable and safe regardless of the speed limit. For example, an 18-month study following an increase in the speed limit along the New York Thruway from 55 to 65 mph, determined that the average speed of traffic, 68 mph, remained the same. Even a national study conducted by Federal Highway Administration also concluded that raising or lowering the speed limit had practically no effect on actual travel speeds.

These two answers contradict each other. If increasing the speed limit won't make everyone drive faster, then those who continue to drive slower will cause more accidents with those who speed up. "those driving 10 mph slower than the prevailing speed are more likely to be involved in an accident"

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Hard-hitting research from the NMA. No biases there :lol:

 

I'm fully in favor of special lanes on all roads for people who hate speed limits... with 20-foot high walls so when they crash they incinerate each other and help clean out the gene pool.

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We need more police on the freeways and roads to enforce the current laws and limits. It's crazy out there.

 

I go weeks without seeing a cop on the freeways and I commute all the way to Clear Lake.

 

 

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NO! Safety first! You increase to 75, then people will speed going 90, rather than 80. Increase to 80, then people will want to drive 100.

We have WAY too many injuries and fatalities on the roads as it is - excluding those killed by people under the influence.

Increasing speed does nothing but make driving more dangerous. And there are "Speed Lanes" - its called the Left Lane. Its for passing. ONLY.

Yes the left lane is for speeding, however you always have that person who decides to go slow and have a bunch of cars behind that makes people angry and cause traffic.

Speed lanes would have a minimum speed and the right of way for people going faster

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I don't feel safe in my little tin can at very high speeds (75+) - plus the mpg blows. As for above, yeah, passing lane is for passing. Some people just don't get that.

 

 

25339788.jpg

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I don't feel safe in my little tin can at very high speeds (75+) - plus the mpg blows. As for above, yeah, passing lane is for passing. Some people just don't get that.

 

 

25339788.jpg

 

Bonus: coming back into town from Sugar Land on 59 earlier this afternoon, I was one of several cars stuck behind a dump truck that was cruising along in the passing lane for several miles with absolutely no intention of moving over. I was really wishing a cop would spot him, pull him over, and write him up. After a savage beating to ensure that he doesn't ever forget proper lane discipline again. 

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There are always going to be conflicting issues when it comes to speed limits.

 

1. Speed limits are ridiculously low on the major highways, if the design and engineering of the roads is the only consideration. The original autobahnen built in Germany in the 1930s look like country two-lanes compared to something like I-10, where 60-70 mph can feel like 20 mph on a surface street. 

 

People recognize this, which is why it was previously pointed out:

 

 

 

Q. Wouldn't everyone drive faster if the speed limit was raised?
A. No, the majority of drivers will not go faster than what they feel is comfortable and safe regardless of the speed limit. For example, an 18-month study following an increase in the speed limit along the New York Thruway from 55 to 65 mph, determined that the average speed of traffic, 68 mph, remained the same. Even a national study conducted by Federal Highway Administration also concluded that raising or lowering the speed limit had practically no effect on actual travel speeds.

 

Note that what feels safe can vary widely from car to car - in a new sports car 70 mph may be loafing along, while in an elderly sedan with tired suspension and brakes, the same speed can induce a serious pucker factor. 

 

2. Unfortunately, as is demonstrated on a daily basis, most people have little to no understanding of the basic physics involved in car control. This situation is made worse by the fact that IMO it's far too easy to get a driver's license. It would be great if a driving test involved real-world freeway survival skills imparted through a day at the racetrack, but it'll never happen because any attempt to toughen driver standards will set the children to whining that the gubmint is overstepping its boundaries, conveniently ignoring the fact that driving is a privilege and not a right. In my version of utopia, you wouldn't be able to operate a motor vehicle on a public roadway until you've fully internalized the realities that you WILL roll over if you attempt a sudden change in direction in a vehicle with a high center of gravity (such as an SUV) at elevated speeds, and that you WILL NOT be able to stop a 2.5 ton pickup in 100 feet from 90 mph.

 

3. Corollary to #2: too many people treat their vehicles like extensions of their living rooms, and are consequently focused on everything but their surroundings and what their vehicles are doing. While I'm dreaming, if everyone had to ride a motorcycle around any of the major highways in town during rush hour for one day as part of the Utopian Driving Test, it would probably do more to convince drivers to put their phones down and pay attention than any legislative prohibition ever will. 

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Speed limit should be lowered for environmental reasons. Also accidents are more devestating at higher speeds

 

You weren't driving when the speed limit was 55, were you? If you think it's so great, try driving from Houston to El Paso at 55.

 

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Speed limit should be lowered for environmental reasons. Also accidents are more devestating at higher speeds

I think I read on HAIF that that's why many urban highways are 65 MPH, because of emission control reasons (though the reasoning behind this is out of date).

Regardless, I have 3 things to say:

1. I'm nostalgic for the 65 MPH Night speed limit, and I feel it would be safer to go a bit slower at night anyway. (see my avatar)

2. 75 MPH on non-limited access highways is ridiculous. While 75 going down a freeway is divine, it's not so great if you have someone turning in or out.

3. Lowering speed limits on roads is often a way to create a speed trap where none exists. Even at current situations, this is still aggravating: Highway 6 from Navasota to Hempstead has many rural driveways and a few cross streets. It's 75 MPH. Highway 290 from Hempstead to Houston is 65 and fully limited access. BOOM! The highway patrol will get'cha! I also agree with the posters above that it won't really slow down average traffic or make things safer.

 

This situation is made worse by the fact that IMO it's far too easy to get a driver's license. It would be great if a driving test involved real-world freeway survival skills imparted through a day at the racetrack

When I was in high school, I actually won the opportunity to give my car some high-speed braking and other crazy stuff with my car (a '92 Sable at the time, which doesn't have ABS). I literally felt that the car was going to hit someone, flip over, or crash into the concrete wall at the end of the track. None of those actually happened, but holy **** it was terrifying.

Edited by IronTiger
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You weren't driving when the speed limit was 55, were you? If you think it's so great, try driving from Houston to El Paso at 55.

 

 

Who would drive from Houston to El Paso?

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Who would drive from Houston to El Paso?

 

You need to get out more often.  I10 is a major east-west artery running from Jacksonville to LA.

 

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Who would drive from Houston to El Paso?

 

A family of three that can't afford to buy $1000 in plane tickets, plus wants to camp in Big Bend along the way. Quit projecting your desires and lifestyle on others.

 

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Who would drive from Houston to El Paso?

 

If you've never been to the far west Texas desert then you are sadly missing some great open space that is both raw and beautiful.  Big Bend, Davis Mountains and Guadalupe Mountains are all quite interesting.  Also, Marfa and Alpine are nice smaller towns - Marfa in particular is quite the artists hotbed.  It is worth the trip.  Besides the Hill Country from Boerne to Ozona is pretty too.

 

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If you've never been to the far west Texas desert then you are sadly missing some great open space that is both raw and beautiful.  Big Bend, Davis Mountains and Guadalupe Mountains are all quite interesting.  

 

Yep. You haven't lived until you've driven all night across West Texas and arrived at the entrance to Big Bend at sunrise (for those who haven't been there, once you hit the main entrance on 385 coming from Marathon there's another 25-30 miles until you reach the park headquarters). 

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I think the speed limits on some of the freeways in TxDOT's Houston District need to be raised, not to 75 or 80 like on the rural interstates between major metro areas in TX, but to levels that are appropriate for surrounding population density, highway design, and traffic level. 70 mph is a reasonable limit for the freeways in suburban and rural areas and serves as a good buffer between the 75 mph zones outside the Houston District and the 65 mph zones inside the Houston District. Let's use the Katy Freeway for example. From the Bexar County line to the Brazos River, the limit is 75 mph. From the Brazos River to Highway 6, a 70 mph limit would be reasonable, with a 65 mph limit from Highway 6 to 610, and continuing the current 60 mph limit inside 610. As it stands now, the limit drops from 75 to 65 at the Brazos River and continues at 65 until Katy or so, before dropping down to 60 from Katy to Downtown.

 

For those who think higher limits will turn everyone into speed demons, have you driven the stretches of I-45 and I-10 that have 75 mph speed limits? Prior to the speed limit increase, traffic flowed at 70-75 mph in 70 mph zones. In my travels, I have observed that even with the increase in the speed limit, traffic is still generally flowing at 70-75 mph.

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I think in the city, probably beltway and in, the limit needs to be lowered to like 55. Think about it. Your average trip in town is maybe 10 miles on a freeway, so you only lose 30 seconds off the drive going 55 vs 60 and you save substantially on gas. And despite what some studies say, it is safer.

Outside of town it should be raised substantially, 85. On a 200 mile trip that's a decent amount of time you could save. Make some toll lanes and make it even higher, obviously at that point you'd need a special inspection, tire rating, brakes, etc. I think a lot would pay.

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You need to get out more often. I10 is a major east-west artery running from Jacksonville to LA.

I've been on 10 on the extreme ends, in LA and Florida.

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A family of three that can't afford to buy $1000 in plane tickets, plus wants to camp in Big Bend along the way. Quit projecting your desires and lifestyle on others.

$1000? I see tickets frequently for $69 each way on Southwest Airlines. Also Amtrak is a viable alternative that doesn't require driving and stops in alpine.

If you've never been to the far west Texas desert then you are sadly missing some great open space that is both raw and beautiful. Big Bend, Davis Mountains and Guadalupe Mountains are all quite interesting. Also, Marfa and Alpine are nice smaller towns - Marfa in particular is quite the artists hotbed. It is worth the trip. Besides the Hill Country from Boerne to Ozona is pretty too.

I plan to take amtrak to alpine sometime next month and will check out big bend.

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Also Amtrak is a viable alternative that doesn't require driving and stops in alpine.

Um, no. Given the little frequency Amtrak travels and a bunch of missing routes (you cannot get from California to Florida anymore on the Sunset Limited, traffic was suspended after Katrina, and it still is, over 8 years later).

I think the speed limits on some of the freeways in TxDOT's Houston District need to be raised, not to 75 or 80 like on the rural interstates between major metro areas in TX, but to levels that are appropriate for surrounding population density, highway design, and traffic level.

I spotted a posted 60 MPH speed limit on 610 when I was in Houston yesterday. Needless to say, traffic was not going at 60.

I've been on 10 on the extreme ends, in LA and Florida.

I think they meant IN-BETWEEN them, not just in-town driving on "The 10".

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Um, no. Given the little frequency Amtrak travels and a bunch of missing routes (you cannot get from California to Florida anymore on the Sunset Limited, traffic was suspended after Katrina, and it still is, over 8 years later).

I spotted a posted 60 MPH speed limit on 610 when I was in Houston yesterday. Needless to say, traffic was not going at 60.

I think they meant IN-BETWEEN them, not just in-town driving on "The 10".

 

Amtrak goes to El Paso three times a week.

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$1000? I see tickets frequently for $69 each way on Southwest Airlines. Also Amtrak is a viable alternative that doesn't require driving and stops in alpine.

I plan to take amtrak to alpine sometime next month and will check out big bend.

 

Are you going to walk from Alpine to Big Bend? And, it looks like it costs about $300 to get to Alpine and back on Amtrak. I can drive for a lot less than that, carrying my tent, sleeping bags, cooking equipment, camp chairs, etc, plus my family.

 

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Are you going to walk from Alpine to Big Bend? And, it looks like it costs about $300 to get to Alpine and back on Amtrak. I can drive for a lot less than that, carrying my tent, sleeping bags, cooking equipment, camp chairs, etc, plus my family.

 

 

I see fares for $162 to Alpine. Can rent a car in Alpine for a nominal fee. Also if you have chase ultimate rewards points 30,000 can get you a sleeper cabin for free.

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I see fares for $162 to Alpine. Can rent a car in Alpine for a nominal fee. Also if you have chase ultimate rewards points 30,000 can get you a sleeper cabin for free.

 

That's still more than I would spend on gas, and I have three people to buy tickets for. Plus, I can easily make trips to visit attractions in San Antonio, Ozona, Ft. Stockton, etc. Ans, since I have a highly capable 4WD SUV, I cna visit parts of Big Bend you can only dream of with your nominally priced compact rental car.

 

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That's still more than I would spend on gas, and I have three people to buy tickets for. Plus, I can easily make trips to visit attractions in San Antonio, Ozona, Ft. Stockton, etc. Ans, since I have a highly capable 4WD SUV, I cna visit parts of Big Bend you can only dream of with your nominally priced compact rental car.

 

 

Can rent a 4WD too smart guy

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Actually, I don't think you can.

http://www.alpineautorental.com/

That's the ONLY rental car place I see in Alpine

Here is a map of Alpine, feel free to search for rental cars.  I think you may be able to rent through the airport, but not really sure.

 

And that location isn't really very close in to town - you'd have to take a cab or walk a good distance, and it gets really cold over in that part of the state at this time of year.

 

And that part of the state is really sparse.  There's almost nothing between towns.  Without a car you won't be able to travel very easily.

Edited by arche_757

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Actually, I don't think you can.

http://www.alpineautorental.com/

That's the ONLY rental car place I see in Alpine

Here is a map of Alpine, feel free to search for rental cars.  I think you may be able to rent through the airport, but not really sure.

 

And that location isn't really very close in to town - you'd have to take a cab or walk a good distance, and it gets really cold over in that part of the state at this time of year.

 

And that part of the state is really sparse.  There's almost nothing between towns.  Without a car you won't be able to travel very easily.

 

They come meet you at the station. Also there is another agency that rents 4WD vehicles.

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I've been on 10 on the extreme ends, in LA and Florida.

 

And if you try driving some of the in-between segments you'll find that it is a heavily-utilized east-west corridor.  Lots of people drive I10 to El Paso and beyond.

 

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And if you try driving some of the in-between segments you'll find that it is a heavily-utilized east-west corridor.  Lots of people drive I10 to El Paso and beyond.

 

 

Driving to El Paso is an utter waste of time, in my opinion.

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What do you think about increasing the speed limit on freeways and highways especially on IH10

to like 75 since many drivers go at least 80, or add "speed lanes" where a person can drive faster than

the regular lanes.

What do you think is a good speed limit?

Just something to see peoples opinion on

I have always thought autobahn style "speed lanes" in the middle of the median would be amazing on the major interstates like 10, 35, and 45. The speed limits could be like 110 in the left lane and 95 in the right lane or something like that.

Have the speed lanes require an ez tag type thing to keep track of who accesses the road and make it to where the people who get the special permit on their car have to pass a stricter driving test and be at least 21-25 years old or something, and their car have to pass a more stringent inspection to make sure the vehicle can handle the higher speeds.

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My single argument about this whole "raising the speedlimit" thing was safety.  If you have ever seen any wrecks in Germany then you would know that most of them are really quite bad.  Surviving an accident even something like a blow out because you had a cut on the tread - that you'd never see unless you soaked the tire in soapy water- would be fatal.  More so than that, the practice of just braking in time is very hard on really high speed roads.  I drove about 90-98 mph in Germany and did so comfortably without too much concern of going faster (though of course you could).  I had 1 near accident when a cop on a motorcycle had stoped all traffic just around a bend because someone in a Porsche had wrecked (had to be fatal from the looks of it) and other people behind me nearly ran into me (at higher speeds than our freeways).  After that I avoided the autobahns as much as possible!

 

If you want to play with your life have at it, but do so in a place where you aren't putting others in danger.

 

All that said - Germany roads are actually safer than ours.  That's not because of the speeds, but because the drivers are better.  We're Americans.  Most of us are pretty stupid behind the wheel, most of us would be worse drivers at higher speeds.

 

Imagine the typical soccer mom/dad driving to town x/y/z legally going 100mph while texting or talking on his/her phone and eating a McMuffin!  Not the best idea.

Edited by arche_757

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My single argument about this whole "raising the speedlimit" thing was safety.  If you have ever seen any wrecks in Germany then you would know that most of them are really quite bad.  Surviving an accident even something like a blow out because you had a cut on the tread - that you'd never see unless you soaked the tire in soapy water- would be fatal.  More so than that, the practice of just braking in time is very hard on really high speed roads.  I drove about 90-98 mph in Germany and did so comfortably without too much concern of going faster (though of course you could).  I had 1 near accident when a cop on a motorcycle had stoped all traffic just around a bend because someone in a Porsche had wrecked (had to be fatal from the looks of it) and other people behind me nearly ran into me (at higher speeds than our freeways).  After that I avoided the autobahns as much as possible!

 

If you want to play with your life have at it, but do so in a place where you aren't putting others in danger.

 

All that said - Germany roads are actually safer than ours.  That's not because of the speeds, but because the drivers are better.  We're Americans.  Most of us are pretty stupid behind the wheel, most of us would be worse drivers at higher speeds.

 

Imagine the typical soccer mom/dad driving to town x/y/z legally going 100mph while texting or talking on his/her phone and eating a McMuffin!  Not the best idea.

 

Who can forget Drazen Petrovic

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My single argument about this whole "raising the speedlimit" thing was safety. If you have ever seen any wrecks in Germany then you would know that most of them are really quite bad. Surviving an accident even something like a blow out because you had a cut on the tread - that you'd never see unless you soaked the tire in soapy water- would be fatal. More so than that, the practice of just braking in time is very hard on really high speed roads. I drove about 90-98 mph in Germany and did so comfortably without too much concern of going faster (though of course you could). I had 1 near accident when a cop on a motorcycle had stoped all traffic just around a bend because someone in a Porsche had wrecked (had to be fatal from the looks of it) and other people behind me nearly ran into me (at higher speeds than our freeways). After that I avoided the autobahns as much as possible!

If you want to play with your life have at it, but do so in a place where you aren't putting others in danger.

All that said - Germany roads are actually safer than ours. That's not because of the speeds, but because the drivers are better. We're Americans. Most of us are pretty stupid behind the wheel, most of us would be worse drivers at higher speeds.

Imagine the typical soccer mom/dad driving to town x/y/z legally going 100mph while texting or talking on his/her phone and eating a McMuffin! Not the best idea.

Most of those points could be fixed..

Have LED signs on arches over the speed lanes every few miles warning of any accidents or slow moving traffic ahead (of course the whole road would be monitored with cameras and sensors), or yellow lights on the barriers that can flash, indicating to use caution ahead when there is traffic of a wreck.

I wrecked a car going 80+ before.. When there are barriers on both sides of the road to keep your vehicle on the road/going straight, and your smart and don't install things in dumb places for vehicles to run into head on like txdot does when they overlap guard rails, (with the overlap side sticking out into the road for you to hit), or poles and trees in the areas they can be hit, then the roads would be much safer. It's when you hit something head on that stops your vehicle instantly that serious damage/death occurs. I don't understand why they don't tie the light poles into the guard rail/wire fence set ups so that they can't be hit head on.

The guard rails would be at least tall enough to keep vehicles from going over the sides into the slower traffic lanes.

The German drivers are better partly due to their much more stringent driving tests, which is what I recommended them doing to allow you to get onto the speed lanes.

I agree people multitasking would be a problem but that's why they enforce insanely strict laws/fines preventing people from doing that. Or have some frequency on the highway that eliminates cell phone service so you can't use your phone. But I can say if you've ever driven 185mph before, you would know that no one would multitask driving at such high speeds. It's physically draining and practically impossible to take your hands off the steering wheel.

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The speed limit is 65 through most of the suburbs (Katy, the woodlands/spring, sugar land, Pearland I know for sure) and mostly 60 in the city. I think you could increase that by five everywhere. I don't think driving patterns would change much. People just would not be worried about being pulled over for going 73 because the speed limit is 70. When the speed limit went up on 45 to 75, it feels like most people go like 75 to 80 still. The left lane passes at like 85, unless there is an idiot hogging or passing slow as hell. If everyone treated every lane to the left as the next passing lane, and semis were only allowed in the right two lanes, then traffic would be reduced.

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I don't think the issue is the speed limit. On my commute, I would wager that 70-80% of drivers are distracted on their phones, either talking or texting. How about we mandate that while you're driving your 3000 pound weapon, you devote 95% of your mental capacity to driving? On freeways outside of the city (sparse traffic areas), I firmly feel comfortable going 85-90 on a straight away. That's because both hands are on the wheel, I'm not messing with my phone, and I'm watching out for bad drivers. In the city, you'd better believe I never go more than a couple miles faster per hour than the posted limits.

 

 

The people advocating for slower speed limits are most likely the offenders who are eating breakfast, texting, chatting on their phones, et cetera. But my radical views are that far too many people are allowed to drive in the first place. There should be a much more stringent test to be able to gain a license that involves slalom, high speed cornering, and drifting. Make people proficient at driving and take away distractions and there goes the fatalities. I've had my license for over a decade and I've not had a single ticket (no, I don't have a radar detector) or accident, and predominantly my vehicles have been either sport bikes or sports cars.

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In general I think speed limits are set too low, but on busy roads the appropriate speed depends on conditions and time of day.  What I would like to see is wifi-enable speed limit signs that could be varied as needed.  

 

I definitely agree that driving standards in Europe are MUCH higher, and that includes more than just talking on the phone while driving.  If you block a passing lane there other drivers will very quickly make you aware of it, and you are expected to get over.  In the US I think a lot, if not most, people simply have no idea of the concept of slow traffic keeping right.  If one flashes headlights they don't move over because they don't realize they are supposed to, or they think it is somehow rude to expect other drivers to move out of the way.  The idea of "speed lanes" is interesting, but to me it would be a waste of money unless drivers were better educated in driving, because some clown would still be tooling down a speed lane at 60, oblivious to the world.  

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In terms of going too FAST, when speed limits fail to do the trick to slow down traffic, on smaller residential roads, they put needless all-way stop signs at entrances to cul-de-sacs. My uncle's neighborhood in Baton Rouge added them around 2007-2008. My own 'hood added them as well (but thankfully, not where I drive on it).

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KqIuX5sS5uw

 

Posting this because I just saw it, powerful and relevant.

 

I'm ok with 60 in the city, with it going up to 65 near the beltway and 75 in the middle of nowhere. Like others said, the distances are shorter and you're not really buying much, and there are a lot of entrances/exits, changes to lanes, etc where lower speeds help with reaction time. The number one thing for me is having people pay attention and learn how to drive!

 

Regarding MPG, 55 is not necessarily the most efficient. It dependent on the car, some cars start falling off at 60, some 70. I don't start seeing a drop off until i exceed 75, and now that I drive 80 much of the way to Austin I do see a dropoff.

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From NMA  (http://www.motorists.org/speed-limits/faq)

 

Q. Isn't slower always safer?

A. No, federal and state studies have consistently shown that the drivers most likely to get into accidents in traffic are those traveling significantly below the average speed. According toresearch, those driving 10 mph slower than the prevailing speed are more likely to be involved in an accident. That means that if the average speed on an interstate is 70 mph, the person traveling at 60 mph is more likely to be involved in an accident than someone going 70 or even 80 mph.

Q. Wouldn't everyone drive faster if the speed limit was raised?

A. No, the majority of drivers will not go faster than what they feel is comfortable and safe regardless of the speed limit. For example, an 18-month study following an increase in the speed limit along the New York Thruway from 55 to 65 mph, determined that the average speed of traffic, 68 mph, remained the same. Even a national study conducted by Federal Highway Administration also concluded that raising or lowering the speed limit had practically no effect on actual travel speeds.

Q. Don't higher speed limits cause more accidents and traffic fatalities?

A. No, if a speed limit is raised to actually reflect real travel speeds, the new higher limit will make the roads safer. When the majority of traffic is traveling at the same speed, traffic flow improves, and there are fewer accidents. Speed alone is rarely the cause of accidents. Differences in speed are the main problem. Reasonable speed limits help traffic to flow at a safer, more uniform pace.

Q. Aren't most traffic accidents caused by speeding?

A. No, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) claims that 30 percent of all fatal accidents are "speed related," but even this is misleading. This means that in less than a third of the cases, one of the drivers involved in the accident was "assumed" to be exceeding the posted limit. It does not mean that speeding caused the accident. Research conducted by the Florida Department of Transportation showed that the percentage of accidents actually caused by speeding is very low, 2.2 percent.

 

Most of these points make more sense in relation to raising the speed limit above the previous status quo of 55. I don't agree that they support raising the speed limit to 75, 80, or more.

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^Agreed.

 

A lot of people tend to think traveling faster than 70mph is just as safe as what we have now.  Unfortunately I see things differently, unless/until we have automated driving systems (or at least failsafes) we won't see a reduction in accidents by increasing the speed limit.  Perhaps if the speed limit was increased but tempers cooled in the process? 

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Speed related accidents are caused either by driving too fast for conditions, or too much speed differential between vehicles.  The operating theory behind setting the speed limit in accordance with the 85th percentile is that the bulk of the driving public is not suicidal and can therefore pretty much figure out how fast to drive all on their own.  Personally, I think there is a lot of value in having a minimum speed on highways as well as a maximum, in order to cut down on the differential.

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The problem with trying to make blanket assessments about speed limits is that relative safety depends significantly on the specific highway's age and condition. I feel much safer driving 75 on the Katy Fwy than I do driving 65 on 45 north.

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Speed limits vary on car type, too. A modern car, especially one built for speed, could seem normal or downright pokey at 70, while some older or underpowered cars are absolutely terrifying at the same speed.

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Funny - I don't remember being particularly terrified driving the Houston freeways in an air cooled VW with all of 50 horsepower on tap back in the day - and it would do 70 - 80 all day long.  Zero to 60 was best measured with a sundial, and it would not do 85, except downhill.  Perhaps my fear gene hadn't really kicked in yet.

 

Then again, there wasn't as much traffic back then, and the traffic that was around was accustomed to the much broader band of acceleration ability that existed at the time.

 

I also remember (during the same era) bombing serenely through west Texas at around 90 in my mom's enormous Chrysler station wagon with engine to match, Mom calmly sitting beside me and the DPS ignoring us because the 55 mph speed limit hadn't been invented yet so they had no need for radar.

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Yeah, a lot of it depends on acceleration speed, too, which is where the real "I'm going fast" sensation kicks in.

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Yeah, a lot of it depends on acceleration speed, too, which is where the real "I'm going fast" sensation kicks in.

 

Perceived speed also has a lot to do with where you are in relation to the ground and how much metal is around you.

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