Recently Great Britain has entertained thoughts of raising their speed limits on their highways to roughly 130km/hr and this has sparked another round of “Should Canada follow suit” debates. The argument is that our vehicles and roads have evolved to the point where they are capable of safely driving at higher speeds. The safety features are getting to the point where they may soon be on par with those found in Formula One or Stock race cars.
The counter point is that we as drivers haven’t made that evolution yet as much as we think it has. This is a point I fully agree with. Yes speed doesn’t kill, bad driving does but if bad driving is done at lower speeds the fatalities lower, so by that logic, yes, speed kills. All it takes is one speed demon who feels entitled to the fast lane, meeting up with one driver who also feels entitled to the fast lane at 1/2 km/hr over the speed limit.
It’s that sense of “my car and I am more important than you and your lowly car, you should give way to me whether I’m right or wrong.” You doubt this? Next time you are on the highway, instead of rocketing to your next destination with only the speedometer and the asphalt filling your vision, slow down and watch. You’ll see several breeds of drivers out there.
There is the white knuckled, two footed driver (drives with one foot on the brake-pedal and one on the accelerator). They drive at roughly the speed limit or less in the wrong lane. These are especially dangerous as they do not know how to merge properly. They come to the absolute end of the merge lane and then brake. When they see an opening they pull in at considerably less speed than the flow of traffic.
There is the business man or woman, reclined in their large expensive vehicles hurtling along at roughly 30km/hr over the posted speed limit paying no attention to the road expecting everyone to pay attention to them.
Then there are the ones that are never wrong. Signs and stop lights are mere suggestions to them and how dare we call them on their left hand turn through a red-light. These same people buy cars that don’t come equipped with mirrors or turn signals.
The solution most spouted for the problem is “get out of the passing-lane.” Problem with this is that for a lot of people it is also called the fast lane. So, if one is going fast(er) than the speed limit, that is the lane they should be in.
Here’s my solution. Do as we were instructed in driving school. If the lane to the right of you is empty, then that is where you should be. Let the speed demon have the passing lane. If it is more open for them then they won’t be weaving in and out of traffic with no regard to anyone elses safety. Also, it will be easier for the police to catch them. They’ll know where to look. Another solution is to adjust speed fines to the driver’s wages. The more you make, the more you pay. I dunno about this one. The people with more money and the need to rocket their cars down the highway are also very fond of clogging up the legal system with their petty squabbles.
“I want to fight this ticket.”
“Were you speeding?”
“Yes, but so was everyone else.”
Don Cherry has often said that by increasing the amount of protective equipment for the players, it also increases their sense of indestructibility. I think the same can be said of driving. Also the declining lack of respect for ones fellow-man/woman plays a role in it as well.
My solution? Leave home earlier. Plan for the weather. After-all, what’s the rush? Like the movie Cars, enjoy the journey, the scenery is forever changing and if you fail to take note, you’ll never know what you missed. Rush and you may just be rushing towards your our funeral or worse yet, the funeral for a young mother, child, husband or father whom you carelessly plowed over with your self-righteous need for speed.
My mother always said, it wasn’t my driving she was worried about, it was the driving of all the other idiots on the road.
This rant has now concluded, thank-you and drive safe.