We have all thought it was weird how the “speed limit” actually isn’t the top speed you can drive safely for the road or even without getting a ticket.
In America, we have a major problem with distracted driving, and lawmakers are searching for answers through forcing people to put down their phones. The problem with that is it’s way too easy to hide it or find a workaround. Even though it goes against what is typically considered common sense, increasing speed limits could be the answer. When I drive the max speed I’m comfortable with, I don’t care about my buzzing phone, or the radio, or the landscape; all I care about is what is going on around me on the road. The best way to prevent people from doing something is if they don’t want to do it in the first place.
Based on people’s beliefs on speeding the autobahn shouldn’t work, but instead, the automotive death rate in Germany is half of what it is in America. This is a perfect case study to prove that paying attention and following strict driving laws is what saves lives. I’m not saying America needs a road with no speed limit, but adjusting speed limits to the current road conditions, and having engineers decide what is a safe speed for modern cars will save lives.
Setting Speed Limits
Many speed limits were set when the 55 mph nationwide speed limit was lifted and were based on cars that aren’t on the road anymore. Today’s cars are much safer and far more capable than those being produced even 10 years ago. Today’s minivans can beat Ferraris from 30 years ago. There’s almost nothing we are doing the same as we were 30 years ago, so why are we still using the same speed limits? These should be updated at a minimum of every ten years or anytime there is a major change to the road environment (i.e. construction). It should also be set by the engineers who design and build roads and cars, independent of politicians because the engineers will know what the cars can handle in given situations.
In America, we give driver’s licenses out like candy on Halloween, any somewhat competent person can get one. In other countries like Sweden getting a license is a process that takes years of practice and training before you can be fully licensed. We need to make it a requirement that new drivers take a class that teaches how to handle a car in non-ideal conditions, like in a skid or other emergency conditions, as well as performance driving. Knowing what your car is capable of and what to do should you lose control can save your life. I know it saved me when I hit a patch of black ice on an entrance ramp and merged onto the highway sideways.
“Speed limits should be set by the engineers… independent of politicians