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A few of my Rants

Brain-dead motoring.

Our authorities have imposed arbitrary and usually illogical speed limits on all our roads, supposedly in the name of safety, though I suspect their primary purpose is to provide them with an easy source of revenue, and they try to enforce them rigidly. We are allowed to do 110K on our freeways, although they are designed for at least 160K, and 100K on most of our country roads, although the conditions on them vary wildly, so that while many of them are safe at 125K, quite a few of them would be dangerous at 60 K. The idiocy of this is typified by a road we saw recently which had a 100 K. speed sign, almost immediately followed by a corner with a 35 K. advisory speed sign.

If I am in the country, and forget about speed limits, I can enjoy driving. I drive at the safe speed, and adjust my speed for every curve and every change of road conditions. These constant changes keep me alert and ensure that I drive safely. But driving on our freeways or better country roads at the permitted speed is mind-numbingly boring, and the only way I can avoid being fined is to engage the cruise control, and let my brain wander. This means that I tend to drive at the speed limit, regardless of the road conditions, so I am less alert, and I drive less safely.

The authorities are forever trying to brainwash us into believing that speed, per se, is dangerous. But I have done quite a lot of driving in Britain, where the authorities used to take a more pragmatic approach, and although average motorway speeds were much higher than they are here, and the roads were far more crowded, the accident rate did not seem to be any worse.

I believe that if the authorities placed less emphasis on blind obedience to rules, and encouraged us to use our intelligence, our roads would be far safer. They should devote their energies to removing obvious dangers, such as badly designed intersections, lanes that appear and disappear without warning, and inconsistent, confusing and misleading road signs, and should ensure that learner drivers are encouraged to use their intelligence, show consideration for other drivers, and get experience in driving on all types of roads, so that they can anticipate potential dangers before they encounter them, and know how to assess the safe speed for the road they are on.

Roger Riordan.

 © Roger Riordan 2004-2017