Speed is an interesting topic amongst learner drivers, but lately, I have been chatting with some very experienced, fully licenced drivers about what speed habits they have when they drive. Some of the comments really have made me shake my head!
When I first learnt to drive, I was told, the only excuse for speeding, was if you had a pregnant woman who was about to give birth and you were driving her to the hospital! Truth be told, I was always on the lookout for a mother-to-be in distress, but that excuse for speeding was just not meant to be for me. So I drove on, sometimes feeling so confident in my driving skills, I boldly went 5kph over the speed limit! I felt a little bit naughty doing that, as I knew it was wrong, and I may get caught!
Back then, most police officers would never have had the technology to assess such a small discrepancy over the limit. These days, with the digital age, even 1 or 2 kph over the limit can be detected.
I have heard so many excuses for speeding;
“I was overtaking”
“I was speeding up so the guy behind wouldn’t run into me when I drove in my driveway”
“I was late for work”
“I had to pick the kids up from school”
“It was on a downhill”
“It was only a bit over the limit”
“My Dad told me the Speedometer is always set 5kph lower”
There are at least 1000 other reasons I haven’t listed, all of which will not hold up, either with a police officer or a test examiner!
When did it become OK to go over the speed limit? Why is it most fully licenced drivers I speak to say it’s “normal” to speed? When did all the speeding drivers out there suddenly gain extra skills to be able to deal with the extra risk of exceeding the speed limit?
The speed limit is set for a reason – it is matched to the road conditions, potential hazards, and pedestrian volume – you need enough breaking time to deal with all possible dangers. And as most of us know, stopping distances change dramatically the higher the speed.
We might get annoyed when we see a 50kph sign in a light traffic road, but it is set at that speed for a reason – if you were to do 60kph on that road, and a child darts out from between parked cars to chase their ball, would you be able to avoid hitting them? At 50kph, you have a much better chance of stopping, at 60kph, the result would be so much worse! That is the mentality you must have when driving – expect the worst, that way you are prepared for it.
So, let’s clear this up now;
If you exceed the speed limit, you are BREAKING THE LAW!
Speedometers may have been dodgy 30 years ago, however nowadays, they must be accurate (imagine the litigation to the car companies if it wasn’t!).
If you are on a downhill, it is up to you as the driver to control your car – use your brake!
If you are running late for work – that’s your problem – organize your time better – we all run late on occasion, it’s no excuse for putting others lives in danger!.
If you are picking kids up from school, wouldn’t it be better if you arrived a few minutes late, rather than hours late due to an accident caused by your speeding?
If you are unhappy with the speed limit, lobby your local Councillor/ state representative/federal roads minister. (Perhaps if we all DID stay at the speed limit, they might think about putting the limit up for us on some roads!).
Speeding is not negotiable, you are taking risks that your driving skills may not be able to keep up with. We all think we are better drivers that what we actually are, but where do you think we get averages from? Most of us ARE average drivers, all the more reason to believe the experts when they tell us to travel at the listed speed limit.
And one last reason to stick to the speed limit; If I have to, then you do too! I would like to think I’m in the top 5% of drivers in Australia – I would be lucky to make the top 15%, so if even with my added skills I don’t speed, then, nor should you.
Please, let’s make the roads a nice place to be. Be courteous, be kind, be forgiving, and most of all, pay attention to the job of driving!
Happy and safe driving,