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Just returned from a 600 mile road trip in getting Nick's stuff up to his new place in River Falls. It wasn't easy keeping up to him. Getting there in 4-1/2 hours is an average of a little over 64 mph, and that even includes time for one rest stop and me getting pulled over by a trooper just half an hour into the trip.
I wondered why he parked himself in the left lane nearly the entire trip. Wondered why he didn't seem to notice when I fell behind or move to the right to let faster traffic pass. There were times I was doing 75 just to keep up. He later said he had "cruise" set at 70 so my speedometer must be off. Whatever, he was driving the Toyota and I was trying to keep up in a broken down rust-bucket Sonoma pickup.
I even asked him to try harder to watch his mirrors for me and traffic behind him. Maybe even use the right lane now and then. Turns out that the car was so packed with his stuff that even though he said that he could still see the side view mirror I had my doubts. He parked in the left lane because he had a hard time seeing the traffic around him.
How many other students in the coming weeks will be heading to school like that? I didn't feel the trip up was a safe situation, but still thought it best we travel together. Nick's not a bad driver. I'm the one who got pulled over. . . but not for speeding. The funny thing is, we were doing between 70 and 75 and were often passed. I'm not sure at what speed you'd have to travel to not be passed at all, but I know for certain it's over 80.
And it's not like everyone else in the left lane or going 5 or 10 over the limit is doing it safely. Take a look at the spacing between vehicles once. It looks like you're stuck in a traffic jam with bumper to bumper traffic, but in reality you're doing 70 mph with only one car length separating you from disaster. Maybe you won't be distracted by an incoming call during the instant needed to react should someone tap their brakes or, if like my vehicle, maybe getting up to 70 is somewhat safer than quickly coming down from 70.
I could go on. Many vehicles on the road today can take higher speeds and make emergency stops safely, and I'm sure many drivers aren't surrounded by distractions and are alert the entire trip, but this is something I learned in my 600 Wisconsin road miles yesterday: drivers will exceed the limit no matter how high you set it, not all vehicles are safe at higher speeds, and normally safe drivers aren't always.
So it's funny that I should read in today's paper about Rep. Paul Tittl's bill proposal to raise the state speed limit to 70 for little other reason than because MN, IA and MI have done it.
And back to the reasoning that if you raise it to 70 there will be those who push the limit. How fast can today's new cars travel I wonder? I'm sure we'll soon find out.