S is for Speed, it get’s you there quicker, doesn’t it?Everybody speeds! Don’t they? Well, if I was honest, I would have to say yes, even if you make full use of the car technology such as cruise control and speed meters, but and this is a big but, there is a massive difference between a driver who intends to drive well and drive within the speed limits but sometimes drifts over the limit by a few miles an hour and as soon as they notice bringing the speed back down again and the driver who habitually goes 10% + because they think they are “allowed” to do this or feel it is socially acceptable to do this.
How much we are allowed to break the law? This has to be dependent on the police force in the area. There is apparently an old guideline that mentions something about 10%; but, this was probably put in place when our speed ohmmeters were not as accurate as they are today. Any Police Force, and there are 45 in Great Britain, can set, at any time, a zero tolerance on speed limits.
So why do people break the speed limit, the bog standard answer to this question is to get there faster. Even if you don’t know the math, you will know it does not really get you there much quicker. In fact the difference between 30 and 35 is mathematically only 17 seconds a mile quicker, so over a 10 mile journey it is only 170 seconds which in my reckoning is nearly 3 full minutes, but that is a journey using a driving style of ‘hurry up and wait’.
However, you actually lose the 17 seconds advantage at the first set of traffic lights you have to stop at, and we all know what happens to the traffic lights when we are trying to get somewhere quicker, yes you got it, they all turn to red and they seem to stay on red for just a little bit longer on these days, which just to wind us up even more.
Perhaps we do it because we feel we are doing our best by trying to get there quicker or get there on time.
But look what happens on a long motorway journey can you save loads of time doing 80 instead of 70? Some people will say yes of course, “I do all the time” but I am not sure how they know this, because when questioned they never actually timed the same journey at 70 as they have always done 80.
Some people even play the Sat Nav game, you know the one, your Sat Nav says ETA 13:07 and you look at the time and think “I will make it for 1” So let’s look at the math again.
Two cars are both going to leave at the same time, Car A is going to do a constant 70mph and Car B is going to do a constant 80mph, so how long will it take for car B to get one hour ahead of car A?
It will take 7 hours and they will cover 560 miles before Car B (80mph) has gained that hour. (70mph) that is roughly from Aberdeen to Maidstone!
Finally let’s look it at another way. You are going to travel 2 miles on a regular journey, the road you go on is a 60mph road which is safe to do 60mph on, so it will take you 2 minutes to cover the 2miles, however, one day you only manage to do the first mile at 60, and then you are held up for 2 minutes at the half way point, by road works.
How fast will you have to go to make up the time you have just lost?
Well, I will let you onto a secret, I got the wrong answer too when I was asked this question for the first time, and in my defense, many other people say this too, I said 180mph. When the fact of the matter is you cannot make up the lost time, it’s gone and get this, it’s gone forever.
This is the issue with time, you cannot ‘bank’ it, you cannot work thought your lunch hour and then put that hour toward your retirement, if only! It continues to disappear, one second at a time every time. . So why do we really speed? Maybe it is just for fun?
Well, I hope not, you must really take a rain check if doing slightly over the speed limit for fun!
Looking into this a bit more, it is not the raw speed that is fun, it is mostly the acceleration, deceleration forces and cornering forces. Driving 100mph in a straight line is not fun, but getting up to the 100 could be, but if this is your bag, then please do it on a track in a controlled environment.
Another reason why people end up going over the speed limit is because we are really not that good at speed perception. The wider the road the slower you ‘feel’ you are going and if your speed is constant, for example, if you have the cruise control on it can feels slower because your body has become accustomed to the speed and is travelling at the same speed as the car. So you simply don’t feel it, even travelling by plane or train once it is up to full speed it does not ‘feel’ fast.
On the main people speed because they appear to get away with it, and mostly suffer no negative consequences. People get into the habit of speeding, they simply get into a particular way of thinking, they don’t even question until they do face a consequence, which by this time, can make them angry, especially if they get points or even end up on a speed awareness course. I am sure if they end up with some more a serious consequence they would be feeling something worse than anger.
The real reasons I feel, are two-fold, firstly it is in fact easy to drive at any speed you like on any road, so long as you feel comfortable with it, it takes a lot more skill and ability to drive within the limits. It can also be due to our fear of criticism, we are more inclined to fit in with what we feel is the social norms rather that suffer the apparent criticism of our peers on the road.