"fast and safe" I agree with pretty much everything you've said. I just don't buy into the idea that driving faster is safer than driving slower.
I never said "faster is safer". I even gave an example of a situation where slower is safer. (slower than what many other drivers thought was safe in fog).
If wifey feels safe doing 65 on the freeway with an 85 speed limit, that's fine, as long as she stays in the appropriate (right) lane, and she doesn't tune out while driving like so many do.
Here is one of they key points in some studies:
People drive at a speed that they deem is appropriate, somewhat regardless of the posted speed limit. They balance risk of a crash from going too fast against extra time wasted by going slower.
I believe that consistently keeping the speed limits lower than the 85th percentile standard makes drivers tend to ignore posted speed limit more, and means they would tend to ignore a speed limit that is seemingly too low but is actually warrented due to circumstances that are not immediately apparent to the driver.
Like I suggested before, it makes drivers dumber, thinking that blindly following speed limits makes them safe, and (a) having poor situational awareness and anticipation skills and (b) NOT RECOGNIZING WHEN THE SAFE SPEED IS ACTUALLY BELOW THE POSTED LIMIT. The fog story I recounted was on a freeway that's notorious for multicar crashes.
I'd say it also promotes a distrust and distaste for Law Enforcement and "the system".
Some people who drive the speed limit do so only because they feel they don't want to break the law. Some people drive faster. You have a speed differential. If you raised the speed limit you'd have fewer of those drivers and speed differentials would be reduced.
Also, notice how people drive in "clumps" late at night, following each other closely. I hate being in those because it doesn't feel safe being surrounded by other cars when there are vast open spaces between those clumps. I believe those people clump because they don't want to risk a ticket by going slightly faster. If the speed limits were appropriate, the people who want to go slightly faster would do so and those clumps would dissipate.
John J wrote:
Many rural highways have speed limits of 55 and have residential (and subdivision) driveways.
A driver with good situational awareness would realize that there are driveways that cars could suddenly come out of, and would slow down appropriately when approaching them. If said driveways are not easily visible, in a perfect world there would be signs that say "55 speed limit, driveways ahead" when approaching them, and the limit would also be 85 or whatever, where appropriate in long stretches with no driveways.
Must admit that i haven't read the links yet,.. If you raise the speed limit to be the 85th percentile based on current driving speed distribution, once most people begin driving at that new higher speed, won't you have to raise the speed limit yet again for it to be the 85th percentile?
I saw a UK study that showed that this is true but only to a very small extent, where doing a survey a 2nd time raised the 85th percentile speed by ~ 5 mph, then a 3rd time showed a change of 1-2 mph, at which point it was stopped. The reason for this is the measurements are skewed by "speed limit sticklers".
So it's not "once MOST people drive at the new higher speed", it's a statistical thing where a small part of the population skew the results slightly. Pls. do read the links.
PEOPLE THERE IS SCIENCE BEHIND CORRECT SPEED LIMITS. Do not be swayed by emotion. Pls. read what the professionals say, the traffic engineers.
Here's another tidbit. The "design speeds" of our freeways is 90 mph - and this was with 1960s cars. Even a 1990 econobox civic in good shape with decent tires is a lot more stable and safer and controllable at 90 mph than the average semi-luxury 1960s car. Note that the design speed is different from safe speed based on sight lines around crests and curves, so I'm not saying the speed limit should be 90 on all parts of a freeway. There are freeway crests and curves where I live where 90 mph feels unsafe because you can't STOP IN THE DISTANCE YOU CAN SEE AND KNOW TO BE CLEAR.