What Speed Limits Aren’t . . . But Should Be

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The main problem with speed limits is they’re not.

In a legal sense – yes. You are not legally allowed to drive faster than whatever the number on the sign is. But as a speed limit, the concept is idiotic.

Airplanes have speed limits. If you operate beyond the limits of the airframe, the plane will begin to physically disintegrate, stall or some other catastrophic thing.

These are speed limits which must be obeyed for actual safety – as opposed to keeping oneself safe from the predations of armed government workers (who will themselves “speed” in order to catch you in order to ticket you – proving that “speeding” isn’t unsafe, merely illegal… well, for us).

Because speed limits are mere legalisms, understood by all to be such – almost everyone drives at least as fast as the speed limit – luminous evidence that it is not a limit in the physical/mechanical or “safety” sense.

They are merely rules – which almost everyone ignores.

People get angry when they fall in behind a driver who is only going the speed limit. Almost everyone drives a little bit faster than whatever the posted limit is – as much as they think they can “get away” with.

As a practical matter, speed limits are the minimum speeds of travel on most roads.

This of course renders the term a species of illiteracy – unsurprising given the source. The same source that characterizes as “customers” people who are forced to hand over money for services they neither asked for nor use.

It is also – ironically – unsafe. As in actually dangerous. Because a “speed limit” which conveys no information to the driver about speeds beyond which it is probably not safe to drive leaves him with no way to gauge the speed beyond which it is probably not safe to drive – or which at least gives him some frame of reference.

This is easily demonstrated.

Most highways on the East Coast of the U.S. have posted speed limits of 65-70 MPH. If you drive that slowly, you risk being run over by a tractor trailer and will have other cars running up your tailpipe. So you kick it up to 75 or so – which is illegal “speeding” but is actually the safe speed you need to drive to avoid being run over by traffic.

But how much faster than 75 or so is the safe limit? How would you know?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer, of course. Variables include the skill of the driver as well as the capabilities of the car. But paying attention to whatever the sign says is as value-less as heeding the warning label on mattresses about it being a high crime to tear it off.

The sleepworthiness of the mattress is not affected by the presence – or absence – of that label.

Just as the “safety” of your driving bears almost no relationship to your obedience to speed limits and actually becomes dangerous when you do obey them (as on the highway but not just there).

Speed limits would be useful as information – as opposed to pretexts for mulcting – if they served some genuine advisory purpose such that ignoring them actually did risk real danger and not just the kind that is visited upon us by armed government workers. They could and should work like signs warning drivers about deer crossing the road, to be on the lookout for fallings rocks, that the surface of a bridge tends to ice up before the rest of the road does.

Like stop signs.

Only a fool – or someone actually reckless – doesn’t at least almost stop at a stop sign. And irrespective of the fear of being mulcted by an armed government worker. Because to ignore that sign is to risk something much worse than extortion. It is dangerous to ignore a stop sign – which is why most people do not ignore them.

Speed limits could and should work that way, if people knew that ignoring them entailed a real chance of similar consequences. But speed limits are universally ignored precisely because the only real consequence of ignoring them is a roadside mulcting by an armed government worker.

The government would, of course, not reap as much revenue if speed limits actually were something other than legalisms, pretexts for separating safe drivers from their hard-earned money.

But  the roads would be a lot safer if drivers respected speed limits because those limits actually meant something other than being a pretext for separating them from their hard-earned money.

. . .

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143 COMMENTS

  1. One December in the early 2000’s (before 2005), I went to Tempe, AZ, from Tucson to shop for Christmas presents for my wife. My kids were all grown and out of the house with their own families.
    BUT, before I “went shopping”, I went to a restaurant in Scottsdale (north of Tempe). This restaurant has the longest list of margaritas I’ve even been to. Needless to say, I drank three of the biggest margaritas (each had 30 oz or more). I also had a very large lunch/dinner along with all the booze.
    After eating, I drove south to a mall in Tempe that’s NE of I-10 and Baseline Rd. I looked all over the place, but could not find what my wife said was sold there. After several hours of walking around, I found a Burger King & had a Whopper, fries & a Coke.
    Now, from that mall, getting onto I-10 to go south is a piece of cake. Driving to Tucson was like driving the Indy 500, I don’t think I was going slower than 80-90 mph. The limit is 75. I swear there was a stretch when I drove 90 or more for five miles. Mind you I’m driving a 1997 Toyota Tacoma (4cylinder, 4 speed). The best part about driving home was that I did NOT see one DPS trooper at all all the way to Tucson. Since I had retired a year or three earlier, I didn’t need to go to work the next day, so I could stay up to sober up before sleeping. I can’t sleep after getting drunk anyway. I was 54 in 2000.

    • Hi Marinesebee!

      I enjoy driving out West for exactly the reasons you’ve laid out. The driving on this side of the continental divide, on the other hand, is a teeth-aching ordeal….

  2. For all of those who wish they could get out and really open up their hot rods and let them breathe a little without fear of getting one of those annoying tickets that bruise them so harshly, try this sometime…

    Once you’re able to get it all out of your system, you’ll find that driving the speed limit on roads that were never intended for racing in the first place will never bother you as much as it bothers you now. Think of it as a brothel for your car.

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  3. This is an issue that always awakens my fantasy (well, one of them) of being a judge in traffic court.

    Scenario #1 would be the LEO that wrote the payin’ paper for someone that he stopped. Question #1 would be, “How fast were you (the LEO) driving when you caught up to the other driver?” If the number exceeds the speed limit, then the case must be dismissed in favor of the defendant.

    If the LEO was able to provide an answer that was lower than the posted speed limit, then Question #2 is, “Who was the party injured by the defendant?” followed by, “Why isn’t the inured party (who doesn’t exist) in the courtroom?” Once again, judgement for the defendant.

    If there was still a case left, the next issue would solve everything. “Those speed limits that are posted were approved by this jurisdiction. But since there was no consent of the governed, they can only be applied to operators of vehicles owned by the jurisdiction, not to privately-owned vehicles. Therefore, judgement for the defendant.”

    The good news about this is there would be a lot less hostile interactions between the people and the oppressors. Then the police can get to solving legitimate crimes, instead of harassing motorists. And if there is a reduction in the city payrolls due to less money being stolen from the citizens? Well, government deserves to do with less. If it results in a 12’X12′ plywood shanty being turned into the mayor’s office, then they are showing that they are efficient enough to make do with less.

    NOTE: If you read this far, you will recognize that this is a work of fiction. But wouldn’t this town be a whole lot nicer?

    • Actually, you should ask the cop who he works for. Then ask the judge who he works for. If both say the same city (or county) then move to dismiss based on conflict of interest as both parties work for the same corporation.

  4. I have a different view because I’ve worked with traffic engineers. When Carter set the speed limit at 55, that was a political move not backed up by science, but that isn’t the case in many states today. Increasingly, traffic engineers take driver behavior into account. I live in Alaska, where even our paved roads are rough. Hit a frost heave going 30 and you’ll feel it, but that’s it. Hit it going 80 and your car may not survive the encounter and you may end up flung down a mountain by the forces of speed and momentum. Ditto if you see a moose step out in front of you — at the lower speed, you’ll stop before you hit it. At the higher speed … we’ll be squeegying you up off the pavement. And then there’s the issue of winter — which we have nearly six months out of the year. A road that could be driven at 80 in the summer is often not safe to drive at 40 in the winter, but people still try to drive it at 80 and end up causing accidents.

    The traffic engineers I’ve worked with say they set a speed limit based on the geometry of a particular road, the risk factors associated with a particular section of road and the driving behavior of 90% of the drivers observed on the road. They argue with the Troopers all the time about whether the speed limit is too high. Troopers always want it lower, but the state DOT ignores them and it is the DOT that sets the speed limits in most states.

    That doesn’t mean that every speed limit sign in America is correct, but that they are increasingly based on science. Just because you believe you can drive a road going 80/100/120 doesn’t mean everyone can or should. You’re rarely on the road all by yourself and, just my take on this, if there’s an accident involving more than one car, it almost always is caused by the person driving like a bat out of hell and making aggressive moves around the drivers who are going slower and cooperating with one another.

    I personally favor an advisory speed “zone” where there are additional penalties for going too fast if there’s an accident. For instance, if you’re part of a multi-car pileup and it’s found you were in excess of the advisory speed, you’re the one facing the negligent homicide charge, not the person who was driving for the conditions.

    • “I personally favor an advisory speed “zone” where there are additional penalties for going too fast if there’s an accident.”

      Yes, ma’am, I agree. Allowing legislators to levy fines against “speeders” is wrong. In the absence of an injured party, there is no crime (or tort) so the law that levies fines is simply a money trap. Speed limits set by traffic engineers could set a standard to be used in levying charges against those at fault only in the event of an accident with injuries or property damage.

      I don’t agree that speed limits are set by science. County, state, and city agencies set speed limits with an eye to collecting revenue. You’ve probably seen it yourself, where a stretch of road which has a 55 mph speed limit is suddenly changed to 35. Passing zones are eliminated for no safety reason, but only to allow police to issue tickets. It’s all about revenue.

      Counties and cities are bankrupt because their governments have hired huge numbers of do-nothing employees for political reasons. Payroll and pensions, benefits and administration costs have broken budgets everywhere, so traffic fines have been increasingly used to raise revenues where taxes are already too high and would cause resistance.

      • Ed, it’s easy to see why speed limits are what they are. There are plenty towns with plenty cops and radar where the speed limit suddenly changes from 75 to 55. This is called “how you fuck out of towners”. It has everything to do with revenue and nothing to do with safety or any science except the science of stealing.

        My neighbor who’s 33 years old got a ticket last year for doing 75 in a 65. His car and the cops car are right beside the 75mph sign. He pointed it out. The cop, being the amoral ahole he is/was, told him that he hadn’t reached that sign yet. I’ve had other people tell me the same thing.

        And they make up bullshit laws they pull from their buttholes, once again. I got stopped as a young man for “loud exhaust”. The trooper and I had to quit trying to speak to each other while a couple Harley’s passed by.

        I asked him how my car was too loud when it wasn’t nearly as loud as the truck I normally drove right along that same road. He said “trucks just make more noise”. Well, fuck me, trucks make more noise but he’s stopping me in my car and we’re waiting for a couple goddamn Harley’s to get by so we can continue our “conversation”. He knew it was bullshit and knew I knew he knew it was bullshit and I knew he knew I knew he knew it was bullshit and so on and so forth……bullshit.

        • 8, in a nutshell, they’re shooting fish in a barrel. Does it make you feel any better when they pull over a dozen or more at a time? You do understand that when you ask them why they don’t pull over trucks or Harleys, you’re effectively admitting guilt, right?

          • I didn’t effectively admit to shit, just pointed out the flaw in his reasoning….and I got off with a verbal warning. Of course it was all bullshit to begin with and had nothing to do with my car.

            What it had to do with was a long-haired cowboy in a hotrod in 1971. Once I said I drove a truck through there all the time he didn’t seem as eager to do a search, something I’m sure was in his mind when he stopped me.

            Probably curiosity had something to do with it. And probably a shit-kicking hippie looking truck driver confused him a bit. Back then when you had long hair and still wore your cowboy hat and boots it confused the badged crowd. Add in a commercial license and you saying you drove a truck through there all the time it was more than he could process. No doubt he had some conversations with other piggos and probably even told his wife about the cowboy/hippie/trucker he stopped with the good looking gal from Waco.

            Nothing about a cop of any sort makes me feel better about anything. I hate cops, despise them along with DOT and all the rest. They stand and take an oath to the Constitution and then enforce a vast array of un-Constitutional “laws”. They’re simply highwaymen, out for the biggest payoff they can find. Fishheads to them all.

  5. In Montana where I was raised the speed “limit” used to be “safe and reasonable.” Made sense. Also, huge state w/o many people. Even fewer Highway Patrol. That worked pretty well. Though a few years back the feds made them adopt an actual “limit” speed. I think it is widely ignored and probably not enforced unless you are really zooming over it. And unlucky enough to encounter a trooper.

    In much of Texas (west of Kerrville on I-10 for instance) the limit is now 80 or even 85. Fair enough. I recall when Carter tried to have that 55 limit. Yes, there were signs out in the middle of Texas, but I never encountered any 55 MPH drivers unless they were exiting or had car problems. Bad old days on that.

    • It wasn’t the feds that mucked it up. It was some supposed race car driver who thought it was reasonable and prudent to drive 120mph on a narrow two lane with slow farm equipment and sometimes loose livestock. Took it all the way to the MT supreme court and THEY threw out the “reasonable and prudent” rule as too vague to be enforced. So we got numerical limits. Damn shame, too – because back then it was actually easier to drive slower if you wanted knowing the other guy could easily pass and make up the time.

      I wouldn’t count on not getting a speeding ticket in MT, at least on certain highways. The county mounties spend all their time either at the high school or on the main north/south highway collecting revenue.

      • I think it was greed to wit: a friend was running through MT with his custom built moving van. It had a BIG motor and lots of gears and he was running about 90 when a red Chevy pickup got too close to him(I’ve seen this bs before) and hung right on his ass. Pickup wouldn’t go around and everyone “should” know a trucker doesn’t want anything right on his ass or beside him or in front for any length of time.

        So the Colonel(ex-Air Farce and CIA)kicked it up a bit with the pickup glued to him. He shoulda smelled a rat but this was a bright red 90 model Chevy pickup. He keeps trying to shake this damned pickup but they’re glued to him.

        So after swiping him off using another truck he cut back in front of just a few feet away(they were talking on the radio working this move out), the pickup then turns on red and blues when he’s doing triple digits just trying to be safe. He had already tried the slo-mo thing to no avail and this was his last option.

        He was livid when they pulled up and pointed to the patch on the troopers shoulder. He got a ticket but they got to hear a lot of smack from a full Colonel who’d flown countless combat sorties over Vietnam and Cambodia and had been recruited by the Christians In Action, a group he tried to retire from in the 90’s and they nearly killed him anyway but that’s another story. I tell you right now, I wouldn’t fuck with that guy. He was about as tough as they come but a state trooper looks at everyone like they’re chum in a bucket.

        He got mad all over again telling me about it and then I got mad. Not sure he was any madder than my dad was the night one got on his ass and rode it tight with bright lights. My dad did everything but stop and finally kicked it in the ass to get away from the brights. Then the red and blues came on. My mother was telling me about it saying “I thought your daddy was going to jail, He was so mad he cussed hell out of that DPS”. I’m sure he did. He could tolerate fools and did every day but there was something about having a badge and getting bullied he couldn’t come to terms with.

        When I was a kid I recall a city cop pulling him over for speeding. Hell, everyone in the car saw this cop a mile away or more. We came down off a high hill and he was at the bottom. This was the 50’s when radar was a joke and you had to break the beam passing through it to get a reading. My dad wasn’t speeding to begin with so he was HOT when that idiot pulled him over and said he was speeding. It was the first time I’d ever heard words of anger from him. Everybody was intimidated with his tongue-lashing including the occifer. Hell, my dad was promising him a new job, if he could find one, after my dad got through with the mayor and city council. The guy walked away tail tucked. My daddy was so mad he immediately stopped and bought some cold Lone Star and I helped him sip it or thought I did. He wasn’t even a drinker. For once my mama had nothing to say. It was gloriously quiet.

  6. Speed Limits are about tickets and revenue, NOT S-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-f-t-e-e-e-e….

    In any state there’s what’s known as a ‘basic speed law’, which means you can be cited, regardless of the posted limit, for travelling much slower than the POSTED limit, IF the “conditions” demand it. Of course, whether or not these “conditions” exists, and for your vehicle, especially with whatever tires you have, is subjective. Naturally, this can be yet another excuse for a ‘porker’ to write a dubious citation.

    • Hi Doug!

      I “speed” habitually. Every day. Often, “recklessly” – as defined by the idiotic statute in VA, which decrees that to drive 20 MPH faster than any posted limit is, ipso facto, “reckless.” This includes the Interstate spur near me (I-581) that is still posted 55 (the adjacent highway is posted 70) despite it being a four-lane/limited-access highway. Almost everyone is doing 65-70.

      And 76 is “reckless.” That is 6 MPH faster than the legal speed limit on the highway 581 connects with. And anything over 80 is “reckless” anywhere – even on I-81, where the PSL is 70.

      Yes, really.

      Well, I’ve been driving “recklessly” all these many decades and have yet to so much as scuff a fender, my own or anyone else’s.

      Why is it that I can’t point to a 30-year record of no “accidents” as objective proof that I am a “safe” driver and ought to be left the hell in peace by armed government workers?

      • Eric, re: “limited access”? What does that mean eric? Is it one of those toll lanes? Those lanes that are for those who are willing to pay for the privilege of driving faster? I see them that a lot of places are combining the toll roads with those who are carpooling. So if you aren’t wiling to carpool for the sake of the environment then you have to pay; pay to play. Ain’t government run capitalism great? Tell me what effective difference is there between a private company opening up a toll road allowing people to drive faster than those who don’t pay to drive the government freeway, and the government opening up the same road? You pay the same, and you get to drive faster.

      • Leave you in “peace”? Now, Eric, why in the hell would any ‘self-respecting Gubmint’ do THAT, when the Federal and State income taxes, and sales taxes, and every other tax imaginable under the Sun, aren’t ‘enough’? No, they need every EXCUSE to “mulct”, as you put it, at every opportunity, and taking to the public roads and highways has worked out to be the perfect ‘scam’!

        Never mind the US DOT guidelines about how to set highway speeds, especially with the 85th percentile rule, which I’m sure you’re more than familiar with. Proficient drivers will figure out what speed they feel comfortable with, given their vehicles capabilities, condition, traffic density, weather, and time of day. Again, going back to the basic speed rule, when a driver is weaving in and out of traffic, slipping and sliding on the wet pavement, and failing to keep his car within the lines, we’d have actual evidence that he’s going too fast. Bombing down a fairly empty highway in the Nevada and Utah desert, doing the “Kowalski run” when I’m headed to visit my baby girl (those that remember “Vanishing Point” understand what “Kowalksi run” refers to) in Spanish Fork, UT, during the day on the ramrod-straight US 50 between Delta and Ely, the only limiting factor will be the speed rating of the tires on my vehicle! So what’s the point in setting a speed limit of only 65 over most of that stretch, with a few “liberated” points where one can legally do 70? We know the answer…either the legislatures of both states have arbitrarily set a limit for a two-lane highway in the rural stretches, actual conditions be damned, or, as seems more likely, they want to catch ‘dangerous speeders’, especially those sporting California plates! Kinda takes the “phun” out of the long, BORING desert drive! Fortunately, there are spots, even on BLM land, where, unlike “Cali(porn)ia”, one can actually EXERCISE Second Amendment rights, so when making that trip, I do my best to leave some “trigger time” and do in a few soda pop cans and/or (recently) emptied beer bottles.

        • This spring I took a long weekend and headed to Bryce Canyon park. There’s no easy way to get there from the north and so I ended up on some very back roads. The PSL varied between 25 and 45. Well, the only real straight part of the trip, several miles of nice straight but narrow (and empty) road was 45. I started to open up then there goes the radar. Here comes a Utah state patrol vehicle headed toward me. Then over the next little straight section there’s another one. Just me a few RVs and the cops. None to be found in the areas that would be dangerous because you’re just going to slow down there anyway.

          The thing I noticed though was that none of the cops had anyone pulled over. Out on I-70 the only time I see troopers they have someone pulled over.

    • Doug, revenue and safety aren’t mutually exclusive propositions. There are way too many people who simply have no business driving at all, much less driving over the speed limit. I don’t know how many hundreds of thousands of miles I’ve spent driving across the country, but when you spend that much time on the road, you can’t help seeing lot’s of accidents. One of the things you notice is that when there’s a fender bender in rush hour traffic, barring air bag deployment; no one gets hurt. At freeway speeds, cars start flipping, and bouncing off of other cars. It doesn’t matter how good a driver you are when a car comes out of nowhere and stops you cold going 55 mph. These accidents are horrifying, and when there’s a fireball there’s usually a nice big black stain to remind you of it every time you pass that spot.

      Big rigs are equipped with governors and company drivers get governed trucks because the company is paying for the fuel, and they also know that there’s less likelihood of an accident if their driver is going 55 down the freeway rather than 90. So, everyone else who is going 80 is the problem because they’re going to be the one’s who cause the accident, not the guy who can’t go any faster. Over and over I’ve seen people attempt to pass a big rig only to almost cause an accident because some dipshit going 90 didn’t think anyone else would be dumb enough to pull into the fast lane with them approaching like they were sitting still.

      I see something similar when driving on icy roads. I’m creeping along because my car has no traction whatsoever in the snow. I even pulled over one time on an offramp and the car started to slide sideways off the pavement. Everyone else is cruising along way too fast for the conditions and the next thing you know they’re all spinning in circles and disappearing into the brush.

      • It’s one thing to drive in excess of the current conditions, as you’ve described, and certainly FINES are an appropriate deterrent. The alternative is jail, and save for the most egregious of recklessness, even the worst pigs don’t really want their jails stuffed to the brim with speeding scofflaws; they just want the fines.

        My issue is, as Eric also points out, that speed limits are set way too low, in deliberate defiance of US DOT guidelines, with the obvious intention of frustrating seasoned drivers into exceeding the speed limit enough to garner in fines without it becoming a serious case of reckless driving.

        • Doug, you think the limits are too low, but trucking companies save money running their trucks at 55. They save in fuel, insurance, and repairs. They can charge less, and get more contracts, which means the consumer gets a better price on their goods as well. A win/win for those of us who like more affordable products. Do you really think the rest of the country gives two shits about your desire to drive 80 mph in your sports car? Look at how many of these old timers are still on the road now, and they certainly don’t like people zipping by them like they’re sitting still.

          If you want to drive fast there’s a great group you can join online that will send you notices of all the tracks and events in your area so you can zip around a track to your heart’s content.

          • Schnokle, I have to wonder what you’re doing here. You ain’t a car guy, you don’t like the idea of people being free to do as they like as long as they don’t hurt anyone and you make up bullshit like that claim that 55mph travel saves fuel for truckers. Ask some of the truckers here if that’s true, or if it’s just another one of your troll statements.

            I’m starting to suspect that you’re one’a them clovers.

            • Sounds like you’ve been triggered there 8. Sometimes I wonder why I’m here as well listening to you clowns whine and cry about how your pussy hurts because you might get caught speeding, or how the clovers are all making your lives so miserable.

              What you fail to comprehend is that I’ve lost count of how many hundreds of thousands of miles I’ve driven a truck for a few companies. I don’t have to ask anyone because I’ve driven for these trucking companies, and the reasons I’ve provided are their reasons. When you have a fleet of trucks doing 55 you save a ton of money on fuel over trucks that are going 70. I don’t have a problem with people driving as fast as they want to, just pussies complaining about how unfair the world is around them, and their feeble attempts to troll. Well at least you have a goal in life now. Good luck with that 8

              If you want to debate the issue, be my guest, calling me a clover isn’t much of an argument.

              • well, you go for the Big Lie anyway, that slower speeds save money on fuel. They would if you had a highwall around a level track but that’s not real life and I count my truck driving in millions of miles.

                The goddam 55 mph ate up fuel like a bygod not being able to run hard downhill using little fuel and be able to top the next hill much faster.

                I know this cause I paid the fuel bills. Big companies do this shit because of insurance and they don’t care how much a driver makes.

                Recently I’ve been getting calls from all the big companies telling me they’ve upped their speed to 68 on their guvnahs. Well, they can kiss my ass. 62 is a killer and cost me nearly a $100/day cause they want to fuck you and pay you some ridiculous per mile bs like $.45. I got a call Tuesday from a guy who had an oilfield service trucking company and he needed a driver for a big, powerful flat top Pete and even sent me a pic of the black and green 389 with 300″ wheelbase. He pays 25% of the load, the way it used to be. If my wife would quit having stroke I’d be there in a heartbeat.

                Pore ol wore out thing had chrome aluminum Bud’s, polished fuel tanks and chrome everything else with 600 HP and 18 speeds. Nothing like having power to spare and not having to suck somebody’s exhaust cause you can’t pass.

                25%, now we’re talking real truck drivers, not somebody out of driving school who doesn’t know how to adjust brakes or much of anything else you give a truck you hope they don’t kill themselves and somebody else in. I like triple digit trucks…..but wouldn’t run triple digits.

                A couple years ago I was running a 450 60 Series Detroit with a 10 speed and a friend had a similar Pete although not a daycab. He had a 3406 B Cat with a 13 speed and we ran about 600 miles every day hauling rock. Every day it was the same thing, he got there faster and was nearly a round ahead of me at the end of the day. That slow truck got 5mpg and his got 6mpg, one hell of a difference. He could sickle over those hills I had it nailed on, shift into OD when pulling wasn’t hard and save hell out of everything. I played catch-up to him for 2 years and he used 20% less fuel.

                If you’re running the Tx. Panhandle where it’s flat you will get more mpg at 55…but can the driver make a living? Can the owner really have an advantage when every day the truck produces less? Company trucks, by and large the big fleet trucks, are a way to take advantage of the driver’s low pay and low insurance rates.

                But if it is so good, how come those companies have raised their speed limited trucks twice in less than a year?

                I could write books about this, and have been tempted. I’m not the only one who knows the big lie is a big lie. You won’t find an owner/operator doing 55 cause he needs to haul some freight and make some money.

                Another thing about being able to run 75 or 80 is keeping up with traffic. On Fridays and often Thursdays too, traffic is bumper to bumper 80 mph on I 20…..and faster. A big rig that can run along with traffic doesn’t slow down somebody running 90 or 95 very much, hence safety is more about everyone running the same speed. It always has been and will continue to be. When I was running trucks with a 79 mph limited speed I’d be happy enough since I’m not going to run much more than that even if traffic is light. Coming up on those slow trucks causes all sort of havoc and sometimes wrecks. You get to know those slow Mofo’s from behind. One of the worst companies for safety had some of the slowest rigs on the road…..Swift. Every time I’d come barreling up on one I’d see the “Swift” and say “not so much” since they were governed at 62. On 2 lanes everybody’s cussing “Swift”, SAIA, etc. etc. for holding everybody up and creating traffic jams. When you finally get around old Swift, you find yourself coming up on Old Dominion or C.R. England and its traffic jam time again.

                It’s getting to be rare to see a slow truck in Tx. other than the usual suspects. Everybody has to make a decent wage and freight needs to be delivered. I doubt the fast fuel trucks you now see almost exclusively are causing wrecks. I haven’t seen it. But they need to get to places that need fuel and not when the mood strikes but ASAP.

                This last offer running oilfield equipment, the truck has no limiter. I’ve been on locations with 50 other trucks while everyone is waiting for some piece of equipment to be delivered since that stuff does break down from time to time. Hurry up…..and wait.

          • I certainly feel that driving 80 mph, or even 85 to 90 mph, in a ordinary 2014 Ford Focus that can sustain a road speed of 110 mph on tires rated at 132 mph is quite SAFE, especially in the Nevada or Utah desert, or even Texas on I-10 between ” S’An-Tone” and El Paso, which I’ve driven numerous times. Why in the hell I’d poke along at “double-nickels” just to consume a few less miserable gallons of gasoline over a 1000 mile trip, just to satisfy your pathetic self-righteous notions of “fuel efficiency” escapes me, and I certainly am glad that these idiotic “Fatwas”, first passed during the miserable reign of one Richard Milhous Nixon, are a historical footnote. If you want to poke along at 55 mph in your smug sense of self-righteousness, please go right ahead, but at least stay the hell on the rightmost lane, and please ignore all the old grannies whom will be furiously honking their horns, motioning you to get the hell out of their way.

            • Poor doug is still whining about how he can’t pass gradma in the fast lane? The only thing worse than clovers are those who whine just like clovers. Supposedly we’re living in a free country, yet you wussies cry because someone else wants to drive 55. A trucking company wants to save money on gas, insurance, maintenance, and repairs, but the so-called experts here think that’s just the talk of some “smug sense of self righteousness”. Perhaps if you could stop projecting this nonsense onto others, you might be able to see that you’re the one with the smug sense of self righteousness. The irony here is that the only ones who give a shit are the clovers. Given that you fit that description to a T, it’s no wonder you’re so triggered.

              • I have had a few long periods of time where I obeyed the 55mph speed limit on local interstates. Here’s what I did: I STAYED IN THE RIGHT HAND LANE. That’s all. Basic courtesy. Yes it still pissed off some people, but too bad for them. People who can’t practice basic lane discipline are simply selfish and rude.

              • I don’t have an issue if YOU want to poke along at 55. I have an issue with Clovers that deliberately obstruct others with their passive-aggressive BS. Likewise, mandating speed limits far lower than what the road is engineered for, for social engineering purposes, is definitely NOT what America is about.

      • In-between Eagle and Avon Colorado there’s a pretty clear rain/snow line. Eagle is basically the edge of a mountain desert area because of the topography and prevailing wind. But just east of there it gets much colder and there’s much more precipitation, again because of the topology and Eagle river acting as a heatsink. Despite warning signs about ice and snow, people just fly through this section of highway. All winter long there are vehicles all over the place because drivers ignore the weather and warnings.

  7. Dear Eric, hope you come to visit Germany some day. We can take many a drive on the Autobahn; it’s truly a libertarian paradise where in the almost complete absence of cops and cameras the system just regulates itself in the absence of speed limits and absolutely minimal enforcement. Nobody ever hogs the left lane because in the absence of speed limits, no one can justify doing that; no matter what country they all come from, all understand that without anyone having to say it. I can’t explain how relaxing it is to come back to Germany and finally see that sign revoking all speed limits. I know it seems impossible to believe but it truly is absolutely relaxing. Write me a note if you want to come visit !

    • To think that Eisenhower pushed the Interstates as we know in them in 1956 because as his forces stomped into Germany in 1945, he was impressed by the Autobahns then already built, believing that they’d facilitated the movement of German troops and supplies between fronts. In reality, Germany had relatively few trucks to spare, and lacked fuel for what they did have; they were as dependent on the Roll-Bahn (railroads) as they’d been in WWI. The autobahns actually helped the Allies roll across Germany, once they’d surrounded the bulk of the German forces in the West in the Ruhr Industrial region by April 1, 1945, getting to within 70 miles of Berlin in only ten days. Unfortunately for the Berliners, they were left to the ‘tender mercies’ of the Soviet armies by “Ike”.

      The Interstates were originally labelled “National Defense Highways” to sell them to the public, and it didn’t hurt Ike in his 1956 re-election campaign, as he took all but the then “Solid South” (and even got Texas, Florida, and Louisiana), and some of those states he narrowly lost. Ike had already learned the value of being “patriotic” with other people’s money!

      • The autobahns were preceded by the Pennsylvania Turnpike, which was largely placed on a failed section of the Pennsylvania Railroad southern mainline. It was the prototype highway with gentle grades, tunnels and separation of east and westbound traffic. It was without speed limits at first, but that was quickly “corrected” as it became more popular. There is a section of original turnpike near Breezewood PA that has been turned into a bike path, including some of the original tunnels. It is very hard to believe that the narrow road was the template, but there it is.

        https://uncoveringpa.com/abandoned-pa-turnpike

    • Chris, eric, the other problem is that too many of the freeways in the US simply aren’t built for speed. Removing the speed limits would naturally result in cars just flying off the roads. There are patches of freeway all over the country that would toss you right into a ditch if you went much more than ten over the limit. The autobahn is something like 18 inches thick. Ike didn’t think that far ahead or it was just a scam because you can’t run tanks, or heavy equipment over these flimsy freeways without them crumbling apart, but hey who doesn’t like job security? I’ve noticed in some parts of the country they have this new way to put down pavement that is incredibly smooth and level, but again, they’re(i.e. the roads) not anywhere as thick as they are in Germany.

      • Hey Shnarkle, it’s not like that everywhere here either. I’ve been on parts of some highways, here (Autobahn) where there was no shoulder, where the curves were so tight that your maximum speed was naturally limited by your view around the bend; still the sign just said: no speed limit. You’re just left to your own devices; and the amazing thing is, people just do the right thing, that’s all. You’ll be amazed!

        • “…your maximum speed was naturally limited by your view around the bend…”
          This is a concept American drivers can’t seem to grasp: that it is your responsibility not to hit stuff that’s in front of you, and if you can’t see what’s ahead because of a curve or a hill, then you damned well better slow down and pay attention.
          “But I had the right-of-way!” is the call of the great American tailgating crybaby. Anybody who bashes into something that’s in front of him will have a hard time convincing me he’s not a moron.

        • Chris, It’s not all that amazing. It’s what people are accustomed to. When you give people responsibilities they usually will meet those challenges. When you treat them as if they were idiots, that’s what you get.

          I spent a few weeks touring across Europe when I was younger, and what I found interesting was how I could notice a tiny black spot in the mirror and as soon as I noticed it, it was already past me. We were driving a Ford Granada, and there was no way we were ever going to get into the fast lane in that thing.

          • And you’re not supposed to, from what I remember of Der Autobahn. IDK if they have the “unlimited” lanes anymore, but the fast lane did have a minimum speed, I believe it was 125 kph (about 78 mph). The Germans tend to heed common sense and sound engineering in all things automotive. Hence why they could produce a very intricate Mercedes AMG or BMW 735i and the VW Beetle in the same time period.

            • Doug, the CHP uses airplanes to pace traffic, not to outrun it. They’re quite noticeable to those who are in the habit of speeding. It’s funny to watch as a whole group of speeders will all slow down simultaneously when they all see the same plane pacing them. The gray color may very well not be the reason I haven’t had any speeding tickets in the last ten years or so. It must then be because of my ability to exercise some common sense. This also places me in the enviable position of being among those who don’t care about being fleeced because they can afford these trivial financial expenses. Unlike them (and you), I’m not content to remain in a country that would rather sodomize its own citizens than treat them with even a rudimentary level of respect.

      • Modern MBTs are designed with fairly low ground pressure to avoid pavement damage AND in getting through marshy or sandy terrain. Also, many have rubber tread blocks specifically intended for road use; to avoid the inevitable damage that occurs with steel crampons.

        Most military traffic doesn’t consist of AFVs anyway; fairly much they’re trucks in the “Deuce and a Half” or five and ten ton classes. Semis and/or fuel or water tankers are also used; but the military’s logistics fleet is more designed to deal with the often questionable roads where they may have to go; and not necessarily fuel efficiency as the civilian sector has to concern itself greatly with.

      • Thickness of the roads has very little to do with the safe driving speeds of most passenger cars and freight vehicles. Many factors, but the most impacting being TRAFFIC and WEATHER, determine a reasonable speed limit. While 85 mph is sedate for I-80 between Reno and Salt Lake (save for a few spots in mountain passes), I know of few spots on I-15 on the Wasatch Front, or most of I-80 in California, where 65 mph would be too imposing. Interestingly enough, where, per vehicle mile (a figure based on traffic studies), are the most accidents? Not where the speed limits are higher! And that takes into account one of the greatest banes of long-distance interstate driving: BOREDOM and INATTENTIVENESS. That’s one thing that the “Nat-Zees” got right when they laid out the original Autobahnen: these highways were deliberately made to “wind”, albeit in most cases quite gently. Too many US Interstates are “Ramrod Straight”, likely more to being the least expensive way to gain right-of-way when they were laid out, or perhaps some highway planner had this idea that if it worked for the Romans, whom were often obsessed with the straightness of THEIR roads, then it was the ‘Murican way.

        • The thickness of the roads makes plenty of difference in the lifetime of the road itself. When those trucks start bouncing they create these wonderful bumps after a while, and who doesn’t love those deep asphalt ruts so reminiscent of the good ol’ days of driving on dirt roads? How fast do you drive on those? I guarantee you’re nowhere near the speed limit on any freeway under those conditions.

          Some people believe the straight highways were intended to allow planes to land in emergencies or for the military to land planes, but this is a legend. However, in many cases it’s the only game in town so there are quite a few examples of people landing their planes on highways. So even if it wasn’t the official reason, it does seem to a popular one for pilots.

          • Ah, yes, it’s true that better road construction methods yield longer road lives. Thickness of pavement is NOT, however, necessarily a determining factor. Materials selection has a LOT to do with pavement life. Believe it or not, a source of plasticizing material for asphalt is pulverized recycled tires. You’re talking to an engineer, here, bub. I see enough examples of construction nitwittery here in Cali(porn)ia, due to corruption and the cast of idiots running CalTrans.

            What’s fascinating is a study of how the Romans constructed roads. Sure, they didn’t have heavy rigs pounding their pavement, but considering what they had to work with, how durable and well-drained they were, I’d say they were history’s greatest civil and military engineers.

    • I drove the AutoBahn some 15 or 20 years ago when on assignment in Germany. One rule I liked was that you did not pass on the right. This would seem to be in place to make it safe to get over to the right when you spot someone doing 150 mph coming up on you and you’re in the left lane.

      I also drove around to France etc. There was an extreme difference in the smoothness of the road when I crossed into France. It was like being home in the US again. Potholes, grooved roads swishing your car left to right, almost making you dizzy, and of course a bumpy ride.

      However, I also experienced a giant traffic jam one day on the AutoBahn, only to find there had been a fiery crash. And when they do have crashes, they are spectacular.

      • I recall times when you got to the state line in Texas and the roads turned to crap. Ok. has concrete turnpikes(HE Bailey)that are rough as hell and the roughness makes the road come apart. Texas has new concrete roads that are smoooothhh. I always said Ok. turnpikes were a BIL deal.

        The construction techniques determine whether a road will last. Ok. has this concave slab that butts up to another concave slab so when you go over their expansion joints you jump and then land. They don’t last long and they’re hell on your vehicle, be it car, pickup or big rig.

        I had my dog with me the last time I traversed Ok. and some of the turnpike was brand new…..and just as rough as the old. I’d stop every 100 miles…..that seemed like 500 miles, get out and stretch my back and rub my kidneys and walk my dog. Buck would sometimes come from the back seat of the pickup(pulling a big trailer with a big load)and get right beside me and look at me like I was torturing him. About 50 miles S of the Ok/Tx. border the roads return to Texas style and the rest of the trip was fine.

        Like I said, Ok. seems to be a BIL thing so BIL and family and friends are guaranteed a life of luxury via the shitty roads having to constantly being replaced.

        • Hello 8S,
          Back when I was working in the patch and got to meet you face to face, I always forgot to ask you a question during our visits concerning the construction of lease roads which you help to build. I know that you are a highly rational person, but it always seemed to me that the polar opposite of rational people built lease roads!
          Why in the hell are the lease roads built, graded, and regraded below the surrounding ground level? Grading the area a tiny bit wider would make the roads last much longer, divert the water to areas where erosion isn’t a concern, reduce the time it takes to travel, tear up less equipment, and be less physically and mentally stressful for the drivers of every type of oilfield equipment! Even Missouri hillbillies know that back roads should be higher than the terrain and should have drainage turnout furrows which direct excess water far away from the road! It seemed to me that west Texas and New Mexico had lease roads designed to be THE drainage turnouts for the surrounding fields which suffer from drought conditions nearly every year. We both know how bad this design is for truckers having to drive on lease roads. Why is such foolishness a habit there?

  8. With all the hysteria about distracted driving, I think it’s important to note too what a distraction speed limits are. If you want to avoid upsetting the armed pests in government costumes, you have to be constantly scanning the roadside for a sign to tell you what is permissible, instead of paying attention to the actual road conditions and what’s going on around you.

  9. Save way is to go with the flow on an interstate or big highway.
    Was on the interstate recently and traffic was moving 85 to 90.
    Having a good time with some good drivers.
    Only safety issue were the 70 MPH folks. Some in the left lane and center lane.
    Coming home I was pullling a boat on an old trailer so I had to drop it down a bit.
    I did 65-70 while alone but 75 to 80 depending on how many and how fast I was being overtaken.
    A line in the left lane already over and ready to pass 2-300 yards back I held my speed. A gaggle in both lanes jocking for position and I picked up the pace. I even had to pass a few 60 mphers who were in the left lane! Oblivious to those going around them.
    At one time I saw 3 cops giving tickets with in a mile. I wonder how fast those folks were going?
    Traffic did not even slow up!

    I have a rather long commute on rural roads and there are 4 – 5 folks who pass me at 70 – 80+. A bit much with blind curves and all the driveways. They like to tail gate at 15-20 feet until they can pass. I set the cruse at 58 and ride the throttle up to 60 – 65 so its not like I’m dragging. Won’t pass on a solid line with good visibility even if I get over and slow to 40, just ride the bumper. This is generaly before sunrise so you get another 100 yds from on coming lights. If they have a passing zone and even see a car they just sit there.
    We could call these folks anti clovers? They want to go fast, and will, but have no judgement of distance, time, acceleration, or skill.

    In 2 years I have gotten 4 warnings and one ticket that was kept “in town” and not sent to the state so I have gotten some pretty good breaks lately.

  10. In the last seven years I’ve sped across the US and not received a single ticket. I have a gray car that blends in with the asphalt. I spent years driving a truck, and after a while I think one develops a sense of where the best hiding places are for picking off speeders. Over and over, I will find myself absentmindedly driving 15 to 20 miles over the speed limit and will unconsciously slow down without even knowing it only to then see a radar gun pointed at me. At first I used to laugh and wonder how I could be so lucky, but after it happened a few dozen times I realized that it was because I’ve seen cops in these locations before, and developed a sense for where they’re hiding.

    The other thing I do is when I get to the top of a mountain and I’m descending into a valley that looks like there’s no place for them to hide, I gun it all the way to the next peak. When you’re on a long stretch of straight road, and there are trucks in front and trucks behind, there’s no way for a radar gun to see you so you can gun it up to the next group of trucks. It probably wastes a lot of gas, but it can trim hours off your time going from one end of the country to the other.

    Ultimately, it’s becoming a game for those who can afford it. I got pulled over by a CHP years ago, and he asked me why I was speeding when all the truckers were notifying each other about his presence at the bottom of that hill. My CB wasn’t working. You gotta pay to play. Get a CB, and you’ll find that you can find out where they’re at.

      • Vonu, all over the country. My last two cars were gray. The first one lost its clear coat and I painted over it with black. The difference was negligible, and the farther you get away from it, the more it blends into the road. Even when I look at the hood of my car and the pavement it almost disappears. It’s a dark gray. Go outside and take a picture of the road in front of your house. The picture will most likely come out gray especially if it is an old road.

        • (Ahem…) You have heard of RADAR? AFAIK, the color of your car’s finish won’t matter insofar as it’s radar signature is concerned.

          Of course, I still want to know what species of tree it was that the Florida Highway Patrol, sometime back in the 1970s, measured doing 80 mph….

          • Geez Doug, are you really that dense? Please explain to us all how or why a trooper would aim his radar gun at a vehicle he doesn’t even see coming at him? Please explain how a highway patrol officer is going to get his radar gun to cut through a semi truck or a mountain. They need to be able to see you first you tool.

            Add a pair of those gay looking glasses, and the only cars they’re going to see are white, red, yellow, orange, and lime green. The dark green, burgundy, gray, black, vehicles aren’t anywhere near as noticeable. Which gives the driver an added advantage in being able to see the trooper before they see him. If you know how to hide behind trucks, and can judge how fast traffic is going, it isn’t all that difficult to blend in.

            If you spent half as much time driving as you do talking out your ass, you’d know this.

            • How do you think they catch you at NIGHT? Or pick you out of the traffic? Are you really delusional to believe that you’re in effect driving a “cammo” vehicle?
              As for hiding behind trucks, yeah, it might be useful to evade “Smokey”, but if you’ve got the experience as a commercial driver that you claim, then you’d know why that generally a dumb idea. Most “Class 3” (the typical license category in CA for a private, non-commercial driver) operators have little appreciation for braking distances of a typical semi, or how they’re affected by crosswinds, something any trucker that plies I-80, I-5, or 99 in CA can attest to.

              Sharnkle, it seems to be you that can’t distinguish between vocalizing and farting, judging by the delusional BS you spew in this forum.

            • Anon, How do they catch me at night? They don’t. I’ve never had a speeding ticket at night. I’ve had plenty of them during the daylight hours up until I bought my first gray car. I removed the logos and badges from the gray car I have now, perhaps that also helps with its stealthy profile. Not only does it blend in with the pavement, but the shaded parts blend in with the shaded road while those in direct sunlight blend in with the pavement in direct sunlight. I would have provided a link to show you, but this site won’t let me.

              My car looks like it’s going 150 mph just sitting in a parking space. I’m surprised no one has hit it thinking the parking space was empty.

              It will stop considerably quicker than a fully loaded semi. I can be around a semi before they even suspect that their truck is beginning to swerve into another lane.

              • I gotta take up for Shnarkle on this one. I had a Nissan pickup that was nearly road color. I ran that poor thing flat out nearly every second of it’s “limited” life in Texas heat. I never had a ticket unless I as the ONLY vehicle on the road. Doing 95 and slamming on the brakes would get somebody else a ticket. I’d just keep on doing the 60 mph I had been driving (not)before I slammed on the brakes almost to sliding tires}…and that was a way to avoid a ticket back in the day. Rapid decelleration back in the day would screw up the read out of radar, even the most sophisticate….something we taxpayers paid for in spades…in Tx. We got stuck for the bill of the most sophisticated radar and stuck for the results.

                When it became known we could get out of the 55 mph speed limit if we gave i ,money from the fed. countless articles written by the then not corrupted press said Texans don’t want federal money and just want the speed limit back we had.

                Of course the pols were the very problem to begin with so we could only endure for more years till the Lege finally had so many people wanting to do away with 55 they felt they had no choice. They didn’t have to live with it, but we did.Fuck the Polease Fuck the Polease, Fuck the Polease…..

                The cops always pulled over some other vehicle.

              • Seems like your grey car has ‘stealth’ value from aircraft, which use by the CHP is overstated anyway. Truth is, a typical “Ghetto Bird” can easily outrun most road vehicles anyway, and is more versatile for about the same operating costs as a typical light aircraft. In the course of my work I see CHP and Sacramento County Sheriff’s aircraft of all types (I manage the former Air Force base where they’re maintained), the CHP has but one Piper Twin left there.

                If your experience enables you to be a better ‘scofflaw’, hey, more power to ya, but the idea that to the coppers on the ground your vehicle’s exterior makes it ‘stealthy’ seems a dubious proposition. My daily driver, the 2014 Focus, is, by contrast, easily visible, being “Fridge-White”, and about as “Plain Jane” as they get these days (what the hell, it was cheap, reliable, and all I needed when getting through an expensive divorce). Though I and my “beloved Snips” have other rides, I still use it as a daily commuter, and, when my ‘baby girl’ turns 18, she gets it for college. IDK why in four years that I’ve never been ticketed with this econobox , save that perhaps the cops had “pity” on me for driving a girl’s car!

      • “Where is gray asphalt common?”

        Most everywhere I think. It turns grey over exposure to weather. Even in dry California I found it bleached grey by the sun. But I think it takes a lot longer than where winter and road salt does it over the course of three months.

    • I was just like you when I was living in New England, I got to know 95 like the back of my hand. After getting a ticket the first year there, I would look up every entrance ramp, I would look in the rear view mirror especially in the evening after those Crown Victoria cop cars, I would look for the thick tires and a ‘determined driving style’ typical cop. I would think of everyone ahead of me being my forward feelers and was watching for people hitting their breaks as my early warning system. I used to drive like that 75-80mph and never got another ticket for the next 10 years I was there. I never bought a radar detector because I never wanted to become so complacent as to rely on it.

    • Hello Shnarkle, You clearly have a whole lot more knowledge than I do about boating and the countries you have visited, but eightsouthman, I, and other current truckers have more current experience concerning driving truck. Nowadays, you can drive over 100 miles in at least the midwest with your CB turned on and not hear anyone talking unless you turn your squelch down enough to hear constant static. I believe there are 2 reasons for this. 1. Cell phone service plans with low cost unlimited yapping allowed. The blabbermouths are now yapping to people they actually know as opposed to strangers on the highway. 2. So many truck drivers are driving governed trucks. They do not care about speed traps since they cannot speed anyway. They therefore yap on phones or listen to satellite radio with their CB radio turned off. CB radios only seem to get turned on when traffic gets stopped or slowed down significantly.
      Most truck drivers nowadays are slowpoke law-abiding clovers! I have found that speedometers usually understate your speed. GPSes are more accurate. My speedo understates my speed at around 2-3 mph at 70-75 mph. Many if not most OTR truckers likewise have GPSes, but they choose to go by their incorrect speedos ‘just to be safe’. I am usually among the fastest truck drivers in my area even though most trucks can out-pull mine on hills, because I am driving an old-assed 2003 Freightliner with a Detroit Diesel and more than 1,300,000 miles on it. I have been driving this truck at those speeds for nearly a year now, have met cops, and have thus far never been pulled over for speeding. I am also among the fastest truck drivers in Kansas City and St. Louis once my weak-assed truck can get up to speed. My method is to drive the average speed of the 4-wheelers in those cities while most truckers don’t dare exceed 5 mph over the posted speed signs. This means that around 15% of the cars are driving faster than I am in those cities, and my hope is that a porker would pull one of them over rather than me since I am going so much slower than those fast 4 wheelers are. I do not wish for ANYONE to get a speeding ticket, especially myself.
      I used to drive castrated trucks too! Whenever I decided to pass another truck driving a bit slower than me’ I always looked into my mirror to see if a faster truck was overtaking me. If so, I would try to estimate if I could complete the pass before the faster truck behind me caught up. I very often let the fast truck pass me before I made my pass. No that I drive an ungoverned truck: I see that I had been an oddball! Most of the time when I am passing a line of slower trucks; one of them will pull out right in front of me, forcing me to hit the brakes in order to avoid a collision! Further, many times I will be rapidly catching up to another truck when suddenly its driver notices me. He will then speed up to about my speed, pretending to not be a slow poke. Sometimes I continue on at the same speed until I wring him off with other traffic, and sometimes I speed up a little bit. Once I have actually passed him, he will slow down and quickly drop way behind me.
      As to 55 mph governed trucks: They did not exist. Decades ago Schneider and JB Hunt had Quallcomm installed on the trucks to snitch on drivers, but the trucks would actually go 57-60 mph. There certainly existed states with 55 mph speed limits for trucks such as California and much of the N.E. Yankee states, but the rest of the country for the most part did away with the stupidly low speed limit for trucks outside of metropolitan areas. Governed trucks are usually set at 65-68 mph.
      I have little doubt that driving so slow saves fuel on flat ground; but how far should it be taken? I wish that some engineers would run tests on ideal speed fluctuations in hilly terrain for optimal mileage.
      Driving 20 mph would virtually eliminate wind resistance; but who could stay awake driving that slow for 10-11 hours per day? Even if someone could stay awake, the temptation to read books, magazines, newspapers, or watch TV while driving would be incredibly strong in rural areas. Driving 55 mph is likewise extremely boring on rural 4 lane highways. You know this because you used to speed yourself. So why defend sorry trucking and insurance companies for forcing absurd limits on truck drivers? Further, speed limits ASSume everyone and every vehicle has equal skills and abilities, which is utter nonsense!
      A recent article here criticized V.W. for caving to the U.S. government bureaucrats fatwas. The truth is that modern CEOs are content to slide their lips up and down Uncle Sams commanding erect penis in the hopes of avoiding having Uncle sic the IRS on them.
      Many CEOs are likewise psychopaths who do not really care about employees! They only pretend to care in the hopes that the employees will stay there at the company and work hard. Nearly every company tells employees to give them a 2 week notice before quitting so that they can find a replacement worker; yet not one of them will give an employee 2 weeks notice about getting fired. Both situations amount to one entity firing the other! Who gets hurt the most during a sudden departure: the fired employee who has lost 100% of his income, or the company who has lost +-5% of its income? But we are not supposed to even think about that sort of thing here in the Soviet USSA!
      Intelligent people do not need a dictators hand up their back to control them like puppets. The State screws up everything it touches. Its only skill is to commit crimes such as murder, fraud, theft, battery, libel, slander, extortion, blackmail, jury tampering, and a whole host of other crimes. Those among us who are highly moral in a real sense despise being ruled by our moral and/or intellectual inferiors.
      I really enjoy reading your posts about living abroad and boating; therefore I hope that we remain online friends even though I strongly disagree with some of your opinions.

      • Brian, you seem to think I’m for government regulated speed limits. I’m not. You also seem to be conflating government regulated speed limits with what a corporation decides to do with their own trucks. Anyone who doesn’t drive as fast as you would like them to is a clover. I’m not saying I agree with a corporation’s decisions. I’m pointing out that it’s THEIR decision to have their employees drive as fast they want them to in THEIR trucks.

        This nonsense about driving on flat ground makes no sense at all. A governor doesn’t allow a truck to accelerate beyond a certain speed, but if you put two identical fully loaded trucks next to each other at the foot of a steep hill, the only difference being that one is governed and the other one isn’t, it wont’ make any difference because neither one is going to get anywhere near their 62 or 68 limit. The only place is makes a difference is on flat ground which you’ve already admitted is where the fuel savings would come from.

        I can take the most powerful Pete, and haul ass up a hill with a governor limiting my speed to 68 mph. Fuel is only one of the factors.

        Many of these big trucking companies have to keep their business as legal as possible lest they get screwed on an audit. Their trucks have gps, they have logs, they have gas receipts, they have weigh scales, speed limits etc. When they’re audited, those DOT agents can look at all of that and if everything doesn’t match up, these companies get some serious penalties. Once that happens, then they’re really on their toes, and then the government clamps down some more and mandates things like insisting that all their trucks have to be on paperless logs which only makes it more difficult to make money.

        The only difference between you and me is that you’re still driving. I was driving because I was making great money and I enjoyed it. When I got hit a few times in a row from the DOT my wallet took a minor hit, but those pricks took so much enjoyment from screwing people over for no good reason, I parked the truck and quit. It was fun up until everyone is complaining about how screwed up it all is. I’m not saying that I haven’t learned a lot from other truckers, but all truckers are hopeless perpetual know it alls. Only an honest one will admit that.

        • Hello Shnarkle, I never said that all truckers driving slower than I am are clovers. The clovers are the ones who display passive-aggressiveness by pulling out into the passing lane right as I am about to overtake them, causing me to slam on my brakes in order to avoid a collision, because they do not like the fact that I am driving faster than they are! This happens several times a day. Clover truck drivers are also the ones try to hinder the progress of others. They also tend to be copsuckers.
          You make the point that if 2 trucks which are identical except for governed speed start side by side up a hill, the governed settings make no difference because neither truck will achieve its maximum speed. That is true. When 8s and I are talking about governed trucks slowing us way down and consuming more fuel: We are talking about gaining speed downhill in excess of governed speed so that we are already going fast when the next hill climb arrives. Even if I am on flat land for awhile, I will eventually approach a hill to climb. Since my truck isn’t governed, I can accelerate to 75-80 mph before the climb begins. I am letting momentum decrease the amount of time and downshifting required to reach the top of the hill. Once I top the hill and start going downhill, I can pick speed back up to 5-10 mph above the legal limit and coast farther out once flat ground is reached before needing to press down on the accelerator pedal to resume travel speed. These things are where the fuel savings come from. I can’t do that with a governed truck, especially if the company bans coasting over-speed, because I would have to use brakes going down that hill to maintain governed speed which is usually lower than the posted speed, immediately apply the accelerator pedal at the bottom of the hill in order to not slow down below the governed speed, would only be going 65-68 mph at the base of the next hill, and would have to downshift almost immediately.
          The insurance companies are owned by clovers who are in bed with the government. The insurance companies tell trucking companies that they will get reduced rates for setting the governors so that the trucks cannot exceed 65-68 mph. They pulled those numbers out of their ass! I challenge anyone and everyone to produce proof that insurance companies funded science-based experiments which prove that trucks driving 70 mph are more likely to have accidents then ones driving 68 or 65 mph. Differing trucks, trailers, drivers, load types, tire brands, weather, seasons, time of day or night, and other factors would further complicate the testing results. I strongly suspect that the combined insurance companies research dollars spent on such a test for semi-trucks since, say, 1970 is $0!
          I have been wanting to quit trucking for years, but finding another job which pays more than an entry level wage has proven to be difficult. That is why I am hoping to get into the boat repair and reselling business.

        • All other truckers are perpetual know it alls. That seems to sum up your knowledge and experience. I have owned trucks and not only paid the fuel bills but watched my profits plummet from slow speeds and watched my equipment suffer from slow speeds.

          Anything involving momentum is affected by limiting speed. Reckon NASA could put the shuttle into space with some insurance dick’s knowledge of nothing to regulate their maximum speed. Is gravity going to bow to insurance or other fools and give something a bye?

          It’s just something an old trucker knows from experience. Hit the top of that hill at 45 or maybe 50 and the next downhill ain’t all that glorious and the truck isn’t in it’s best power band. So you might get another 4-6(just for demonstration of “some” hill)but that rig that made it over it at 60 is not going to have to keep it nailed to get up to the PSL…..and even if they do, there’s the next hill. Over the course of a run you get to know what works and what doesn’t.

          I drove all those underpowered Maxidyne’s back in the day. 5 speed trannies with engines that were supposed to pull from 900 to 2000 rpm…..and wouldn’t because they were underpowered and always at least maxed out on weight. Weight is the name of the game.

          I got stopped by this rookie DOT occifer who looked at my weight ticket. I was 20 lbs(not really, I had gotten out and stepped off the scales to get it under 40 tons…but it’s faster and one hell of a lot easier to do than to spend countless hours a day trying to stay at exactly 40 tons or less) under 40 tons and he said “Gee, you’re really loaded heavy”…as if it wasn’t legal. I figured the dick would finally learn that all those Christian Bros. and other shit freight haulers were always pushing if not exceeding the weight limit.

          I simply said, Well, that’s what it’s all about. I could load up a few thousand lighter every load and use virtually the same amount of fuel but not make as much money. That’s what we get paid to do, haul WEIGHT.

          He didn’t have much to say. Brian, you won’t believe this but I was coming back from the DPS office Monday after getting my license reinstated because the state of Tx. doesn’t keep up their website and the doc never got my DOT physical posted. Sure it cost me money and time and more money of fuel but hey, it wasn’t their problem. At the end of the day I hear this puss mouthed prick who’s been on KTAB for 50 years give a big shout out to Jeremy Usener, the ignorant, abusive little Mexican shit who fucks with truckers like no other. He’s written me tickets for things that weren’t even out of compliance…such as not having the required DOT number on the truck….except that the DOT number was on the truck in big black fonts on a red Pete. He just threw in everything he could think of. He said my brakes were “inexcusable” on a tractor we’d just replaced the entire brake system on. He used “inexcusable” several times so I guess he’d just learned the word.

          Anyway, old Bob Bartlett, yankee transplant and pussy mouthed SOB gave a big thumbs up for Jeremy coming in at #1 in the state of DOT occifers keeping the public safe by his exemplary duties controlling commercial trucks. He’s a lying sack of shit and I have the 4 foot long tickets to prove it. Luckily, I never met another DOT occifer that lied and wrote false tickets the way he did….and still does. Oh, he’s going to the top….and I’ll be glad when he gets there and he’s not on the road again.

          If you ever watched KTAB news you know what a price Bob is. He’d lick the stopped up toilet dry if it was part of his job.

          If I were Trump I’d have a long list of “shithole” companies I’d target for going too slow. Speed differential is what’s dangerous. It has always been so and always will be, the very reason so many want to have autonomous trucks. They’d better pay for new roadways if that’s their goal. I’ve recently had a Swift truck and a Messila Valley truck go by me at 75. Ah, they do have some owner/operators who are making them the most money. I laugh every time I see somebody offering “bonus” pay for fuel mileage. So you make less money all year long for a couple grand at the end of the year….if you eeck out the next shittiest clover.

          Limiting trucks is like limiting words for eric.
          Big guv says you can only use so many words in any time frame. That means everybody is equal, the perfect communist state.

          • Hi 8Sman, I suspect that Shnarkle has never had to drive a castrated truck, so he doesn’t really understand how dangerous governed truck policies are, including the amount of stress those drivers are under if they happen to be courteous yet hard charging drivers by nature. I am one of those types!

            • Brian, a friend older than me told me about his company getting a batch of new trucks. They were sitting in the yard not being used and he wondered why. The answer was “We’re turning them all down”.

              He laughed and said something like “True to form for somebody who doesn’t understand truck driving”. So they took him to task and he told them the 575 HP engines(torque varies a lot more than hp as you well know but others don’t understand it) would get better mileage than the engines when they were turned down.

              He tried to explain why but you know how that goes right over the head of a non-gearhead. So the manager finally said “I’ll tell you what, you can have one that’s not turned down if you won’t tell anyone else”.
              He got his truck as delivered. In two weeks he’d made his point about fuel mileage. They didn’t argue with him again.

  11. Eric, I remember reading a long article in Road and Track back around 1977-1980 that analyzed all of the claims about the safety benefits of the 55 mph speed limit. Conclusion: the safest speed was the speed at which 85% of the cars chose to travel. Those that drove significantly over or under that speed had disproportionately more accidents. In the olden days, the way the highway engineers would arrive at the speed limit is they would not post a speed limit on a new stretch of highway for several weeks, but they would monitor how fast everyone drove. Once they determined the 85th percentile,the safest speed, they’d post one 5 mph lower.

    That was a great article. I’d like to find that one again.

    • Hi Ron,

      I remember it, too! Unfortunately, Road & Track and C&D are now run by Clovers; Nader clones who worship saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafety (that is, control by bureaucratic elites) uber alles.

      My position on the issue has evolved as well. I support advisory speed signage but not enforceable speed limits. Advisory signs can be very helpful and certainly cause no harm. Siccing armed government workers on people who’ve not harmed anyone merely for driving faster than a number on a sign, strikes me as of the same species as arresting and caging a person as a “drunk” solely because they were found to have an open bottle in the car, or “x” arbitrary BAC level – even when their driving gave no indication of impairment.

      Inevitably, the argument about the guy who “drives 100 MPH through a school zone” comes up. These arguments are always hysterical, over the top – using extreme and extremely unlikely (but possible, I admit) examples to justify punishing everyone for actions far less extreme – such as driving 35 in school zone (and there are no kids around).

      There are several things at issue:

      * Not punishing people who’ve harmed no one – because they “might.” It’s important to defend this principle, because to not defend it got us to where the country is today – a suffocating control grid where that argument is used to justify myriad tyrannies, from the petty to the not so petty.

      * There is risk even in maximum security prison. I would rather not live in a maximum security prison.

      * Liberty is much less risky than tyranny. Consider the body count. The more authoritarian a country becomes, the more dangerous it becomes.

      * Individuals vary. One size does not fit all. Speed limits assume one size does fit all and as such are prima facie unreasonable and unreasonable is unjust.

      • Eric, honestly I don’t think this is anything compared to what’s coming down the pike. I think a good analogy is the difference between bullfighting and the treatment cattle receive in the US. In the US they’re fed corn to fatten them up, or hooked to milking machines for the rest of their miserable lives. In Mexico a bull has a fighting chance. He can go rampaging through the arena poking holes in a matador, or die trying.

        Right now, you can rip down the interstate as fast as your car will take you. You’ve got your eyes peeled searching for possible threats, you’ve got your radar detector, and you’ve got traffic running interference between you and the law’s eyes and radar gun. Those are pretty good odds. When these self driving cars become popular, your car will be the odd one causing all the problems. At that point you might as well be on a train.

        • I intend to be like a fictional 12 y.o. James Tiberius Kirk out driving his Uncle’s vintage ‘Vette, obviously w/o permission, somewhere on the Iowa prairie, defying even the ‘droid cops trying to pull me over. Of course, “Gawd” help me to let that ‘Vette go sailing to the bottom of a quarry.

          (NOTE: about the only worthwhile thing of the Star Trek ‘reboot’ franchise, other than the green-skinned Orion chick that the Chris Pine version of Kirk beds. Oh, I suppose this version of Carol Marcus was an improvement as well…)

    • Highway design is based on that experience. When the Interstates were being designed in Tennessee, for example, the design speed for the rural interstates was 80mph, with the intention of setting the limit at 75. That also turned out to be the 85th percentile when the speed studies were done.

      I’ve been an Engineer at 3 DOTs (TN, OH, and NC) and seen the old plans for the rural interstates. The same idea applied in all 3.

    • I had a recent experience on Idaho Scenic Byway 34 – Which runs from the Wyoming state line west and then south to Soda Springs and the Utah border.
      There is a 55 mile section with one small community about midway through.
      the caution signs at blind corners are accurate, even to a motorcycle rider, but the open sections are delightful at 115 to 120.
      I thoroughly enjoyed the drive, was delighted that the Highway Patrol stayed home on that Sunday afternoon, and was grateful to meaningful signage.

      • Going from Northern CA to Boise, Idaho, wasn’t too bad, save for 122 steenkin’ miles through Oregon…which set the limit of US 95 at 55 mph, never mind that most of it is flat and straight. Given that both the Oregon Highway Patrol AND the Malheur County Sheriff were just itching to nab out-of-staters that have the ‘noive’ to speed on that miserable stretch, I would just resign myself to keep it at 60 mph and just bear the long-assed BORING dwadle…until recently, when most of it was raised to at least 65! Of course, the little hamlet of Jordan Valley, OR, is still a notorious speed trap.

    • The Quiz political map is based on the “Nolan Chart” created in 1970 by David F. Nolan. In 1987 Advocates Founder Marshall Fritz created the World’s Smallest Political Quiz by adding ten questions to Nolan’s Chart, along with other refinements.
      https://www.theadvocates.org/about-the-quiz/

      FROM RATIONALWIKI…
      It doesn’t stop
      at the water’s edge
      Politics
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      v – t – e
      The Nolan chart is a two dimensional political map replacing, or maybe enhancing, the standard left-right model. The original had the up-down axis represent “personal freedom” and the left-right axis represent “economic freedom.” The new version has the chart tilted to the side, so that the up-down axis shows a Libertarian/Authoritarian or Libertarian/Statist axis. (There is considerable debate as to what the opposite of Libertarian should be. The original version used “populist,” though a populist can be quite free.)

      While the chart in itself is not fundamentally biased, the “World’s Smallest Political Quiz” (put out by the libertarian Advocates for Self-Government) uses it in a skewed and extremely simplistic manner. The quiz has ten issues, things like “Government should not censor speech, press, media or Internet” and “Let people control their own retirement; privatize Social Security,” which are worded ambiguously enough that people will be more inclined to agree with the libertarian answer.

      NolanChart.com uses a different set of questions, which are still slightly biased.

      The Enhanced Precision Political Quiz is not as biased (but still sometimes offers ten different possibilities, none of which are appropriate for certain political viewpoints), and has reading suggestions at the end.

      Contents
      1 Fun with the World’s Smallest Political Quiz
      2 The Enhanced Precision Political Quiz
      3 See also
      4 External links
      Fun with the World’s Smallest Political Quiz

      The Nolans’ chart career was brief, but spawned an entertainingly misleading political quiz.
      The selection of only ten issues and how they are worded can affect the outcome greatly. Take the first example from the World’s Smallest Political Quiz, “Government should not censor speech, press, media or Internet.” Most people would be inclined to agree. Add this and you get a very different outcome: “Publishing kiddie porn is just fine. Anyone should be allowed to legally post others’ credit card numbers to the Internet. There should be no censorship of libel and slander either.” Doesn’t sound so appealing anymore does it? Note that even with a libertarian bias, it is unlikely that slander, libel, or thievery would be supported by the creators of this chart or quiz.

      Yet look at another question, “Let people control their own retirement; privatize Social Security.”, which sounds a lot better than “let your grandparents fend for themselves on coupons after a pension company scams them.” This, however, might suffer the same problems as the first, that is, that the creators of the chart might not support such an extreme, even if the outcome is exactly that. Some of the largest problems inherent to right-wing ersatz libertarianism are encapsulated therein. They don’t necessarily want gran-gran to die of starvation (though many, including party leadership, are actually perfectly fine with this), but their ideas would inevitably see gran-gran dead in a couple of months due to untreated illness, starvation, and exposure. Theirs is ultimately a socially darwinian ideology.

      https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Nolan_chart

      • The most important change the late Marshall Fritz made to the Nolan Chart was the rotation that placed the left-right spectrum on a lateral orientation.

    • I passed one of those right hand drive Jeeps yesterday morning while driving truck. The left side window was down, and I could see a thigh and the steering wheel on the right side of the Jeep. I figured that the vehicle and driver were from Australia or something. I also considered the possibility that the driver was a postal carrier.

      • Brian, I think that most of them I’ve seen were former postal carrier jeeps, as well. Those were 2WD vehicles with a folding passenger seat on the right and no seats in the rear.

    • Hm. Those people should probably take the world’s smallest political quiz over again so that they may receive their past due wakeup call re: their deluded self-identities!

    • Hi Kent,

      People who defend speed limits and checkpoints are not Libertarians. Libertarians do not accept such concepts as presumptive guilt or collective guilt nor do they defend enforcement of laws which penalize actions that do not create victims.

      I harm no one merely by driving 65 on the road near me. The fact that I am “speeding” (the posted speed limit being 55) affronts a statute, nothing more. And no Libertarian who understands Libertarian principles can defend punishing a person merely for affronting a statute, on the basis of an assertion that driving 65 “might” result in harm to a hypothesized “someone.” An actual victim, evidence of harm done, is required before a personal may justly be held responsible for having caused it.

      Some – Clovers, especially the “conservative” sort who may consider themselves to be “Libertarians” – will try to justify speed limits/enforcement of such as being the equivalent of acting when someone points a loaded gun at them but hasn’t yet actually pulled the trigger.

      But it doesn’t parse. In the first place, it’s a very female, exaggerated/overhyped analogy. A person doing 65 on a road with a 55 limit is nothing like a person pointing a loaded gun at others. Any person who so asserts is in need of therapy.

      The argument presumes that speed limits are speed limits – that it is “unsafe” to drive faster – which is an imbecility that ought not to require further elaboration. Pointing a loaded gun at someone, on the other hand, is a murderous threat (assuming it’s not in self-defense). There is no question about it. There is nothing arbitrary about loaded guns; they are always dangerous – and it is always dangerous to the health of another person to point a loaded gun at him.

      Finally, there is intent.

      When one points a loaded gun at someone, they clearly intend to threaten them with deadly violence. Driving 65 on a road with a 55 MPH speed limit involves no such intent. One merely wishes to drive at speed that is faster than the arbitrary maximum speed decreed by the government.

      • I still argue that the people crying “speeder!” are not inherently effeminate. Most of the wimpy drivers I’ve come across in my time have been middle-aged dudes and teens and 20 somethings brainwashed by the po-lice. Meanwhile the women I’ve associated with all my life are absolutely not held back by speed limit signs.

        It’s a lot less to do with gender and more to do with general weak-mindedness and collectivism.

        • Hi Moose,

          It does seem that – today, at least – younger women are less Cloverish than men. Another metric confirming the collapse of this society! I actually had a Clover Encounter yesterday; I am going to post a short rant about it later.

          PS: In re non-Clover chicks; if you have any friends in my neck, tell them to drop me a line! I can’t seem to meet any that aren’t…

          • It’s pretty bad when dudes are willing to trade their freedom so easily. My old man would’ve never given in like that. He kicked the bucket just before everything got entirely outta hand, always been envious of that.

            The matriarch monsters are many in number and just a safety nightmare nowadays, as well as self-declared authorities on everything else you should be doing. I dared to defy tired social etiquette by hilariously engaging in Clash Royale battles quietly on my phone throughout a spoiled little girl’s efforts at violin playing during a fancy family dinner (not my family per se) while everyone else cloverishly doted, and I missed this part, but the boyfriend witnessed an old hag who was video taping it eyeing the room to make sure eeeeverybody else was watching, and when her butthurt glare locked on me playing a game on my phone, he said it was like Mona Lisa level beauty, he was so proud of how butthurt I made her. The key to happiness.. minding your own goddamn business.

            • Hi Moose,

              I love it!

              The hallucinatory thing – for me, as a guy who grew up in a very different America – is dealing with this America. When I was a kid, most people despised and mocked busybodies and hysterics. MYOB was the rule of normal people. Today, MYOB is considered almost pathological while busybodyism and hysteria are the defining characteristics of this society.

              I am working on a rant about something I saw at the coffee shop I frequent… it is bad. Very, very bad. Ugly, too!

        • Moose, it isn’t always those who are brain washed by the police. Middle aged dudes don’t have the reflexes they had when they were younger. They need more time to react. Then there’s those who will give themselves plenty of time to get where they’re going so they don’t have to rush. When I moved the Florida, it was like everyone was driving at least 10 to 15 miles below the posted speed limit. It took me about a month to acclimate to the Sunday driver mentality. I see the same phenomenon across the Midwest as well. People in the middle of the country are much more civil and courteous than those on the perimeter.

          • It depends on what you define as MIDDLE AGED. At some seven months shy of SIXTY, I still consider myself “Middle Aged”, not only by general physical condition, lack of bagginess of eyes and hair is still (mostly) blonde, and I have it all, but the MOST important criteria: If I come on to a somewhat younger lady and a busybody calls me a “dirty old man”, I typically reply, “that’s dirty MIDDLE-AGED man, thank you very much, else give me the Senior discount!”.

            Seriously, it’s a humbling realization, but necessary to keep from playing demolition derby on the roads, that one’s eyesight, reflexes, and coordination simply aren’t what they were at half one’s age, and drive accordingly. Bombing down the freeway in the desert is hardly challenging. PARKING LOTS…now those exasperate me, mainly due to impatient morons that can’t wait to at least get on the street before they haul ass, especially in an establishment like a local kids gymnastics school with the little brats and their moms yakking it up on their cell phones as they don’t pay attention to their surroundings. Not ALL situations call for recklessness for the sake of that 0.5 seconds you might “lose” out of your life.

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HdgVcGjzgR4

            • Douglas, I can still truck with the best of them….and whip most their asses if they’re under 30. I’m about to turn 69…what I have always considered the best number there is.

              I recently quit a company and my roomie was a 58 year old guy who said “You’re in a hell of a lot better shape than me”. He was right….and the tractor I drove was one none of the others could drive, and the 30 year old was the pussiest of the lot, not saying the other drivers were pussies but they had limitations such as two had permanently screwed up legs from bag injuries and the other was 81 years old….but hung in there to the bitter end every day. That tractor had the clutch from hell and I was the only driver who could take it day in and day out. What I couldn’t take was the bad exhaust leak. The owner was one of those guy’s who’d step over dollars to pick up pennies. It might have cost as much as $30 to fix those leaks…..and he wouldn’t do it. I knew we HAD to fix the air leaks on my rig since I was to the point I could only stop by downshifting at the maximum speed and doing it to the brief…or actually not stop, then giving it hell and not shifting up a couple of gears but leaving it on WOT just to keep air pressure up enough so it wouldn’t lock the brakes. I came back the next week loaded for bear toolwise..since he didn’t seem to ever have the requisite tools to do a job. He was so mad he cussed and had a fit….just because I had 3 extra overloaded tool boxes with me.

              He wasn’t a bad mechanic….if he had the right tools and the need to fix something…..as he saw it. He blew off the exhaust leak and I blew off the job. Let’s get real, it’s not how old you are but what you’re willing to accept as limits.

              My foot on my thrice broken leg gave me hell yesterday and today. Well, screw you foot, just man up and take it. That reminds me, another round of Aleve is due. But I won’t take it cause all those nsaids are organ killers. I finally downed some Evan Williams which helped more than anything and everybody know 100 proof bourbon won’t hurt you at all………Fuck the DEA Fuck the DEA Fuck the DEA and oh yeah, fuck the cops…all cops….

              • As long as you’re still TRUCKIN’….

                A gag B-Day card said it best:

                You may be getting on in years….

                Getting a little thicker around the middle…

                Getting a little thinner on the top….

                But as long as you “get a little”

                DON’T COMPLAIN!!

      • Of course you know the simplified argument is that the majority cannot effectively judge the proper “safe” speed. Thanks to Ford’s assembly line, we live in an age of experts who only know one specialty. So instead of well-rounded individuals who understand some basic underlying principals of many different disciplines, we are all specialists in our one field. So if the highway engineer says the speed is 55, that’s the speed (at least that’s the speed for everyone else, since everyone thinks they’re above average drivers).

        The other problem is that there really are people who shouldn’t be operating a motor vehicle. They should leave it to the professionals. But that gets in the way of commerce, and runs counter to the “American dream®.” So they dumb down the certification, slow down the highways and hold up every moron who wrecks as an example. And because the roads don’t keep up with the population -despite Uncle’s comprehensive decennial census- the reality is that often times the roads are too congested to travel at speed anyway.

        • Hi RK,

          Yup. Well, turnabout is fair in that case, eh? I think every obese bastard should be compelled to exercise or made to pay heavy fines for the risks they present and the costs they might impose on “society.”

          Government workers should also be disarmed, of course – on the same basis.

          • I’m sure that’s in the docket. Not the disarming of government workers, but putting fatty on a diet.

            Pass legislation giving handouts to farmers, then “fix” the obesity epidemic by giving handouts to Planet Fitness. Then “fix” that fix by handing out more money to someone else. NEVER admit that perhaps keeping the price of food artificially low might be a bad idea…

        • It might well call into question why bother LICENSING drivers, if the standards are that slack? I’m surprised at times they’re aren’t more collisions, injuries, and fatalities than there are, judging by all the nitwittery and immaturity I see on the part of fellow drivers each and every day.

          It seems that suspension or revocation of licenses seem to come into play ONLY in connection with DUIs. Bad enough that some idiots are on the roads with a higher octane content in their bloodstream than their vehicle’s fuel tank…but some drivers, even cold sober, to put it simply… SUCK!

  12. https://www.postindependent.com/news/speed-limit-in-glenwood-canyon-to-range-from-30-60-mph-depending-on-conditions/

    The technology will increase the standard speed limit during good conditions to 60 mph for passenger vehicles and 50 mph for heavy vehicles (over 26,000 gross vehicle weight), in most areas of the canyon.

    This technology — operated by people and the technology itself — will lower the speed limit to assist with incident management, conditions created by bad weather, and maintenance and construction. Traffic engineer Michael Curtis said that could go as low as 30 mph.

    This promises to be fun. First snowflake and either the CDOT overlords in Golden or the “AI” will drop speed limits down to snail’s pace. How often do you think the AI will determine that conditions are good enough for 60?

    The other problem is it is already a mess because of trucks aren’t allowed in the left lane though the canyon. This creates a real dangerous situation because they all convoy up, and there’s usually a clover who, even if they wanted to, can’t get over to allow faster traffic to pass. So what should be a nice twisty road turns into a frustrating bumper to bumper tailgate.

    Now that I wrote that, I wonder if this is going to be the test to “prove” variable speed limits don’t work? For sure it will probably generate a ton of new revenue when the Enforcers catch people not paying attention to the signs.

    • The Indiana Toll Road (I-90) has electronic signs in various locations for temporary lowered speed limits. Haven’t seen them in operation yet, so I don’t know how low the speed limit will go.

      • All the rural Interstates in Colorado and Utah (and probably Wyoming) have gates at the on-ramps. This is so they can close down the roads in case of “inclement weather” which usually means it snowed on Saturday and the Clovers heading back to the rat colony are going to get stuck. So the effective speed limit is 0.

        • Hi RK,

          The Park Pork (federal pork) does that in my neck, too. They will close the gates to the Parkway if it might snow. Before it actually does snow. One can never be too saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafe!

          • Eric, if that isn’t bad enough, how many times have you rolled up on stopped traffic on the freeway because of an accident only to then discover that the troopers have blocked off the offramps to prevent people from taking an alternate route?

            I rolled up on one about five years ago, and instantly knew the only chance I would have of escaping this all day long nightmare would be to cross the center divide and take the next offramp going the other way. With no thugs in sight I made my move and in less than a minute there were literally a couple dozen people doing the same thing following me. The funny thing was the law showed up just minutes later to stop the mass exodus from the freeway. I drove at least ten miles before I found an onramp beyond the accident.

            One would think that allowing people to take an alternate route would give those few dozen squad cars something to do instead of just guarding offramps, but keeping the sheep corralled is evidently the best case scenario.

            • Yep, and since the road doesn’t have to make a profit, they’ll always close it down and keep it closed until they are darned good and ready to reopen it – just to show us that they are in charge.
              It’s amazing the armada of firetrucks and such they send to even minor wrecks. No entrepreneur with his own wealth at risk would ever waste resources the way these clowns do. And a businessman would always get the road open again ASAP for his paying customers.

    • Variable speed limit signs were installed in St Louis over 10 years ago on I270. The funniest part of the signs is that they are behind-the-learning-curve as compared with real-world drivers who have to make speed decisions on-the-spot. For example, normally the speed limit is 70mph (everyone drives 80) but during a particularly nasty rainstorm, the drivers around me had slowed to about 35…and the signs ‘helpfully’ set 45 as the speed limit.

    • Morning, Brian!

      Spooner (and Leonard Read and Mencken) were formative influences upon my own development as a writer. They all three had great style – as well as great ideas.

  13. Which is exactly why most forms of personal transportation have no mechanical speed governors. They want you to exceed the “legal” limit, regardless of how fast or slow that may be, it is solely for the purpose of highway robbery, umm revenue. In fact, as you mention, they get very irritated with you for doing the limit, and God forbid, less. So, the number on the sign really is a “minimum” in a practical sense, unless you just enjoy being run over by everyone else!

      • Eric,

        I grew up on the Jersey shore, where for a while the car for the mooks to have was an IROC Z. The gag was: it stood for Italian Retard On Cruise.

        I was watching live when Chris Economaki commented that Bill Elliot’s pit crew was banging out a dent on his car with a “Mexican Speedwrench.”

        Point is…I thought I had heard them all…but WTF is an Italian Tuneup?

        😉

        • It’s where you do some wide-open-throttle pulls to near redline, which, allegedly, helps to clear the combustion chambers of carbon deposits. It probably doesn’t do much in the way of cleaning, but it sure is fun!

          • I’ve always done WOT pulls from time to time to clear carbon buildup. Maybe it doesn’t do any good, but, yeah, I agree it’s fun. It can be done in a lower gear to keep from going 20 over, which is the Virginia standard for a reckless driving ticket.

            Decades ago, that wasn’t even a consideration, but these days every jurisdiction is hungry for revenue. I guess it never occurs to them to fire a bunch of the do-nothings on their payrolls and cut costs instead of making everybody pay that extra tax in the form of a ticket.

            • Hi Ed,

              Speaking of Virginia… the armed government workers are all of a sudden very thick in my neck. State and local. Anyone driving through SW Virginia, be on alert. The “reckless driving” thing is bad business.

              • It’s the same here, eric. The two main truck routes near me, 360 and 460 are infested with staties and county mounties lately. I think they are gearing up for their ticketing orgy this coming weekend.

                Labor day weekend on the Virginia highways is a feeding frenzy for the porkies. I try to stay home or close to home on that particular weekend every year.

          • It does more than that.

            I think it was in another forum I read about some guy who finally saved up enough for a used Maserati and he was having constant troubles with it. All sorts of things seemingly unrelated going wrong including electronic issues. Eventually some mechanic at a dealership saw a thread of his plight online and told him to go out and drive it hard. This is how he “fixed” cars with some of the issues this guy was experiencing. So he did that. All the problems went away.

            My educated theory is that cars like other products are tested by beating on them. It’s the only way to get the data fast enough. But if a company has limited resources or because nobody thought of it they never get tested on what happens when they are used gently. So things start going wrong.

          • LOL I sussed that out after reading some other responses, but appreciate the reply as always.

            Italian tuneup – I’m saying that three times and keeping it.

            • My pleasure, AF!

              It works especially well with older, carbureted cars for the obvious reasons. Most run a little rich, especially at cold start and nogoodniks such as myself always jet them up some from the usually lean-ish factory parameters… and so, carbon.

              I’ve also found with big V8s that not running the snot out of them every now and then accelerates crud buildup on the backsides of the valves.

              besides which…:)

              • It’s a procedure I’m a big fan of myself.

                One of my old trucks I had, a 1969 F100 with a 360 block and 4bbl. It also sported a pair of twin “semi style” stacks mounted behind the cab.

                It burned a little oil from around the valve stems, so every so often a water mist down the carb throat and an “Italian Tune-up”, then stomp on it for a number of runs, would result in “coal rolling” before anybody knew what that was, and a smooth running 360.

                Wish I had that truck today…

                • And that’s what I never got about Ford. A friend had one and it ran well….too well, evidently…so Ford had to make a change. You never knew what Ford was going to do for an engine. They produced the POS 428 and then dissed the 429 which was a good engine…..for Ford. Remember the 352? No good memories there.

                  I watched Gone in Sixty SEconds this week. Eleanor had a mighty sweet sound….although it was simply a sound track.

          • My Dad had an interesting way to deal with carbon build-up on the “Family Truckster” of the time (1968 Chevy Bel Air Wagon with a 327 4 bbl)…he’d slowly pour a half quart of Dexron II down the carb throat, I shit you not! That beast would smoke like a sick diesel, then he’d jump in and hit the rural roads then around Friant Road in north Fresno (it’s built up since then), laying enough of a smoke screen to hide the USS Missouri while bombing down the road at 75! After about ten minutes of this, the smoke would dissipate, and then the Chevy would run smooth for another 10K miles without doing anything else.

  14. I’m here in Providence, RI right now, which just created 20mph speed limits near schools, and installed speed cameras. 21mph gets you a ticket, no margin whatsoever. This 1 mph puts a point on your license, dramatically increasing the cost of insurance. 20mph on a 4 lane road is ludicrous, people honk and get frustrated (and all get tickets). Now, the roads are less safe, since people are frustrated and watching their speedometers instead of the road, but revenues are great!

    https://www.wpri.com/news/dan-mcgowan/providence-speed-cameras-brought-in-18m-in-5-months/1249679398

    • How in the world can they figure out 1 mph? My dash cam and downloaded speedometer app both tell me my speedometer is out, but my wife’s car it shows the speedometer is accurate. 1 MPH is ridiculous as not every single car in North America has the exact “to a tee” speedometer and that’s why most cities will have a 10 percent threshold. Somebody in Rhode Island has been bought out under the influence of the Photo Enforcement company with false stats and propaganda.

      • Editing my reply as the article says 11 mph over the limit not 1 mph over the limit. Does OppositeLock have a link to the 1 mph statement?

        • Ohio will ticket anyone from out of state for going 1 mile over. I don’t know this from being pulled over myself, but from numerous truckers informing me of their tickets.

          • Ohio State Highway Patrol is probably staffed with ex-USMC MPs. Those shitheads would not only ticket someone on a Naval or Marine installation for 1 mph ‘over’, but cite all the uniformed passengers as well for failure to remind the driver to observe traffic rules! Methinks this was to punish supervisors more than anything else!

              • Bad enough that today’s militarized “Civilian” police forces (and it rankles a vet to hear THEM call one of the citizens they serve a “Civilian”) are the biggest end around the 1878 Posse Comitatus Law (which the Southern States , recently “readmitted” after “Reconstruction”, saw to it was passed to prevent the military from being used for domestic law enforcement, as you being a resident of the former US Army First Military District, 1865-1870) could attest.

                It seems that today’s LE agencies are staffed with ex-Army and ex-Marines that, like the frustrated Marines from “Jarhead”, didn’t get enough “Trigger Time” in Kuwait City, Fallujah, or Kandahar…so they’ve been unleashed on US. Gee, part of being a ‘civilian’ again is yer supposed to be peacefully “Behind the Plow”…not that I’ll ever get rich…

                • Yes, Douglas, it’s disheartening that so many people believe that veterans make great cops because of the skills they acquired in the military. I’m not a big fan of Rush Limbaugh, but he does get one thing right: the purpose of the military is to kill people and break things. It’s baffling to me that folks want trained killers with an everybody’s-the-enemy mindset prowling the streets.

      • BMan3,

        All new cars have deliberately programmed the ECM to read roughly 3 MPH below actual speed.

        Check it out with an accurate radar sometime.

        • A Friend of mine received a ticket in the mail for 1Km (0,6 MPH) over the Limit in France. Anyone planning a vacation in Europe should stay out of that shithole Country at all costs. It’s nothing but one big speed trap.

          • In France they prosecuted people who alerted others of speed cameras via FB. They were not convicted but it shows that the one thing government protects above all are the revenues of its rackets. If it was safety then why should it matter if people slowed down because they saw it FB or not?

        • The speedometer on my Cherokee is surprisingly accurate, checked against GPS and those radars to get you to drive slower. But it is still on the factory tires too.

          My Audi A3 read 4 MPH high on the factory wheels because (according to the folks over in the TDI Forums) Germans like to upsize their wheels, so my stock 17″s could have been upsized to 18 or 19″s and the speed would have read accurately.

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