When is speeding acceptable?
There seems to be the debate again about the speed you must travel while driving along city streets and freeways. I was asked recently when it’s ok to speed. That can be a tough question to answer. For the most part, you really need to keep to the posted speed limit. Posted speeds are there to help protect the general public from the dangers of fast moving vehicles.
When there are pedestrians nearby, fast moving traffic can reach them too quickly and it’s tough for the pedestrians to judge how fast they’re moving if they’re trying to cross the street. This is especially true for pedestrians who are not drivers. Speeding past pedestrians is not safe, especially if young kids are also nearby. It’s tougher for the drivers to respond to the pedestrians if they suddenly step onto the road; say chasing a ball for example. Speeding in residential areas just doesn’t work at any time because of the many risks in these packed areas. That’s why the speeds are lower in park areas and school zones. You’ll need to respect the speed limit in those areas.
Speeding can also create havoc for drivers entering the same road as those who speed. Some drivers have difficulty judging the speed of other vehicles and can pull out into traffic when they shouldn’t. It can cause a sudden change of action for the speeder, which may mean they’ll have to suddenly swerve out of the way. Sudden changes can create loss of control; which may mean injury and death. Speeding in areas that have other road users isn’t safe. It’s not always speed that causes death; it’s often change of speed. You’re driving so much faster than other drivers, you add high risk for them as well as yourself.
So, when can speeding be acceptable? I’ve spoken to many people who tend to speed toward red lights and stopped traffic. That doesn’t make any sense what so ever. Why would you want to hurry up so you can stop? And with higher gas prices, you’re wasting precious fuel and money with harsh pressure on the accelerator. Easing off the gas and seeing if you can time it so the light changes to green before you reach the intersection helps you save fuel and money. The engine works less if the vehicle is in motion when you press the accelerator. Speeding to reach the red light also means harsh braking is often used to stop in time. Harsh braking will mean brake wear, which is a complete waste of money as well, so that doesn’t work either.
So, when can speeding be acceptable? Here’s the scene; you’re driving along in the curb lane doing the speed limit. There’s a parked vehicle two blocks ahead of you. You decide a lane change is necessary but you realize the lane next to you is traveling faster than your lane. In order to keep the flow of traffic moving along without causing the driver behind to tailgate you, you speed up to match the flow. Technically, this would be speeding but in many jurisdictions it’s perceived to be necessary to keep drivers safe on the roads.
Moving over while traveling at a slower rate of speed compared to the other vehicles creates frustrated drivers who would tailgate you to punish you; which create risks to all drivers and passengers involved. For these reasons, you’ll need to speed up to protect you, your passengers, your vehicle and those around you. The thing to remember is once you’ve passed the problem in your lane, change back to the driving lane and resume doing the speed limit. If you don’t have a solid reason for exceeding the speed limit, why bother? Be patient; you’ll get there.