We drove home from Lindsborg yesterday. As a general rule, I drive 4-7 miles per hour above the speed limit when I'm driving on the highway. I know I'm not alone; just about everyone I know does the same thing. Thing is, I am a rule-loving, law-abiding citizen. So, why do I drive 4-7 miles per hour above the speed limit on the highway?
Well, I have through unfortunate experience learned that if you get much faster than that, you're risking a ticket. Rarely will a patrolman think it's worth the trouble to stop you when you're toeing the line within a few mph.
Also, I don't know and therefore don't understand how the powers-that-be determined what the speed limit should be. When I was a kid, you couldn't drive over 55 anywhere in the country. Then out of nowhere, someone decided 65 was just fine, thank you very much. And then 70s and 75s starting popping up. If you drive cross-country, you see that one state sets their max at one point, another state will set it somewhere else. Who do you believe about what is really safe?
Some speed limits seem just arbitrary and silly to me, too. Why in the world do I need to slow down from 70 to 55 on an empty four-lane highway in the middle of Nebraska just because we're passing a town a quarter of a mile away? Conversely, driving 55 on the bumper-to-bumper New Jersey Turnpike when everyone else is zooming past at 75 or 80 is downright dangerous.
So, what it boils down to is this: I drive the speed I do on highways because I think I know better than the highway experts -- and because I'm more concerned with not getting a ticket than with obeying the law.
I'm not sure that's a very flattering picture I just painted of myself.