Fast Driving

Have you noticed fast driving on highways near you? I haven’t, but I’m not on highways much, and certainly not at rush hour. An opinion piece on the editorial page of the Baltimore Sun today documents this at one local construction area. Maryland sets up speed cameras at highway construction areas to alert drivers of different traffic patterns. The speed limit in this case is still 55 mph, but fines are increased and they really do mean 55. From March through June this year, 6929 drivers were going over 67 mph. Last year during the same time period, only 2768 citations were issued. Remember that there are people working those construction areas, yet there’s more speeding than ever. Going 70 in this area without construction is pushing safety limits, no matter what the speed limit is. IMO, we should slow down in these construction areas to protect ourselves, other drivers, and road workers. It will literally cost you a few seconds to slow down. Do whatever you want otherwise, just slow down in construction areas.

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The chance that people who need to see this is really low . And this is a problem every where .


About 10 years ago, there were a couple of horrible accidents in NJ, in which road construction workers were killed by reckless drivers. In the aftermath, NJ state law now requires a police car at every road construction site. It is… amazing… how much less speeding there is in construction zones when there is a marked police vehicle, with its lights flashing.


When I was a teenager I had a 68ish Dodge Charger 383
Was sporty and fairly quick and I was definitely stupid. I’d drive like an idiot on my way home. Probably 15 miles. One time I drove “normal” and timed the difference between “normal” and stupid. It was such a small difference it changed my driving habits forever unless I was being stupid on purpose, which was still too much.

Ever since stay-at-home orders went in, the highways have been emptier, and those who are on them have been treating them like the Indy 500. I was doing 65 the other day and a guy cruised by me like I was standing still. The fun part is that more and more people are going back to the office, so the highways are getting more crowded again, but people aren’t slowing down.

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Could have something to do with construction areas being marked, but have zero people actually working in them. I’ve driven through countless construction areas where the speed limit is 45 or 55 MPH (with the normal speed limit being 55-70 MPH) and there isn’t a soul there. The orange barrels are there and there might be construction equipment parked 50+ yards away from the road, but there’s nobody there…in the middle of the day. And it will be like that for days on end. Perhaps some people feel that if there’s no actual work being done, then there’s no reason to reduce speed.


The lower speed law in some state is… “If workers are present”

That said, I am somewhat conflicted by this. Certainly for many construction zones limits should be lowered, but not ALL as happens in many places. With a 70 mph speed limit, doing a short drop to 55 will a) be mostly ignored and b) can cause more accidents because folks aren’t paying enough attention. Soem construction deserves it, some does not.

How many of us have watched a person in a lane well marked in advance that is about to be closed, darn near run through the barrels or cones because they don’t watch more than 50 ft ahead?


How many of us have watched a person in a lane well marked in advance that is about to be closed, darn near run through the barrels or cones because they don’t watch more than 50 ft ahead?

I don’t remember for sure I believe it was Arkansas when you saw the lane closed if you didn’dt move over as soon as possible instead of waiting untill the last minute you would get a ticket,


Some years ago I saw a woman killed because a semi running at full speed in a reduced speed construction zone rammed into the back of a car in the left lane which was marked to move over.

Had it happened seconds earlier it would have been me as I had been immediately behind the woman’s car. I had moved over a lane to the right far in advance of traffic getting jammed ahead and was leaving room for her to slip in ahead of me. Instead, she got sandwiched into a semi in front of her and with the speeding semi from behind literally running up over the top of her car leaving a mangled mess barely one third the size it had been.

That was the last day I drove my daily commute on the local interstate loop. From then on I drove surface streets to and from work. And shortly after I replaced my aged compact econobox for a mid-sized car.


That’s actually the wrong way to do it. Where does it end? A mile ahead of the lane closure? More traffic gets through when they enforce the ‘zipper’, where all lanes are used until the merge is needed, then folks take turns.

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I agree with this when traffic is moving slowly, but when it moves well, pulling over should happen whenever it’s practical to do so. You probably meant that, but others might not read it and recognize the difference.

When the traffic pattern is altered, like lanes jogged, narrowed lanes, or missing shoulders, it’s more difficult to recover from errors. Also, when other drivers obey the speed signs, that makes it even more difficult.

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When was driving Thruway Tandems on the NY Thruway, my rig consisted of A conventional cab R model Mack with two 45" trailers and a tandem axle dolly. 34 wheels and 117’ in length.
I was in the right lane and there were clear signs that the left lane was closed ahead.

A young man in a Yellow Corvette who had been behind me,decided he wanted to pass me rather than follow me through the construction zone. The only trouble was, as he roared around me my tractor was already entering the single lane and there was construction equipment parked in the closed left lane.

He had no choice but to swerve left and his car went into a broadslide down into a grassy median where the back end of it hit a road roller. He kept his speed up and went around a group of trees and up on the road running over the cones ahead of me and the construction equipment. None of the car was behind his head except the gas tank and rear wheels. His whole rear clip including his license plate was laying next to the road roller.

I went to Lowes a couple days in a row and then I had to go to Home Depot. I took the wife along and it was the first time she had been out of town just about since March. At any rate I did not notice any fast cars at all but what surprised me were the number of cars. Quite a few going both north and south. Several Iowa cars. Not sure why they would want to come to Minnesota now but there they were.

Lots of increase in fast driving around here. Due to virus risk the state police and county sheriffs are not longer patrolling the roads. People have figured this out and now have no problem going through town with speed limits of 25 and 45 mph at 50-70 mph. We’ve been lucky that no deaths or accidents yet.

So the only reason people drive safely is because of the police?

Certainly not everyone requires police presence to drive safely. In this part of the world (New England) and pre-pandemic, we had quite a bit of patrols and radar traps which routinely catch people speeding. With the risks of infection the police forces are patrolling roads at a much lower frequency and have stopped doing any speed checks. It did not take long for people to take advantage of this. As I live next to a road I can see and hear vehicles passing. I may not be a human radar gun but I get a pretty good feeling what 35-40 mph looks like and what 50 and up looks like. Add in the observed increase of aggressive drivers, tail gating, illegal passing etc and its pretty clear that things have shifted towards the lawless side. Thankfully not 100% and plenty of people still driving intelligently but definitely an observable increase in the later.

The saying: “When the cat is away the mice will play” doesn’t come from no where.

Years ago I was driving myself and my father down to Virginia to visit his father in the hospital. as we approached the intersection with I81 in PA from whatever interstate we were on…there was a large backup of traffic due to some road construction. The left lane was bumper to bumper and the right lane was empty. So I slowed down but stayed in the right lane. As I passed one truck a young woman leaned out the window and yelled at us…something to the effect of “Y’all are retarded.” we drove about 4 miles in the empty right lane, went by a police cruiser parked on the side of the lane and no issue with us doing a zipper merge. at the 4 mile mark we zippered into traffic, quickly passed through the obstruction and were on our way. So while I was labeled retarded I will gladly accept my badge for following proper protocols and for not sitting in a line of cars needlessly for an hour.

Up near Harrisburg? They are so used to continuous construction zones up there that they aren’t a generally accurate representation of the state as a whole. In general, most of us in PA drive 5-10 above the listed speed limit on the highways, and in my area there usually isn’t a problem with zipper merging because we have many areas that go from 2 lanes to 1 lane so we have to do it on a daily basis anyway

Well not to argue but the other saying we discussed in law class is that laws need to be agreed to by the majority of people, so if people are speeding, maybe the limits are not appropriate. Like the 25 mph limits in Wisconsin and the old interstate limits of 55. People rebel according to their own common sense.

This is a state highway through a town with a school zone. Speed limit before and after town center are 45mph but slows down to 35 and then 25 for school zone. This is dense area of houses and people entering/exiting the roadway. Poor sight lines, hills, houses, fire station etc…generally not the area where 50 mph or more is a good idea.