Speed limits and all other driving restrictions are determined with consideration to all inherrent driving conditions and currently cell phone use is above weather and drunk drivers on the list of issues. And limits must be set considering the least capable of drivers not the most capable.
Yes, that is also my impression, but I still have a hard time understanding why several roads in my town–which go past nothing but farms, and which have clear lines of sight for a minimum of 3/4 of a mile–have speed limits of 30 mph.
I think that’s the wrong question. The question should be “what level of carnage is acceptable on our highways?”
You can set the speed limit on interstates to 30, and people will still die if they drive without seatbelts, drunk, and on the wrong side of the road.
Despite what state patrols would have us believe, speed alone does not kill, else every race car driver and pilot would be dead, because they go a heckuvalot faster than we drive even if we’re far over the speed limit.
Running into things is what kills, and the goal should be to minimize running into things. My stance is that better driver training and harsher penalties for driver negligence is the way to solve that.
Instead of targeting the demonized-thing-of-the-week, whether it’s the speed limit or cell phones, we should target driver ability and behavior.
I’d much rather an 80mph speed limit with well-trained drivers who knew how to handle their car no matter what, than 55mph with a bunch of dopes who barely passed driver’s ed, and have no idea what to do when they hit that patch of black ice and go into a skid.
In my state, Minnesota, a driving instructor got in trouble some years ago because he spent too much time teaching people how to drive and not enough time sitting in a classroom. This guy was fantastic. He’d even take his students out to the go-kart track, toss oil on one corner, and teach his kids how to recover from a skid. He got himself a car with locking casters in place of the rear wheels, and would get them out in a parking lot doing turns, and suddenly unlock the casters and make them get out of skids.
They didn’t pass until they could do such things in their sleep, and I guarantee his former students are much safer drivers today as a result. But the state cracked down on him because he taught people how to drive a car instead of teaching people how to drive a desk.
This is the same state that every year comes out in a big media blitz and tells us that speed kills, while ignoring the fact that bad driving is what kills people.
It’s also the same state that will observe you driving like an idiot, and then pull you over and give you a drunk-test on the side of the road, and if you pass it they will write you a BS ticket, if that, and then let you go, when what they should be doing is targeting driving like an idiot instead of “drunk/distracted” driving.
At the end of the day, when you T-bone my car and kill my wife, I don’t give a hoot if you’re drunk, distracted, or just stupid. You shouldn’t have been on the road. We shouldn’t only take people off the road if they test positive for mind-altering substances. Sometimes… Often, really, people do not need substances in order to make them mentally incapable of driving well - they’re mentally incapable of driving well all by themselves, and should be taken off the road right alongside the drunks.
How serious would you propose a driving test be @shadowfax? And what driving infractions should result in loss of driving privileges? And of course the roads cannot be reserved for 35 year old SCCA Trans-Am drivers.
I’m thinking some of us regulars would fail shadowfax’s driving test
One thing…with computing power dropping in cost, I think driver’s training ought to include some simulator time, so you can actually practice stuff like high-speed blowouts, loss of control at speed, etc. Plus some time on a skidpad learning what oversteer/understeer is.
Put 'em in a rear-caster car, put 'em on a closed course, and randomly unlock the casters. You either control the skid or you fail.
That’s just one example of the kind of thing people should be required to demonstrate knowing before they’re given a license. I want to see them demonstrate the ability to handle real world situations.
Here’s another - Put 'em in a car, have 'em drive over a slippery patch (either snow or oil on a rubber surface if it’s not winter), and yell out “PANIC STOP.” If they hit the cone at the end of the slippery patch, they fail. This will ensure that they know to maintain steerability at all times - I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve seen people slide right into the stopped car in front of them, brakes locked, wheel cranked all the way over, but the car doesn’t steer anywhere because the brakes are locked. Easily avoidable wreck right there, if only people knew how to do it.
Infractions that lose driving privileges? Obviously if you’re mentally impaired it’s automatic. If you drive like you’re mentally impaired it should be automatic. Why does the idiot who’s weaving in and out of traffic and almost sideswiping people get to keep his license just because he isn’t drunk? That’s dumb. Same behavior, same penalty, no matter what the cause. Being stupid should not be a get-out-of-trouble-free card.
Agree Back in 1996 when my daughter was 15 in order to get her learners permit it was required to pass a school adminesterd drug class.part of the class was on a dui simtulator that could be set for dirrerent levels of intoxation. It can’t be to hard to set uo with you’r idea.
I think everyone should have a go kart as a kid. You really learn a lot. Also everyone should spend some time driving on a frozen lake. You can get all the skid pad experience you want-just watch out for the fish houses.
Anyone remember the old Atlantic Mills stores? They had one in Bloomington and when I’d go there with my mom, I would always visit the arcade where they had a driving simulator. Great fun. I think I was ten or 11. Also had a great section with models. My problem was I didn’t have enough quarters and one day the plate was open on the change machine with a bazillion quarters just sitting there in the open. Did I take any? Nope. Went and told the management and they didn’t even give me a free pass on the driving simulator. Nice store though.
Incidentally, for all the folks that think there should be a law . . . Hate to burst the bubble but laws are not made rationally. You are just as likely to get a bad law as a good law. Like my business law prof said, “there has never been a law that someone somewhere didn’t want”. Be careful what you ask for when it goes into the legislative meat grinder. Anything can happen.
I’m old and grew up in a rural area and have a great deal of experience driving all manner of vehicles in all manner of conditions accumulated in well over 1 million miles. And for whatever it is worth I will again state my case for graduated motor vehicle licenses that would be mounted to be easily seen from the rear. Young drivers and old drivers need closer attention than most as do drivers who have multiple violations in their recent path or even one DUI. A license could unfold to 5x7" and an adult over 21 with no violations could get a green bordered license while a teenager or 70+ year old’s could be blue and the DUI/wreckless driver’s license could be Bay Bridge orange. Those with less than green licenses could be restricted from certain roads at certain times and even have a lower speed limit. Some states have restricted licenses for those convicted of DUI that limit them to driving to and from work and those drivers’ licenses should be unmistakable to law enforcement and other drivers.
Even the best of us make mistakes but I have seen some incidents that I would have reported if I had the opportunity to do so and felt certain that law enforcement would do something. Wandering over a lane marker repeatedly for a mile or so could be the result of changing stations on the radio but then it could indicate a serious problem. If I saw that a driver had a green license and settled into a lane with no problem after wandering a few times I would likely dismiss it but if the license indicated a DUI history I would likely pull onto a muddy shoulder to report it. But again, I’m old and I’m anonymous here so take it or leave it… No where to go and all day to get there.
It’s nice to have race car driver car handling skills, but, those skills without discretion only means that drivers will lose control of their cars at higher speeds than previously possible.
You don’t have to have top notch car handling skills to be a safe driver, you mostly need to know what you can’t do.
It’s like a good deer hunter who is only an average marksman. He never misses or wounds a deer because he won’t even pull back the hammer unless he knows he can make the shot.
I agree with @B.L.E. on this
Race car skills should’t be a requirement to get a driver’s license
If you don’t talk on the phone, don’t eat, don’t apply makeup, no texting, don’t fiddle with the radio and ac controls all the time, drive at a sensible speed, use your turn signals, act courteous, etc. chances are you’ll be just fine overall
That was a long list, and incomplete, but I think a lot of people forget the basics when they get behind the wheel, and it leads to some bad situations
Not so much race car skills, but you need to know how to respond cool and in control in an emergency, which is hard to do if you’ve never simulated one.
People without training panic in an emergency. People with training…revert to training. Plenty of people wreck and die after a tire blowout, which is NOT necessarily fatal, because they PANIC and slam on the brakes! If they had training, they’d revert to training: 1) diagnose the problem 2) Step on accelerator 3) Verify directional control 4) gradually bring to a stop, while retaining directional control.
There’s a reason why airline pilots spend as much time practicing emergency procedures as normal procedures: not only will you be more skilled in an emergency, “knowing what to do” will greatly reduce the tendency to panic.
When I was getting my private pilot’s license, I lost count of how many times my CFI abruptly grabbed the throttle, brought it to idle, and said, “Okay, now where are we going to land?”
Suffice to say, after dozens of engine out approaches to an open field, if I ever did have an engine quit in midair…at the very least, I’m not going to panic! Why can’t we train for emergencies in driver training?
Manual chokes would make drivers drive more carefully.
If only those that WE considered worthy of driving with US had licenses and paid all the taxes for our roads WE might be driving on gravel roads.
Shadowfax referred to: “a bunch of dopes who barely passed driver’s ed”. I did not pass driver’s education. I did not fail driver’s education. It did not exist when I was in high school. I did complete a 16 hour Smith commercial driving school course 10 years later and a U.S. Army Europe 16 hour driving course 10 years after that.
A small town 30 miles to the south is predominently populated by people over 50 with many well over 70 and it is a joke that the Buicks and Oldsmobiles in the left lane coming from the south and driving toward the mall north of town are driven by blue haired ladies who got in the left lane as soon as possible in anticipation of turning left into Wal-Mart. And while that’s a funny tale it’s often true. When you see 4 grey haired ladies in a like new Roadmaster with the left blinker on half a mile from Wal-Mart and the drivers white knuckles at 10:00 and 2:00 you know that there is panic in the driver’s mind as she wonders how she will ever get moved over to make her turn. It’s a shame that most drivers don’t see any need to give the drivers a little extra space and wave them safely into a glidepath to all the bargains.
My manual transmission keeps me more focused. I suppose anything requiring more involvement with driving would help
That does not even make sense. The choke is to start the engine, is not needed to drive a warmed up car.