to speed or not to speed

I used to have a 35 mile commute and when went I went 80mph instead of 65mph (the speed limit) it felt like the trip was a lot faster. It usually took around 35-45 minutes, and of course I didn’t want to get a ticket, but I didn’t want to spend any more time on the freeway than I had to.

I no longer have that commute, but a I wrote a commute time calculator to see exactly how much time one would save by speeding. I learned that on a 35 mile commute, an average speed of 65mph and 80mph makes a difference of about six minutes. Some would say it’s worth it, but getting a ticket will take 5-10 minutes, and then you have to pay the fine, and possibly higher car insurance premiums.

I decided that for me, 6 minutes wasn’t worth it.

My commute is now only 10 miles and that makes even less of a difference. If I could even manage to average 100mph it would take 6 minutes to get to work. Travelling at the speed limit of 65mph it would take 9 minutes.

Again, 3 minutes is not worth it. Especially since I would have to drive like a maniac to maintain an average speed of 100mph.


 (Post a comment) | Comments RSS feed
  1. But you’re forgetting the fact that you will never get pulled over going a little bit over 65. In fact, from my extensive experience, you don’t get pulled over in Utah (and many other states) in a 65 zone until you’re >= 80. I keep it around 79 and I’ve never been caught (below 80 in a 65 that is).

    Comment by Cameron on August 3, 2004 @ 8:35 am
  2. It wasn’t on the highway, but I received a ticket for going 10 over. I will usually go 5 over just to stay with traffic, but I don’t see a significant benefit by going 79.

    Comment by dan on August 3, 2004 @ 8:39 am
  3. The benefit is you get there faster. Given that I’m fairly confident I won’t get pulled over, I can get places quicker.

    Comment by Cameron on August 3, 2004 @ 8:50 am
  4. Think about the other people: Its more dangerous to drive with 80 miles than 65.

    Comment by thomas on August 3, 2004 @ 8:59 am
  5. Not always, and even if you can, it’s only a few minutes quicker. Those few minutes are often consumed by one or two a red lights, or a slow car in the left lane, or any number of other factors.

    Comment by dan on August 3, 2004 @ 8:59 am
  6. Of course there is that whole “breaking the law” (regardless of whether or not it’s enforced) thing to consider. I’d hope that would play a factor in your decisions, boys. :D

    Comment by Renee on August 3, 2004 @ 9:00 am
  7. Renee: That’s true but I already know that doesn’t matter to Cameron. He’s a renegade (Hah, I kid).

    Comment by dan on August 3, 2004 @ 9:02 am
  8. Traffic safety is more a function of difference of speed than speed itself. If the speed limit is 65 and the majority of traffic is going 70, it is actually safer to go 70. Traffic laws may or may not have anything to do with safety; it depends on where you are and the particular laws.

    I’ve noticed that during commute time, the majority of traffic is travelling significantly above the speed limit here. Outside of commute time but close to cities, people generally drive pretty close to the limit.

    Renee, I support the Law and my Community by paying tickets whenever I’m caught speeding by an officer. How else would they pay their bills? ;) Actually, most of the time I try to stay within 5 of the limit, but that doesn’t always happen.

    Comment by Levi on August 3, 2004 @ 9:35 am
  9. Levi: You have no control of other cars, and even though the traffic around you may be travelling at the same speed, there could be a traffic jam over the next hill. The faster you’re travelling the more time it’s going to take for you to stop.

    In other words, travelling faster reduces the time you’ll have to react.

    Comment by dan on August 3, 2004 @ 9:44 am
  10. I speed constantly. My average speed is probably around 75-80. I don’t speed for the joy of going fast, though – I speed because being in the car is usually boring and I just want to get where I’m going. Even if it doesn’t make an actual difference, it feels like it does.

    Comment by Meredith on August 3, 2004 @ 10:53 am
  11. Sometimes I think that people get themselves killed trying to save a few minutes. I say relax a little bit, try to enjoy the morning drive a little more. Turn up the radio or listen to a book on tape (if that’s your thing)! Life isn’t just about getting to a destination on time. You have to enjoy the journey.

    Comment by danithew on August 3, 2004 @ 11:38 am
  12. Research has shown that regardless of the speed limit, around 85% of the drivers will choose a safe and reasonable speed for the road conditions. If this is significantly above the statutory limit, then a driver who obeys the speed limit (a small minority by the definition of this case) is significantly less safe due to the large number of overtakings that will happen.

    Now, if everyone is travelling 75mph, they may be slightly less safe than if they were all travelling at 65mph. I won’t argue with that. But that has nothing to do with what I said before, which is a case where a large majority are speeding. Speed differential with traffic is FAR more dangerous than a higher speed with traffic.

    Regardless of that, going more than 5mph over the limit can get you an expensive ticket, and I’d rather be a bit less safe than pay even more money to the insurance company. Bah.

    Comment by Levi on August 3, 2004 @ 3:14 pm
  13. It is all about the time it takes to stop. However, if you have a really nice car with fantastic ability to break, should you be allowed to go a bit faster? :)

    Comment by david on August 3, 2004 @ 4:36 pm
  14. I found your blog today and I really enjoy it. I have featured it over on my site as the Blog of the Day.

    On the subject of speeding, I also think that even if it doesnt get me there much faster, I still feel like I am doing something to help myself get there a little sooner. Plus, when I was close to being late to work this summer, 3 minutes made a big difference.

    Comment by Jenna on August 3, 2004 @ 9:01 pm
  15. Sure it may take 10 minutes to get the ticket, but considering all the days you save the six minutes, ten minutes is nothing. In a 52-week year, we can say that a person would commute around 260 days. Let say that person gets 15 days off. Six minutes for 245 days comes to 1470 minutes 24.5 hours, or over an entire day.

    Now if you received a ticket every other day, that’d be a different story.

    Comment by Kim Siever on August 5, 2004 @ 8:55 pm
  16. Oh, and for the record, I commute with my bike. ;)

    Comment by Kim Siever on August 5, 2004 @ 8:56 pm

Comments are closed