How fast can you go?

After some speculation, I guess it’s going to happen.

Higher speed limits coming to 400-series highways

As I write this, I’m relaxing from a drive home along the 401. As I read this article, I’m thinking of the experience from today.

Now, I’m not the guy in the left lane driving 90 km/h with my seat belt stuck in the door bouncing off the roadway. I’m also not the guy buzzing along at least at 150 km/h weaving in and out of traffic to get ahead either. I tend to get into the flow with what I considerable a reasonable speed and put the cruise control on.

Until you get into the construction zones where the speed limit drops to a crawling 80 km/h. Then, it’s a real mix of people doing close to the reduced speed and those who continue along at 150 km/h.

Then it started to rain and we decided to get off the 401 at Highway 74 and drive along the lake on Highway 3, enjoying a slower pace and a little scenery.

Now, I do remember the days of higher speed limits. I do recall the rationale for dropping the limits for safety and to conserve energy. So now, we’re on the rebound – at least for this pilot project.

In education, we all live with pilot projects. There are typically rules and standards by which these projects are measured. I like the message that there will be language to get slower drivers over to the middle or the right. It’s that fast left lane that I wonder about. After today, I can vouch for the fact that there’s no question that 100 km/h is only a suggestion to all of the drivers who are over there.

Will raising the speed limit encourage those drivers to go ever faster? If today’s driver currently does 115 km/h while not getting stopped for speeding, will they be able to cruise along at 125 km/h without a problem? Will there be radar checks to see what the average speeds actually are under the new system? Will the test be the number of accidents experienced? As a fan of Heavy Rescue 401, I know how bad the 402 is from Highway 79 to Sarnia. Will that be a test?

I also suspect like many of the initiatives we’re seeing announced that the final decision about raising the speed limits has probably been made.

Do you have any thoughts about this? How would you conduct a “pilot project” dealing with raising the speed limit?

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7 thoughts on “How fast can you go?

  1. Doug, I know that this is just another reason for me to never drive on the highway. 🙂 That said, I like the slower speeds of Highway 5, and drive that one with ease. Maybe this new rule isn’t for a driver like me. 🙂 I do hope though that it doesn’t encourage even faster speeding speeds, as then I see even more potential for accidents. I would hate for increased accident numbers to be the gauge of if this is successful. Curious what others think.

    Aviva

  2. I agree with your sentiments, Aviva. I know what Pilot Projects mean and, in education, how they are evaluated. I’m not seeing the parallel here. How does a speed increase pilot get evaluated? Is there an acceptable increase in accidents for the sake of going faster?

  3. I hate this idea! People are in such a hurry all the time. It feels like an idea that someone came up with when he was 17 and has continued to love. It makes the highways more dangerous for us all. It’s not anywhere near the same as when many US states went from 55 mph to 65 or 70mph. That has happened in places like the prairies- long stretches of straight road where a driver can go for an hour without passing many other drivers. That’s where higher speeds make sense.

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