[speak]

Thurman Speaks About Driving 65

Borrowing from Neil Young's classic Man Needs a Maid... "a while ago somewhere I don't know when..." I wrote about driving 55 on city freeways and how I wished other drivers would respect my right to drive the posted speed limit. [see ThurmSpeaks::About Driving 55] These days, some city freeways have speed limits of 65 miles per hour and I've noticed some problems that required me to write this note.

I commute to and from school using the 101 expressway. Some sections of the 101 have recently (Feb 2001) had the speed limit increased to 65 miles per hour. In order not to be a liability to those sharing the road with me, I get in the right-most lane and drive 65 [I don't like it, but I do it]. Again, drivers needing to get somewhere fast , can get in the middle and left-most lanes and drive as fast as they want.

A minor problem are drivers who still drive 55 in the right-most lane -- they force you to move into the faster moving middle lane in order to maintain a speed of 65. Moving into the middle lane forces you to speed up to a minimum of 75. If you don't, then the chances of getting run over are high. It is not safe to stay in the right-most lane behind somebody driving 55 because you have cars behind you wanting to go 65 [i.e. you get subjected to tail-gating].

A major problem is that the freeway must have been built to help cement trucks get to North Scottsdale from South Scottsdale. On 15 February 2001, I passed four cement trucks on my way to school (a stretch of about nine miles). These cement trucks can go fast, but it takes them a while to build momentum; thus, you have slow moving monsters entering a high-speed raceway. I don't know about you, but most of us drive vehicles that don't stand a chance of survival if they collide with a cement truck. One time I had to go 80 miles per hour in order to get past a cement truck, which implies it must have been doing at least 70 miles per hour. Staying behind a cement truck is not an option because the damn things spit rocks at your car.

The last problem with the 101 is the way the on/off ramps are setup -- they are connected. The on-ramps share real-estate with the off-ramps. Result: You have exiting traffic going 65 or faster merging into a lane that contains slower moving traffic trying to enter the freeway. It sucks.

I'll drive 65 when the posted speed limit is 65, but I'm not happy about it.

Bumper Sticker for Tailgaters
If you're not a hemorrhoid, then get off my ass.

Author: G.D.Thurman [gthurman@gmail.com]
Created: 16 Feb 2001