How many times have you been driving along and wondered – what if the speed limit was higher?
Like most drivers we also drive to get from A to B in a reasonable time. Walking, riding a bike or public transport are all probably better for the environment and us but do take longer making it less practical in most situations.
So firstly we should look at maybe why they aren’t lifting speed limits – after all they have been the same for many years!
It is pretty obvious that we still have a lot of CRASHES! People crash into each other, into obstacles and often completely by themselves.
Common crash causes include lack of attention, to fast for the conditions, not allowing for others and did we mention lack of attention?
Drivers are not provided with high speed driver training in any shape way or form also. So this is obviously going to be an issue.
Not all vehicles are safe at higher speeds. Some should not be on the road at all!
Another issue is the roads with many in poor condition and poorly designed with blind bends, crests and hazards close to the edge of the road.
When comparing our Australian roads to a race track or high speed highway overseas it is obvious to see why ‘limits’ need to be imposed.
Does this mean we can’t go faster ever?
We think there is some scope for adjustment of speed limits in the future. We would support an adjustment at both ends of the speed spectrum.
LOWER SPEED LIMITS – In high density areas like school zones, residential areas and citys. Maybe 25-40km/h maximum.
HIGHER SPEED LIMITS – Roads that are multiple lane (ideally 3 lanes) with gentle bends, no intersections and proper on and off ramps. In these areas an increase to 120 to 130 or even more may be suitable.
The 3 lanes are essential to manage the speed difference between different road users and as a result would mean only some roads could have higher limits.
Variable speed signs could be used to effectively manage traffic flow also.
Our biggest challenge however would be the actual drivers themselves.
Most of the Australian population got a drivers licence by driving around the block, finding a parking spot and managing the use of indicators. The driving standard in Australia in our opinion is poor and it is the system letting us down.
Drivers are not expected to drive at higher speeds, demonstrate any competency of managing the vehicle in an emergency and are not tested in a variety of conditions (night, gravel roads etc.).
Cars have improved in leaps and bounds, getting safer and faster and even easier to drive however the driving ‘test’ is still unchanged.
So while we think there is scope to increase the speed limit, we think that there is a long way to go and an overall solution starting with better training and licence testing would be the first step.
Some tips to help you get from A to B quicker include –
Planning your trip to avoid road works, weather effected roads or traffic.
Minimising rest stops so that you are stationary for less time.
Doing the speed limit (so many drivers sit 5-15km/h under the limit). Using cruise control can help.
Keep left, stay focused and drive to the conditions.
This will get you from A to B safely and as efficiently as possible.