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Capot
25th Oct 2008, 01:28
Driving home this evening, at the end of another week, another 1500 UK M-way miles, I tried an experiment, along the M5 going South toward the Holy Land of Devon. The traffic was fairly heavy but not congested except round Bristol as always. Friday night, not many HGVs, in fact hardly any.

I set the cruise control at 70mph on the GPS, and tootled along peacefully in the inside lane, savouring the new experience. With me in that lane were a few others also driving at that sort of speed, although most had to pass me sooner or later.

But in the middle and outside lanes were hundreds of reckless fools, some on their own, but others with helpless passengers! Can you imagine? They hurtled past me at speeds in excess of 75 mph, even more in some cases.

Ha, I said to myself, they'll regret it, and we'll soon pass the smoking wrecks that they must inevitably become shortly. After all, they are all exceeding the speed limit, and we know how insanely dangerous that is.

Now here's the funny thing. I didn't go past one single accident, even a minor shunt. Either they were cleared away quicker than the day it usually takes, or they didn't actually crash!

How could that be?

Could it be that going faster on a motorway than was deemed safe nearly 50 years ago, when cars had drum brakes, many without servo assistance, and direct steering, and took a lot of stopping in a straight line, is perfectly safe, and that it isn't speed that causes crashes but some thing else like sheer stupidity at any speed?

No, of course not. How dare you question the "experts" who decide these things. Shut up and pay the fine, you risk-taking fiend. And keep out of the way of the blind, incompetent, sleepy or drunk who can kill at 10 mph, because we are after you, not them, at least until they actually do kill someone, when we'll give them a thorough caution.

BlueDiamond
25th Oct 2008, 01:40
... the "experts" who decide these things.
Are you able to tell me who does set the speed limits where you are, Capot? Over here the limits are set by local government (shire councils/town councils) and are usually determined by the number of entrances/exits there are on any particular road. For example, a street in a residential area would have a very low speed limit (50k) because of the numerous driveways etc. but the freeways have a higher speed limit because of their fewer entrances and exits.

The limits are then enforced by state government legislation and policed by the ... err, police.

Who sets the limits where you are?

Capot
25th Oct 2008, 01:53
Blue Diamond

I'm sure someone who really knows will rise up to tell us...all I know is that shortly after the first UK M-way came into being an arbitrary speed limit of 70mph was inposed on all UK motorways, to the annoyance of those who had invested in XK-150s to get around in.

And that has stuck ever since. It's like the Word of God; challenging it is to open oneself up to accusations of all sorts of evils, from being a dangerous idiot to being unaware of what it's like to drive on a motorway.

The fact that cars now are probably 20X as safe as those of 1960 or so, with as a minimum ABS, power steering and servo braking, and that the annual roadworthiness test has eliminated the majority of unroadworthy cars, means absolutely nothing to those who defend the speed limit of 70mph.

The official guidance about how long it takes to stop a car from a given speed has not altered either, I think, since it was first calculated half a century ago. But I could easily be wrong there; I'm guessing about that.

As to who fixed that limit, I haven't a clue. Some Civil Servant? Nodded through into law by complaisant politicians?

G-CPTN
25th Oct 2008, 02:34
all I know is that shortly after the first UK M-way came into being an arbitrary speed limit of 70mph was inposed on all UK motorways, to the annoyance of those who had invested in XK-150s to get around in.Not strictly true - there was a significant period when roads in Britain (and not just motorways) were unlimited. There were infamous occasions (such as when AC tested the le Mans Cobra at 186 mph IIRC).
We used M1 for high-speed runs (I regularly drove at 130 mph) and 'mixed it' with the Aston Martin guys doing settling-down runs of every production car.
There were a few horrendous pile-ups in fog and then there was the 'fuel crisis'.
I'll return with more information . . .

Introduced 40 years ago on 22 December 1965, as a panic measure following a series of pile-ups in fog, the 70 mph limit has never been shown to have reduced accidents.
The 70 mph National Speed Limit was introduced as a temporary measure in December 1965. It is often blamed on Barbara Castle, but at the time the Minister of Transport was Tom Fraser.
The reason given was a spate of serious accidents in foggy conditions, but it is often claimed that the MoT had been alarmed by AC Cars testing their latest Cobra on the M1 at speeds up to 180 mph.
It was confirmed as a permanent limit in 1967, by which time Barbara Castle (a non-driver) had become Minister of Transport.There was surprisingly little debate at the time: the fact that the average family car of the time could only just exceed 70 mph perhaps had something to do with this.
It should be noted that this limit applied to all previously "derestricted" roads, not only motorways.

sisemen
25th Oct 2008, 02:57
Bluey. Local government only has limited authority for certain minor roads within its bailiwick - and even then they can be overridden by Main Roads (witness the blanket introduction of the 50kph limit in suburban areas which the majority of local governments did not want). All the rest are determined by Main Roads. The process by which Main Roads determine the speed limit is somewhat clouded in mystery and personal prejudice. Ostensibly the parameters are sight lines, crossovers, schools, etc etc etc.

However, in my dealings with Main Roads on that very subject they freely admit that they are often swayed by "huggy fluffs" (don't yer just luv that expression - thanks Drapes) writing in to reduce the limit on certain stretches of road simply because they think it will be safer - Main Roads may or may not visit that location to check it out. Additionally, they also admit that reduced speed limits can stay extant for years and years even though the original reason for the limit has gone simply because it's too much trouble (and expense) to change the signs and review the limit.

They also come up with complete stupidity like the "temporary" restrictions (to Feb 09) recently imposed on the Toodyay road. They're actually waiting to see how many complaints they get and, if the complaints don't meet the magic number, then the reduced limit will be imposed permanently :confused:

Speed in itself does not kill.

Capot
25th Oct 2008, 03:09
The reason given was a spate of serious accidents in foggy conditions,

I wonder if the fact that serious accidents in fog have continued, and that the 70mph limit is totally irrelevant to those accidents, has yet penetrated into the official blockhead.

People who drive into stopped or slow traffic don't do that because they are driving above a certain speed, they do it because they can't see where they are going. They are as dangerous at 20mph in fog as they would be on a clearer road at 85mph, especially if they are driving a 40 Tonne artic.

Speed might be a factor, and it might increase the damage. But it is NOT the root cause, and focussing on speed as a root cause is lazy and unproductive, and simply leads to more accidents. EG the M6 a few days ago.

Rollingthunder
25th Oct 2008, 03:43
The fact that cars now are probably 20X as safe as those of 1960 or so, with as a minimum ABS, power steering and servo braking, and that the annual roadworthiness test has eliminated the majority of unroadworthy cars, means absolutely nothing to those who defend the speed limit of 70mph.

However a lot of drivers seem to be 20X stupider.

Loose rivets
25th Oct 2008, 05:16
Erm, isn't the National Speed limit 60 mph, which then had an extension to 70 for motorways and shortly after dual carriageways were included?

Excuse the bad English...I've just opened another bottle of el-plonko.

BlueDiamond
25th Oct 2008, 06:39
Thanks, sisemen. :ok:

... cars now are probably 20X as safe as those of 1960 or so ...
Pity the driving ability hasn't developed at the same rate.

Howard Hughes
25th Oct 2008, 10:21
Capot while cars have improved over the last 50 years, the human brain has failed to evolve at the same rate and as a general rule can not handle momentary deceleration from speeds of greater than 70-0, no matter how many airbags you have in the car! Similarly local traffic speeds are generally set at 35 mph, as this is about the maximum speed that you can hit a pedestrian without killing them!:eek:

While I agree that cars are vastly improved from their predecessors in both handling and safety, most people are ill equipped to travel at the speeds they do! People not only have poor skills, but also demonstrate a poor attitude, you only have to look at the car threads we have had in JB...:rolleyes:

While you and others may travel many hours at high speeds, it only takes one momentary lapse for it all to end, speed fatigue, alcohol, mobile phones, GPS's, also pose additional risks, I see the results everyday in my work.:sad:

corsair
25th Oct 2008, 11:54
Speed limits are for the most part arbitrary. All to often the speed limit for a whole stretch of road is set low because somewhere along that road there is a good reason for it.

People, who should know better carry on about the dangers of exceeding the speed limit. Yet at a stroke of a pen they can be increased or decreased by our glorious leaders.

Here in Ireland we of course carry it off to a farcical degree. When we changed from MPH speed limits to KPH. The motorway speed limit went up to 120kph which is 74.5 mph. So yesterday we were criminals, today saints. We kept the British standard national speed limit of 60 mph for years. It got silly though as the speed limit on a narrow twisting boreen with grass down the middle was 60mph. But when you reached the modern dual carriageway with 3 lanes in each direction, the speed limit dropped to a laughable 40mph. This was changed, now the boreen is a mere 80kph (50mph) while the carriageway is up to 80kph.

Better yet, a new motorway was built between Dublin and Galway. The speed limit was a puzzling 100kph, the same as the old road. When I ventured up the now empty old main road. The speed limit had been reduced to 80kph. Now you can be fined for travelling at a speed on an empty side road, that was once considered perfectly safe when it was a busy main road.

Logic? They say 'speed kills'. Obviously only certain speeds kill.

PLovett
25th Oct 2008, 12:08
(such as when AC tested the le Mans Cobra at 186 mph IIRC)

Nothing wrong with that I say. Reminds me of an occasion in the early 1960s' in Tasmania when Jack Brabham had to drive his Brabham Climax open wheel race car from Launceston to Longford where he was to compete in the traditional March long weekend race meeting. :ok:

They had been working on the car and didn't have the time to load it on the truck for the journey so the police obliged with an escort. Not sure what speeds they did but then Tasmania had an open speed limit in those days.:}

MadsDad
25th Oct 2008, 12:15
After the original introduction of the 70 limit (because of the crashes) the national limits were changed during the fuel crisis in 1974, to 50 (single carriageway roads), 60 (dual carriageways) and left at 70 for motorways, to promote fuel economy.

Sometime after the crisis the limits were changed to 60 for single carriageway and 70 for dual carriageways and motorways.

It is also quite alarming how many (particularly older) drivers still think the dual carriageway limit is still 60.

west lakes
25th Oct 2008, 12:24
It is also quite alarming how many (particularly older) drivers still think the dual carriageway limit is still 60.

Or that the single carriageway limit is 50.

Not forgetting all the wonderful limits imposed on commercial vehicles
Absolute max 56mph, single carriageway roads 40mph

Even white vans are limited to 50 on single carriageways, 60 on dual.

Howard Hughes
25th Oct 2008, 12:36
I find it funny how people cannot contemplate doing 'less' than the speed limit, only how much faster they can go! They then feel some sort of resentment to the authorities when they get caught!:rolleyes:

I'll say it again a little more clearly this time!

If you hit a stationary object at 70 mph or more, your brain mashes up against the inside of your skull and the resultant swelling does irreparable damage! Speed itself doesn't kill, but stopping suddenly does!

Speed limits are not 'arbitrary', they are based on some science/calculations. The NT in Australia up until fairly recently had an unlimited speed limit, this has been reduced to 130 kmh and the number of deaths has dropped dramatically.

sisemen
25th Oct 2008, 13:01
The NT in Australia up until fairly recently had an unlimited speed limit, this has been reduced to 130 kmh and the number of deaths has dropped dramatically.

Er.....you wouldn't like to check that would you Howard? Last time I heard the number of deaths had rocketed since the introduction of speed limits (could be wrong though).

link - Keep NT Limit Free > Home (http://www.keepntlimitfree.org/)




The imposition of the 130kmh speed limit after one and a half years has not helped reduce the road toll. Tragically it is 43 compared to 26 at the same time last year,and was 57 in 2007 the highest this decade compared to 44 in 2006 before limits were introduced.


Fatigue, not speed, is the leading cause of car crashes proven by Mercedes Benz and backed by The American National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

We need to urgently target the root causes of the road toll, being fatigue, alcohol, not wearing seatbelts and overloading of vehicles. The Labor Government needs to repeal its speed limit legislation immediately and develop better driver education policies if the road toll is to be significantly reduced.

PLovett
25th Oct 2008, 13:09
sisemen

The majority of deaths in the NT come from overloaded "troopies" in questionable condition being driven on dirt roads by people who don't wear seat belts. The results are predictable and fatal.:ugh:

sisemen
25th Oct 2008, 13:11
Whatever. The fact remains that the death toll is higher since the introduction of reduced speed limits. Quo erat demonstrandum

Flap 5
25th Oct 2008, 15:00
Interesting. The Australian experience seems to prove the point that speed itself is not the culprit. Inappropriate speed for the road conditions, vehicle type and the condition of it's tyres, etc. is.

The highway code also has stopping distances which are more representative of a Ford Anglia. Top Gear showed that the stopping distance of a Porsche 911 was half that quoted in the highway code.

Unfortunately the improvement of cars over the years and the mentality of 'I am within the speed limit and therefore I am driving safely' has led to complacency among many drivers. The less skilled regularly get caught out by poor road conditons, poor car control, etc..

I remember a story where someone was driving a Porsche turbo. They set off accelerating normally ... and then the turbo cut in. The sudden onset of power caused them to lose control and they were off the road into a minor accident. Well dur! :rolleyes: Know your car!

In the UK Swindon council is removing speed cameras because they have found them to be ineffective. They say that their statistics show that speed alone is a very minor contributor to accidents. Inappropriate speed, loss of control, distractions and other causes are much more prevelant. Swindon council have wised up. I wonder when other councils will? But then they do bring in lots of money don't they?

The Flying Pram
25th Oct 2008, 15:21
All the speed limits and cameras in the world won't help when there are people like this (http://www.eveningnews24.co.uk/content/news/story.aspx?brand=ENOnline&category=News&tBrand=ENOnline&tCategory=news&itemid=NOED24%20Oct%202008%2015%3A58%3A14%3A230) still driving.

Capot
25th Oct 2008, 17:14
Howard
If you hit a stationary object at 70 mph or more, your brain mashes up against the inside of your skull and the resultant swelling does irreparable damage! Speed itself doesn't kill, but stopping suddenly does!

Speed limits are not 'arbitrary', they are based on some science/calculations.I know you mean well, but that's utter bollux. If you hit a stationary object at any speed from 20mph upwards you are more than likely to do yourself all sorts of injury, perhaps fatal, especially if you do it with your head. Try riding a bike into a brick wall at 20 mph, and keeping your head down and in front as you do it, if you don't believe me.

It's a statement of the bleedin obvious that "speed doesn't kill, but stopping suddenly does". As all ppruners know, you can fly at Mach 2 towards the ground in perfect safety. It's only when you get there that the trouble starts.

The point is whether the speed, by itself, caused the sudden stop, and what you are unintentionally admitting is that it doesn't. It might increase the damage, which is true of any given speed compared to a lower one, but that's all. There's no magic speed below which you don't die, and above which you do.

As for the speed limits being based "on scientific calculations"; no Sir, they are not. They are inherited from history, from a time when people plucked a likely-sounding figure from thin air because there was no research data around from which to calculate a rational speed limit in various circumstances.

The 30mph limit was decided in the 1920's, wasn't it? Not much later, if not. Ever seen a car from that era trying to stop quickly?

And do try not to mix the word "scientific" in the same post as "at 70 mph or more....your brain mashes up......".

Howard Hughes
26th Oct 2008, 00:37
Mr Capot,

I would argue that a lot more people survive single car accidents at 20 mph than at 70 mph, to the point that the majority survive at 20 mph and the majority do not survive at 70 mph! While speed limits may have initially been 'arbitrary figures', over time they have been refined and much research (Scientific) has been done in this area to evaluate the forces involved in a single car accident. You may see a 5 mph/kph change here or there as nothing, but it makes a huge difference and more lives are saved.
The point is whether the speed, by itself, caused the sudden stop, and what you are unintentionally admitting is that it doesn't.
I would freely admit that speed in itself does not cause the sudden stop, but more often than not it is a factor and the faster you are travelling when a sudden stop occurs, the greater the risk of death!

Flap 5 said that 'inappropriate speed' is a more probable factor and I agree wholeheartedly, where this breaks down is that the majority are unable to determine what is 'appropriate' hence the need for 'speed limits'. All to often I see people in wet westher exceeding the speed limit, is this wise? Do you think that exceeding the speed limit in the wet is safe?

Would you agree that Sweden has led the World in crash testing for many years, may I ask you what are the speed limits in Sweden?

I suspect you started this thread a little tongue in cheek, or perhaps to justify your own 'need for speed', but there is a serious side. It might happen to you and it might not, I sincerely hope that it does not! I have seen the end result on all too many occasions, it ain't a pretty sight.

RatherBeFlying
26th Oct 2008, 01:36
I would argue that a lot more people survive single car accidents at 20 mph than at 70 mph, to the point that the majority survive at 20 mph and the majority do not survive at 70 mph!It is rare for accidents to have an impact at the speed limit. In the usual accident, the driver sees something wrong and goes to maximum braking. The impact speed ends up being much less than the previous driving speed.

I have had one rural accident where I was passing a car pulled over on the right shoulder at 80 mph when that car made an unsignalled left turn. The impact speed was about 15 mph.

I have had front row seats to two motorway accidents where people were driving at 60-75 mph. The impact speeds again were in the range of 20-30 mph.

The nastiest accidents are where vehicles cross a median into oncoming traffic. There the speeds are higher. That is why the authorities have been making median barriers stronger (hopefully heavy truck proof) over the decades.

Oh yes, on the highways I have been driving at 80 mph or more for five decades and have had one minor highway accident. Note the other driver was found at fault and my insurance company waived the deductable.

Yes, I've had a number of close calls, but over the years I have developed a nose for drivers about to do something stupid in front of me and have so far managed to refuse the offers they have made me on the highway.

Howard Hughes
26th Oct 2008, 02:30
From an Australian perspective, this is taken from the Minister for Transport's website: (http://www.minister.infrastructure.gov.au/aa/releases/2008/august/aa112_2008.htm)
In 2007, road crashes killed 1,616 motorists, truck drivers, passengers, cyclists and pedestrians 18 more than in 2006. Among these crashes:

-47 per cent involved single vehicles only; (my bolding)
-14 per cent involved pedestrians;
-16 per cent involved motorcycles; and
-10 per cent involved articulated trucks.


Also from the Ministers website:
What's more, fatality rates are far from uniform across the jurisdictions:

ACT 4.1 deaths per 100,000 people;
Victoria 6.4 deaths per 100,000 people;
NSW 6.5 deaths per 100,000 people;
SA 7.8 deaths per 100,000 people;
Queensland 8.6 deaths per 100,000 people;
Tasmania 9.5 deaths per 100,000 people;
WA 11.2 deaths per 100,000 people;
NT 26.1 deaths per 100,000 people. (again my bolding)

Scumbag O'Riley
26th Oct 2008, 08:53
not sure what that is supposed to indicate Howard. If you look at the raw data (follow several links from the web page you cited) the authorities don't make any conclusions.

What does stand out for me when looking at the raw data is the massive increase in deaths in the under 26 age group on Friday nights, early Saturday morning, Saturday night, and early Sunday morning. The conclusion I draw from that is that people kill themselves more after a night out on the piss.

Capot
26th Oct 2008, 12:09
Mr Hughes

At the risk of prolonging this dialogue of the deaf well beyond its interesting phase,

I would argue that a lot more people survive single car accidents at 20 mph than at 70 mph, to the point that the majority survive at 20 mph and the majority do not survive at 70 mph!You don't even have to argue that. It's another statement of the bleedin obvious.

The point that I and others are trying to get across is that speed is not the root cause of most accidents.

The point of the first post on this thread is that on UK motorways at least, the normal speed of most traffic is in the region of 80 - 85 mph, and that this does NOT result, per se, in thousands of accidents every day caused by driving over 70 mph.

If crash surviveability is the reason for speed limits, as you appear to think (supported by Government campaigns about the 30 mph limit) then a limit decided in 1965 (or whatever it was) as safe for cars of that era is ridiculous in 2008. For example, if you sideswiped a new Cortina in '65 at, say, 50 mph, you would probably kill everyone in it. If you side-swipe a new Mondeo at 50 mph today, with the strong structure, airbags, belts etc that 99% of cars on the road now have, everyone inside would have a few bruises and probably nothing else wrong; maybe a broken arm or leg.

There are accidents, sure, but they occur at any speed for different reasons. The worst one in many years was the other day when (reading between the lines of press reports) a truck ploughed into the back of a stationary car, in very reduced visibility, and pushed it under another truck, presumably also stationary. The truck that caused all this was probably well under any speed limit. Speed had nothing to do with the accident, except that if the truck had been going even slower the damage might have been less. But that lower speed cannot be enforced by a limit; he was going too fast for the conditions, to put it mildly. Or do you want a 15mph speed limit for HGV's, regardless?

The ony conclusion that can be drawn from your "argument" is that all traffic should remain stationary. The risk of damage, injury and death increases in a straight line with speed from 1 mph upwards, ergo, to remove risk, don't move.

sisemen
26th Oct 2008, 14:58
So, Howard H, I take it that in your last post you are now taking a contradictory line to your previous post where you asserted that the deaths in the NT had gone down.

Be careful which fence you sit on - you might get a pointy paling up yer bum :E

Flap 5
26th Oct 2008, 17:39
That's better than a Sarah Palin. Ooh! I don't know though ... :E

Howard Hughes
26th Oct 2008, 23:12
No not sitting on the fence Mr Siseman, I am willing to eat humble pie regarding road deaths in the NT! :O However over time, once the vagaries of data collection (ie: the highs and lows) have been accounted for, I am certain there will be a downward trend!

Now... I posted two very simple statistics from a credible source, not one with a sole agenda! If you look at the first one you will notice that the majority of deaths occur from single vehicle accidents Australia wide. If you look at the second set you will notice that the NT is over represented on a per capita basis. Now again which State in Oz has the highest speed limit? Or am I drawing a long bow?

If crash surviveability is the reason for speed limits, as you appear to think (supported by Government campaigns about the 30 mph limit) then a limit decided in 1965 (or whatever it was) as safe for cars of that era is ridiculous in 2008. For example, if you sideswiped a new Cortina in '65 at, say, 50 mph, you would probably kill everyone in it. If you side-swipe a new Mondeo at 50 mph today, with the strong structure, airbags, belts etc that 99% of cars on the road now have, everyone inside would have a few bruises and probably nothing else wrong; maybe a broken arm or leg.

I am not talking about side swiping another car! I am also not talking about accidents with other vehicles (as evidenced by the statistics I previously posted)! I am talking about a single car collision with an immovable object! :bored:

Watch this (http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=CJHpUO-S0i8) video, yes cars are inherently safer, and the safety zone of the car is very much intact, but no amount of air bags, seat belts, or crumple zones will let your body survive that kind of impact!

This is my point! Let's not keep disappearing on tangent's!

If you drive at high speed (in excess of the mandated limit) and for some reason you leave the road, you will die! If you travel at the speed limit, or god forbid slightly slower, you have increased your chances of survival immensely!

Speed is not the cause for many accidents (there I said it!) It is however the MAJOR factor in the survivability of the ensuing collision!

Cheers, HH.:ok:

ZEEBEE
27th Oct 2008, 01:06
Howard Hughes
If you look at the second set you will notice that the NT is over represented on a per capita basis. Now again which State in Oz has the highest speed limit? Or am I drawing a long bow?

I would suggest that you are indeed.

A simple analysis of the accidents in NT reveal that the statistics are seriously over-represented with alcahol or other intoxicants as a factor. I believe the latest little kick here in Oz is butane gas.
Further, the indiginous population is not adverse to driving around in vehicles in deplorable condition which are unsafe at any speed. (Not that they're the only ones)
In fact the ABC aired a program some time ago about how many of these were "repaired" and made much of how "ingenious" these guys were to "fix" their brakes and suspension with fencing wire.

When you see a utility "fixed" like that, with six people unrestrained in the back, it's a wonder there aren't more deaths really.
I re-itterate, UNSAFE at ANY speed.

Nigd3
27th Oct 2008, 12:32
Not sure I see the point of this thread to be honest, however here goes.
Although I agree that it is driving without taking into consideration the conditions that is more likely to cause an accident, than speed alone, a point to control what is reasonable must be established.

How would you like the limit to be set? Based on a car's crash safety record? A person's tested aptitude for driving at high speed? A person's age? Nuimber of years driving without an accident?

The above are too subjective and qualitative to account for all scenario's.

Driving on the unrestricted Autobahns in Germany is quite eductaional, in that most people on them allow for the greater speeds that cars are approaching, however when it goes wrong, the outcome is usually pretty horrific/fatal.

sisemen
27th Oct 2008, 15:31
How's about the 85 percentile of the speed which vehicles actually do? This is the modelling which road authorities world wide engineer their roads by. They have some pretty sophisticated measuring equipment which determines this percentile.

...and then some other fecker steps in and imposes a lower limit because of some political stance or other. The police and road safety councils then start bleating that "speed kills".

No it doesn't sunshine - cos the roads are designed to cope with much higher speeds than those usually imposed. And that is why increases of speed limits (albeit rare) are no more dangerous the day after the limit has changed than the day before.

Nigd3
27th Oct 2008, 16:15
Siseman

I seriously hope you dont mean that someone would be legally allowed to drive at 170mph (85% of 200mph), if they had enough money to buy a supercar?

This thread is beginning to smell of complacency and arrogance, in terms of the "it will never happen to me" and "I'm a good driver, it's the other drivers who are idiots" type of thinking.

You want to drive at those sort of high speeds, go on a track.

AndoniP
27th Oct 2008, 16:27
Pity the driving ability hasn't developed at the same rate.

since when did you need more ability to drive a more advanced car?

there is a higher percentage of fast cars around than there were in the 60s. you don't need much brains to drive them, just the same common sense. more powerful cars have become more widely available.

insurance costs or restrictions are an attempt to dissuade youngsters from driving these cars, however you still get idiots that drive fast.

if you're going to drive fast, just be careful where you do it and don't get caught.

Nigd3
27th Oct 2008, 16:46
AndoniP

So if you have enough money to pay for the supercar, its ok, as you are insured.

Ability in terms of recognising distances and anticipating faster closure rates of cars in front, then yes more ability. Ability in controlling a car at higher speeds, then yes I think there is an amount of experience needed (learned ability).

I think you should change the phrase to "if you are going to drive fast, then accept the consequences if things go wrong"

I think we will just have to agree to disagree on this one.

Glad I dont drive in the UK any more, if these are generally representative opinions.

419
27th Oct 2008, 18:35
since when did you need more ability to drive a more advanced car?

Surely using this logic, anyone of us could jump in a Ferrari or McLaren F1 car and we would be able to have a fair chance of keeping up with (or even beating) Hamilton or Massa.

Flap 5
27th Oct 2008, 19:07
Well 419 Richard Hammond (Top Gear) tried it in a Renault F1 car after saying 'how hard can it be?'.

It's not quite the same as a modern road car. They are designed to be as easy to drive as possible.

F1 cars are designed to be fast only. Driving them is very difficult.

FlightTester
27th Oct 2008, 21:29
If you hit a stationary object at 70 mph or more, your brain mashes up against the inside of your skull and the resultant swelling does irreparable damage! Speed itself doesn't kill, but stopping suddenly does!

Speed limits are not 'arbitrary', they are based on some science/calculations.

So, given that there are always three impacts in a crash - you hitting the object or the object hitting you. Then you hitting the inside of your car, then all your internal organs hitting various bits of the skeleton. And, assuming that you go from 70 to a dead stop, and given that your argument is that doing that is what kills you, then it doesn't matter if you're going faster or are there varying degrees of dead?

I spent ten years living in Germany and drove an awful lot of autobahn miles (kilometers actually) at typical autobahn speeds. I really didn't see that many accidents - and I certainly saw a lot more on UK motorways. The difference - driver training and attitude, I almost hate to say it but the Germans are so much better at driving than your average Brit!

419
27th Oct 2008, 22:14
the Germans are so much better at driving than your average Brit!

Surely if they were better drivers there would be less chance of being killed on a German road than on a road in the UK.


ABD - Safest Roads in Europe (http://www.abd.org.uk/safest_roads.htm)

Road Fatalities per Million Population source data - Swivel (http://www.swivel.com/data_sets/spreadsheet/1004936)

Estimating global road fatalities - Regional Analyses - Highly Motorised Countries (http://www.factbook.net/EGRF_Regional_analyses_HMCs.htm)

Road deaths: France becomes just another EU country — EUbusiness.com - business, legal and economic news and information from the European Union (http://www.eubusiness.com/Transport/060103170350.5fohjs63)

Lost man standing
27th Oct 2008, 23:10
419

Useful statistics. You do realise, of course, that Sweden, with the lowest motorway use by a good margin still has significantly higher motorway fatalaties than the UK, despite having a slightly lower speed limit and stricter enforcement (according to a scandahooligan friend)? Almst four times as many cars, but fewer accidents, despite a higher mean speed!

Also note that the country with the highest death rate doesn't have the highest speed limit.Looks like speed and traffic density are not closely correlated with death rates.

Nigd3

You misunderstand. Siseman said 85th percentile of what cars actually do, not what they are capable of doing. In any discussion precision of language is essential.

Arranging drivers by the speeds they tend to drive in various circumstances, the drivers least likely to be involved in a serious accident are at the 85th percentile (i.e. faster than approximately 85 percent). On the UK motorways this is approximately 85 mph in dry conditions when traffic levels permit. So the drivers who are statistically the safest are breaking the law.

419
27th Oct 2008, 23:21
I've always liked the argument that if you are on the motorway and you have an accident at 70mph, the chances are you will end up dead.

However if you drive twice as fast at 140mph you will only be on the motorway for half the time, but if you then have an accident you can't be twice as dead, so it makes sense to drive faster!!

Lost man standing
28th Oct 2008, 00:40
Hahaha, do you realise what a good point you made? I did read an article on research that suggested that chances of an accident were more closely correlated with time on the road than with speed. Hence you should drive as quickly as you can (my car does 140 mph - don't think I'll try that one!).

OK, so it is probably just an artifact of the 85th percentile thing, but hey, it makes the more extremist "speed kills" freaks splutter for at least 5 minutes.

sisemen
28th Oct 2008, 02:35
Thanks LMS - time differentials prevented me from replying in a more timely manneer.

nigd3 - here's an explanation (from Wikpedia)

85th percentile rule
Traffic engineers may rely on the 85th percentile rule to establish speed limits. The speed limit should be set to the speed that separates the bottom 85% of vehicle speeds from the top 15%. The 85th percentile is slightly greater than a speed that is one standard deviation (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Standard_deviation) above the mean of a normal distribution (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Normal_distribution).

The theory is that traffic laws that reflect the behavior of the majority of motorists may have better compliance than laws that arbitrarily criminalize the majority of motorists and encourage violations. The latter kinds of laws lack public support and often fail to bring about desirable changes in driving behavior. An example is United States's old 55 mph (90 km/h) speed limit (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Maximum_Speed_Law) that was removed in part because of notoriously low compliance (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Maximum_Speed_Law#Opposition_and_noncompliance).

Most U.S. jurisdictions report using the 85th percentile speed as the basis for their speed limits, so the 85th-percentile speed and speed limits should be closely matched. However, a review of available speed studies demonstrates that the posted speed limit is almost always set well below the 85th-percentile speed by as much as 8 to 12 mph (13 to 19 km/h). Some reasons for this include:

Political or bureaucratic resistance to higher limits.
Statutes that restrict jurisdictions from posting higher limits.My emphasis in red. And a further explanation:

Most motorists evaluate the existing road conditions, and adjust their travel speeds accordingly. If a speed limit is set at the 85th percentile of free-flowing traffic under favorable conditions, all relevant factors are accounted for in the motorists' speeds. Past research shows motorists adjust their speeds based on lane width, access points, etc. ("Free-flowing" traffic means traffic is light enough that only normal key factors are reflected in motorists' choices, not bad weather conditions, or congestion, or rush hour.) Just as we presume most citizens are reasonable and prudent when voting, most citizen-motorists should be presumed reasonable and prudent when driving.

There is no "objective" mathematical formula for adjusting the speed limit based on other factors. So it becomes a simple policy choice: do we base speed limits on

consensus opinion of citizen-motorists, or
opinion of a minority? Allow the minority to set policy for the majority, and you simply get corruption and abuse (http://www.dma.org/~ganotedp/speedtrp.htm) under the banner of safety.

So, to all the "speed kills" doomsayers out there hopefully it has now been demonstrated that driving slightly above the posted speed limit will not automatically result in death and destruction and that drivers are, in fact, driving at a safe speed for the road.

If you are nicked for speeding while remaining within the 85th percentile you are, in fact, being prosecuted for an entirely false reason other than the fact that someone has arbitrarily said what the highest speed should be. :ugh:

Howard Hughes
28th Oct 2008, 03:53
Most motorists evaluate the existing road conditions, and adjust their travel speeds accordingly.
I see no evidence of this on my daily 130 km round trip to work.

Dry = speed limit +10%
Wet = speed limit +10%
Fog = speed limit +10% :eek:

The only adjusting I see are people slowing down for speed cameras! Farck me you can do the limit through the speed camera you know!:rolleyes: Going through speed cameras is the only place I seem to pass people!;)

ehwatezedoing
28th Oct 2008, 05:11
(link provided by 419)

ABD - Safest Roads in Europe (http://www.abd.org.uk/safest_roads.htm)

Well, of course Uk's motorways are safer!
Can't kill yourself when you are always stuck in a traffic jam ;)

Nigd3
28th Oct 2008, 07:04
ooops
Ok I stand corrected, on the 85th percentile explanation.
For the statisticians out there, why is it the 85th percentile used as the value? Is this also not an arbitary value?

Cap'n Arrr
28th Oct 2008, 09:31
...so if I'm on the F3 to Sydney, and I hit the wall at 90kmh (god knows why the speed limit is that low on such a road, but it is), I'm still more than likely to end up dead, or seriously injured. The fact that a car could be doing 95 doesnt change from survivable to dramatic death in a horrific fashion. I try my best to stick to the speed limit. My problem is with the way the government has pushed the "speed kills" line so hard, that people actually think it is safer to drive slower!:ugh:

If you hit something at a slower speed, then yes, there is less energy in the accident and thus more chance of surviving. However, if you do 60kmh on a 100kmh road, then sorry, you're a f:mad:ing moron. You're creating a 40kmh difference between you and every other car on the road. If everyone is slowing to 60 due to weather/roadworks etc then it makes sense to match that speed. But the safest speed is to be at the same speed as everyone else, and adjust that speed to take conditions into account.

If I remember correctly, the F3 is a better road than most sections of the autobahn, however the autobahn has one of the lower accident rates going. Granted, an accident at 200kmh will not be pretty, but I'm fairly sure there is a lower rate of these accidents. I mean no offence by this at all HH, it's just my view, but saying "if you crash at a slower speed you have a better chance of living" doesn't sit that well with me. If that was the deciding factor, then lets have a maximum speed of 30kmh all across Australia, down the highways, everywhere. Or, even better, make the speed limit 0, and everyone just walks. Then there won't be ANY accidents!

yakker
28th Oct 2008, 10:30
The problem with road safety is it always gets bogged down in 'speed kills'.
Ofcourse this is not true, as HH has alluded to its stopping that kills. However if we take the current thinking that 'speed kills' should we not reduce the speed limits year on year, until we have no deaths on our roads. This may mean that our speed limit is a blanket 10mph, but it will achieve the Government target.
Then again we could accept that when you mix pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists, vans, cars, buses and HGV's on the same piece of tarmac there is bound to be accidents. It would be impossible to seperate all these, so we need to minimise accidents, while maintaining movement of people and goods at a sensible speed.
Locally a new road was built, on a hill and curving to the right all the way up. It was built as three lanes, when I first used it I suggested to my wife it was a road just waiting for the first death. Low and behold, we had a few deaths, the road now has some solid white lines allowing only overtaking uphill. And surely this is the point, spend money and make the roads safer where we can, and intoducing a roundabout at every crossroad is not what I mean.
The other route is to improve driving standards, because lets face it, all the rules of the road are set around the lowest common denominator, so improve standards and accidents will drop.

Curious Pax
28th Oct 2008, 11:51
You'll never have a sensible speed limit discussion until people realise that speed limits aren't a slur on their own driving ability, but an attempt at protecting them from the 10-20% of drivers that shouldn't be driving a pedal car let alone the real thing.

Mini fan
28th Oct 2008, 12:54
I am not talking about side swiping another car! I am also not talking about accidents with other vehicles (as evidenced by the statistics I previously posted)! I am talking about a single car collision with an immovable object! http://static.pprune.org/images/smilies/wbored.gif

Watch this (http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=CJHpUO-S0i8) video, yes cars are inherently safer, and the safety zone of the car is very much intact, but no amount of air bags, seat belts, or crumple zones will let your body survive that kind of impact!

This is my point! Let's not keep disappearing on tangent's!

If you drive at high speed (in excess of the mandated limit) and for some reason you leave the road, you will die! If you travel at the speed limit, or god forbid slightly slower, you have increased your chances of survival immensely!

Speed is not the cause for many accidents (there I said it!) It is however the MAJOR factor in the survivability of the ensuing collision!

So what you're saying is it has been "scientifically" proven that 70mph is the fastest anyone can hit something and not die?

Have they taken into account every possible scenario in which you could hit something at 70mph? I imagine there would be scenarios I wouldn't like to hit anything at 70mph.

What a ridiculous suggestion.

If that was the case then I'd like to see said research, and I'd also like to be given the choice if it's all about accidents with inanimate objects. Speed limits have always been the original, "It's for your own good!" law, I look forward to limits on walking speeds in the future.

Lost man standing
29th Oct 2008, 14:35
Almost invariably in an accident the vehicles involved slow down before impact. The speed limit is therefore rarely relevant to survivability. What is relevant is the speed reached during deceleration before impact in a typical accident.

OK so the limits were set in the mid 60s. Most cars had drum brakes, and thin wheels.

I have owned cars with steel wheels, rather poor chasis/suspension (anyone else ever own an Escort?) and rear drum brakes, although the front brakes were disks.

I remember driving my first car with all-round disk brakes. It also had better suspension and wide alloy wheels. It felt incredibly well-planted under braking, and stopped very quickly if required. Of course with ABS the driver still has some steering control even while braking heavily, a novelty.

Now I have a car with outsized ventilated front discs with ceramic pads, sports suspension and again decent, wide alloys with modern tyres. The ABS now has separate channels for each wheel, to give the best braking possible in the conditions.

The car I drive, designed to be capable of reaching 140 mph and stop within a reasonable distance, and be controllable at that range of speeds, is limited by a speed plucked out of the air by a politician (due to a problem that this does not even address, crashes in fog when drivers should be travelling well below the speed limit) at a time when this was supercar territory and even they di d not have many of the advantages I do.

Why can I not drive at 85 mph legally on a good motorway? Most cars do it anyway, yet as stated our roads are the safest in Europe, despite the speed differential this gives with cars sticking rigidly to the limit, in the wrong lane.

To anticipate the only argument I can see against my "progress in technology", to say that some cars are not as good as mine is not an argument that I should be limited to 70 mph. I am not advocating a minimum speed of 85 mph (maybe 60 mph). Cars not safe at this speed should be driven more slowly. To tell people driving 20-year-old bangers this by a universal limit, and by enforcement with cameras is infantalising drivers. This probably causes more accidents than a higher limit would, because drivers abdicate their responsibility for safe speed to the random choice of speed limit, and blindly follow it regardless of conditions.

G-CPTN
30th Oct 2008, 02:54
http://img.metro.co.uk/i/pix/2008/10b/FerrariREX_450x300.jpgWe've all had the odd prang in our time, but it'll take more than a quick spraypaint job to fix this little beauty.
If the owner of this 100,000 Ferrari 360 Modena is smarting at the loss of his pride and joy, at least he and his passenger walked out of the wreckage with only minor injuries.
Witnesses in Adelaide, Australia, said the driver had 'turned the streets into a racetrack' before the vehicle span out of control and ploughed into a telegraph pole.
The crash nearly split the car in two but the men inside, both in their 30s, survived relatively undamaged.