I could not believe how fast cars were passing me and I was driving the speed limit. Officials scratch their heads wondering why deadly crashes happen so frequently; it’s obvious; too many cars on the roads and too many speeders.
I see cars going at high speed, zipping across lanes, tailgating; brake lights blinking on and off, hugging the passing lane, determined to be the alpha driver.
It makes no difference whether you are on the expressway or a winding country road, there is too often some stranger trying to intimidate you into driving too fast. You can sense the glares on the back of your head.
Speeding is an abnormality caused by macho personalities, intoxicants, drugs, texting and other flawed judgment. Often passengers engaged in animated conversations distract the drivers from their responsibility for the safety of everyone on the highway.
A pick-up truck went around me yesterday. I was driving at the speed limit. The man had stayed near my bumper for a couple miles. The roadway was wet from morning rain making the asphalt slippery. Under those conditions, intelligent drivers realize it takes extra distance to stop.
When traffic cleared he floored the pedal, crossed both yellow lines and hurtled by me. It was his moment of glory, perhaps his only feeling of power in his lifetime. It is easy to understand road rage. When I stopped at the next red light that racer sat there glaring, gunning his engine, raring to begin endangering someone else.
Leaving South Carolina my wife tucked in behind a truck driving the speed limit, all the way to the Hamilton Mill exit. Every south bound car, hugging the left lane, zoomed by us, swerving in and out, slamming on their brakes. Juggernaut semis were equally guilty of maniacal speeds. We hugged the right lane where we could escape from the carnage if needed. Eighty miles later we had passed one car and two dump trucks. Several speeders were determined to get to Atlanta first. We lucked out but it’s scary!
I remember the 50MPH speed limit signs posted for years on 285 with cars and trucks exceeding the limit and with no police patrol cars in sight.
The National Safety Council estimates 38,300 people were killed and 4.4 million injured on U S roads in 2015. Unless that is an insidious population control scheme those facts indicate idiocy.
Increasing speed limits on the interstate system a couple years ago did not improve the flow of traffic. The opposite effect occurs when more violent crashes happen, more often, blocking the lanes for longer periods requiring extra time to remove bodies and mangled cars.
To stop the carnage on our highways penalties should be posted where speeding is too costly to continue; place speed limit signs in bold letters over every overpass with cameras positioned to record the speed and license of speeding cars. The penalty for violation must have an economic impact to force compliance.
The penalty must be severe to be a deterrent: $500 for driving 10 MPH over the limit: $1000 for 15 MPH over the limit. Anyone going faster than that are those racers endangering other people and should have their license revoked for an effective period of time.
Bill is a WW II Navy veteran and retired President of York Furs in Buckhead.