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How Slow is Too Slow?


Kevin H

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There has been discussion recently on driving safety. Some talk references higher speeds in outlying areas of some states. Many with 75 and Texas has 85. No matter what, I will not run a RV at those speeds.

 

I normally stay around 61 on interstates. That's no problem when the speed limit is 65 or 70. What are your thoughts about 61 mph in a 75 - 80 or 85 speed limit? I also know there are some of us who run in the 50's. What about those folks?

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I have found that travelling 60 - 65 mph on the Texas highways with 75 and 85 mph speed limits causes no issues. I travel in the right lane, along with most of the trucks, other RV's, and many cars. I find relatively few folks are actually going 80 or 85 mph, so the difference is not as profound as it would seem.

 

The bigger problem I see is caused by a truck (or RV) going 66 trying to pass a truck going 64, and taking several minutes to do so. That is what really backs things up.

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I usually run right at 65 as that is the shakers sweet spot. There is at least one lane to allow traffic to go around us if not 2 or 3 more in most areas. If someone has had an issue, I haven't heard about it yet. I do think you should run no more than 15 mph under the limit if traffic is heavy though as you can cause a bad backup in traffic or even worse, a wreck. In a 85 mph zone in heavy traffic, I would kick my speed up to 70 mph until I was clear.

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We have a sweet spot right around 62. That's where we run.

With our gas motorhome it was right at 60 and that was where we usually drove. With our current travel trailer it is more like 55 so we now travel at that speed. Higher speed limits are typically on the multilane highways so right land and easy does it.

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The only time we are concerned about our slower speed is on the 2-lane roads. Most times our 55 -60 mph is not a problem but occasionally there is a person that is impatient and needs to get past right away. If there is a place to pull off we will do that to allow people past. Sometimes there just isn't a spot to get over and there may be a few vehicles behind. That's when I need to be careful not to let other drivers get me upset. I do the best I can to be a polite driver when possible and let people get by. It just isn't worth the road rage. Dave.

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I have to agree with those willing to drive at 55 - 60MPH. The sweet spot for my combination is 57MPH, and I have to admit I'm not happy with traffic on the 85MPH interstates, so I do my best to avoid them. Still, I have no problem doing 60 on an 85MPH interstate if I have no other choice...

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In Asia, there seemed to be one rule, if you hit something with the front of your vehicle, it was your fault, period. I like ~61-2, if I get hit it will be their front, my rear...their problem. I try to give them breaks on 2 lane roads, but I WILL NOT drive the shoulders, as many Texans expect you to do.

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On freeways there is always a lane to let you go slower. I now do 65, used to be 62 with our fiver. Never had a problem. All the years I have driven in the car I don't remember ever getting upset by those doing 60-65 when I'm doing 75; just zipped around them, Never have been on a road allowing 85--can't imagine that!

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We find our MH is happiest between 60 and65. Not a problem on the interstates, those that want, can pass us. I must say that driving some two lane roads in east Texas last summer was an eye opener, coming from New England, we were not prepared for 75 mph. the first time we turned on to one, no posted speed, we figured 45 was about right, the first car to pass us, yikes! It was breathtaking. Speed limit sign appeared shortly thereafter, and we noticed the lack of population, or driveways, or intersections (few and far between).

 

DW suggested an immediate increase in speed!

 

Carl

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I try to give them breaks on 2 lane roads, but I WILL NOT drive the shoulders, as many Texans expect you to do.

Texas law does allow you to move out onto a paved shoulder in order to let others pass when one is provided but it does not require that you do so. I can't recall if there is a law about pulling over when some number of vehicles is stacked up behind you, as some states have but it is the courteous thing to do and we do so whenever possible. I don't make a habit of driving on the shoulders but have learned to move there when traveling well under the speed limit if the shoulder is paved and amply wide with good viability. Since that is where stopped vehicles would be found, I don't do that as I crest a hill or on a blind curve unless I also stop.

 

and I have to admit I'm not happy with traffic on the 85MPH interstates,

As far as I know, the only 85 mph is one a few selected toll roads and it does seem excessively high speed, but I remember back in the 50's & 60's as paved roads became more common and vehicle safety equipment improved the highway speeds were increased in most states from 50/60 to 60 & 70. My parents and grandparents then questioned the intelligence of that increase while we young folks thought that it was a big improvement. Now they seem to be making a similar move in many parts of the country and even though it seems high to me, I must admit that once more the roads have gotten better since the 60/70 limits were set and so too has vehicle safety equipment. I can but wonder if our displeasure with the increased speeds is not at least partly a reflection of the average age of those of us who populate these forums? I am trying not to be the next generation of seniors, telling the young folks how wrong they are. :huh:

 

I must say that driving some two lane roads in east Texas last summer was an eye opener, coming from New England, we were not prepared for 75 mph

Some of us who live here get surprised at some of the roads that now have 75 but most of them were at 65 - 70 before the increase. After following the logic that so much of the traffic was already running at 75 as part of the justification, I have watched and I notice that there do seem to be fewer speeders and many of the major truck lines seem to be sticking with 70 mph. I would hope that with the increased maximum speeds there is also stricter enforcement of them.

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Kirk:"Texas law does allow you to move out onto a paved shoulder in order to let others pass when one is provided but it does not require that you do so. I can't recall if there is a law about pulling over when some number of vehicles is stacked up behind you, as some states have but it is the courteous thing to do and we do so whenever possible."

 

As of Nov 2014 west of Paris Tx, it is against the law in Texas to have more than 3 vehicles behind you if your are not going the speed limit. You are a traffic hazard. I use that date as that is when I got a warning about pulling over. The county sheriff said that while not all counties will ticket, it is the law. I asked him about not being insured if you drive on the shoulder and have an accident, and his reply was, If you are insured and in Texas you are covered. So now when I am in Texas I pull over when possible. That is the only state I have heard of this being the law. Of course with 75 mph speed limit even on 2 lanes road, I guess it makes sense at least Texas sense.

 

The curious thing for me was that the first 3 cars behind me would not pass me when it was available thereby causing more cars to back up.

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Update on the Texas Toll road that permits 85 MPH: the state sold the right to collect tolls to a Spanish Company, from Spain, and they are only collecting

one half of the expected tolls because the road is not well placed. It goes from near Austin to well east of San Antonio and it cost $8.50. It is my understanding

that the State of Texas will have to make up the difference to the Spanish Company. This was really folly from the start, the state got a billion dollars from the

Spanish Company upfront and the company was to keep the tolls and maintain the roadway for 30 years. When the toll road first opened a number of the 85 MPH drivers at night hit wild hogs

that can be almost 300 lbs. I maybe getting old but 85 MPH is way to fast with the way that we drive here in Texas.

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The big problem is that it hits IH 10 fifty miles east of San Antonio and cost $8.50. It was to have relieved

some of the traffic from Austin to San Antonio and the people who I know that travel that route tell me that it

takes them 50 miles out of the way and they don't use it. Austin is less then 90 miles from San Antonio and

if it takes you 50 miles out of the way?

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54 - 57 and maybe 60+ downhill . It's pretty seldom that we pass another vehicle .

 

No wonder we never see you on the road!!! We also drive 55.

 

A few years back when California was in financial trouble they started writing tickets and enforcing 55 for tractors and trailers. That worked really well. It eliminated lots of the "fool" driving by people steering rigs over 40 feet in length!! The car traffic just zipped past and it seemed like traffic flowed much better since there were much fewer lane changes!!!

 

We have not been back to California since them, but to me that 55 MPH law for big rigs and trailers makes a lot of sense.

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Besides not knowing how to merge, folks don't know how to pass, they sit right on your butt, can't see around, no room to accelerate, then tie up more and more, doing the same thing behind them.

 

Think if I got a ticket in Paris, Tx (or anywhere) for having 3 cars behind me I'd spend some buck for my lawyers. In Texas the mentality is never follow, makes no difference how fast, or what the speed limit.

 

Edit...in Norway, they used to setup radar on a tripod, with a camera and a single LEO. A little further down the road several cops were pulling over the speeders (or drunks), and writing tickets, the line of folks waiting on tickets sometime was very long, taking maybe an hour to get thru. The fine wasn't the deterrent, the interruption was. A few cops could have a bigger impact than one cop stopping one car for a $75 fine that meant NOTHING, while others blow on past. Oh, the drunks had drivers license pulled then and there, with 21 days in jail for first offenders, then and there.

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Where allowed by posted speed limits, our coach (and my "mindset") seem to agree that 62-63 mph is the ideal speed. Using cruise control, and a bit of common sense, lets us almost "loaf" along the highway. Plenty of time to enjoy passing scenery, and at that speed, we rarely find ourselves backing any traffic up behind us. Of course, on some two lane roads (where the speed limit is 65mph) and we are moving along at a mere 60-62 mph, occasionally there will be times when we find ourselves at the head of a "parade" of impatient drivers/vehicles. When that occurs, we try to find the closest available place to pull over and let those in a hurry pass.

 

An interesting observation was made some time ago in a publication that, based on surveys, the maximum average distance to their destination that a vehicle traveling on a two lane U.S. or State highway was less than 50 miles. A bit of calculation finds that if a person is going to that maximum distance of 50 miles and they can average exactly 65 miles per hour, they will reach that destination an astonishing 6.4 minutes quicker than the motorist who averages only 60 mph for the same distance...... 6.4 minutes! Must be a very important destination if 6 minutes is going to make that much difference.

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