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No matter it be France, the UK or anywhere else....... why do too many people simply ignore the speed limit?

EG Big signs say 90kpm and they just stick their foot down, or it feels like it when I am slowing to that speed.

Do they think I am a mug for respecting the limit, or they simply feel superior for ignoring the rules of the road.

And they may speed past, but when the limit is 'off' I often overtake them as I am fond of driving as fast as the law allows.

I just don't get it. Surely not simply inattention, because that notion is a tadge frightening when someone is driving.

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When I first started driving in the 1960s the cars I drove had a comfortable cruising speed of about 50 mph  but now cars have a much higher cruising speed and are perfectly happy cruising at the legal maximum or above. So for older drivers it often does not feel as fast as it is. I think it is more important that drivers are watching the road rather than the speedometer so it is not a question of dangerous inattention.

Also there are some roads near us where the the speed limit seems to be set unreasonably low - for example a long straight stretch of dual carriageway with a limit of 50mph with no exits or exits except at the ends. It also seems a little bizarre to have a main road restricted to 40 mph with narrow roads leading off with only the national limit of 60mph

What worries me more are drivers who are overtaking in unsuitable places even though they may be within the speed limits.

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I like driving and I like driving fast when I can.

But what my car will do and what is indicated in law are two different things. Also, sometimes local knowledge means that one knows why the speed limit is lower than those who don't know local reasons, feel it should be. And sometimes it is some jumped up official(s) who has decided what it should be and it shouldn't.

Hate driving at 70 on motorways, mind numbingly slow......... wish there was no limit on motorways. I do it, I do not speed. I value my clean licence and do not want my insurance to go up...... in France I do not think that points on licences are counted by insurers.

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I find French drivers to have become much more observant of speed limits these days, specially on autoroutes. Maybe that is because there is a greater chance of being caught on camera today; I can certainly confess to have been fined twice in recent years for being over a 70kph limit that I had not noticed - so a fair cop.

What astonishes me, apart from the usual tailgating, is the way somebody will overtake you on a dual carriageway or autoroute just before an exit and then IMMEDIATELY cross back in front of you to take the exit slip road.


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The law is the law of course and nobody has the right to flaunt it but that said many limits seem to be arbitrarily set and inappropriate for the actual road leading some to drive at a speed they perceive as reasonable rather than that posted.

It's also sometimes hard to understand changes in limits other than for the express reason of catching people not observing them !

There is also the question of the leniency of the penalties; under 20kph over a limit is a fairly modest fine and minus one point which you get back after 6 months if you don't get caught again in that time so there is a potential temptation to drive up to 20kpm over without worrying too much.

There are also those still on UK licences of course who can amass as many one point offences as they wish with only the risk of the financial penalty, or no penalty whatsoever if still on UK plates, but now we're going onto a different subject !

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I don't know if they are locals or visitors, but there has been some almost heart-stopping driving on narrow single track roads with passing places since we arrived on the west coast of Scotland on Wednesday.

We are perfectly used to driving on such roads, have done it for years with and without a caravan - although we no longer have one. Most people arrange things so that they can get into a passing place or both arrive at them at the same time - to me there's something quite satisfying in the latter.

These people hurtle up to and past passing places, then expect the other car/s to reverse so they can continue to hurtle on - and most people seem to reverse, causing the car/s behind to reverse, including my helpful husband.

I refuse to budge for such people, or those who hurtle past signs showing that cars in the opposite direction have priority. This latter happens fairly regularly on a route I take regularly inEngland. I'm happy to sit with my engine turned off for as long as it takes, which generally isn't long. I usually have my ipad with hundreds of books on it or a newspaper or I'll happily listen to the radio and ignore hooting.

I'm happy to reverse if it's my fault, but reckon I'm giving dangerous drivers a helpful lesson. My only concern is if having to give in and reverse makes them even more dangerous. They are generally male drivers, who are mostly extremely annoyed at being kept waiting - although, of course, they have brought it upon themselves.

Idun, I too enjoy driving fast but within the speed limit; I've no points on my licence and wish to keep it that way.
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Idun wote...

"No matter it be France, the UK or anywhere else....... why do too many people simply ignore the speed limit?"

Sometimes you just don't know what the speed limit is. I got flashed the other day respecting what I thought was 90 kph (limiter adjusted) but in fact it was 70 kph. I did not know it was 70 kph because a line of lorries blocked the sign that said it was when I entered it. I get a feeling that mobile camera was just collecting taxes.

In around where we live in Paris it is a nightmare because you jump from one speed limit to another....especially in the tunnels. So you are watching traffic around you, keeping an eye of speed limits and trying to read signposts. Speed cameras are dangerous !!!!

If people want to speed let them speed. The people who want to speed do anyway.
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I see that more modern satnavs than mine constantly show the speed limit for the road you are driving on. Brilliant! Cos as ALBF says above, you only have to have a lorry obscuring the sign and you are scuppered.

I must say, I was relieved about them not having to "take off" the single point due for each of my misdemeanours, which incidentally are several years apart. I was driving my French "voiture secondaire" on both occasions, but of course on a UK licence we don't start out with ANY points!

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I can tootle, but I really do like driving.

A friend and I were discussing these traffic jams that are simply caused by other traffic, rather than an accident, road works or a breakdown.  Doesn't take much to cause one does it!

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The ripple effect is well known and is the reasoning behind peak time reduced speed limits on motorways, you rarely see jams in average speed controlled sections of motorway or road works or contraflows [;-)]

I'm glad I'll be long dead before self driving cars become the norm !

A lot of congestion would be alleviated by banning lorries from overtaking during peak times or where there are less than 4 lanes.

If I had to give one overarching reason for not wanting to go back to UK it would be traffic, it was bad enough when we left 9 years ago and judging by our last trip back last year - which was only to see our son off to OZ, we go under duress otherwise - it seems to be twice as bad now.

BTW I had to chuckle when I read this bit:

“Connected vehicles are an important step towards reducing the 34,000

deaths due to traffic crashes in the US
,” says Head. “We believe the

benefits will be similar to seat belts.”

Even today seatbelts are not mandatory throughout the US, secondary enforcement is effectively not mandatory !


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The thing about not working is that one is sensible about times one is out and about and I don't usually hit any traffic jams.

HOWEVER, last week, some idiot decided that a meeting we had to go to, north of Newcastle would start at 9am, and we got there in time, only we set off over an hour and a quarter earlier than we would have in non peak times and were either stopped or crawling at 5mph.

And french cities are just as bad at rush hour.

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I see that more modern satnavs than mine constantly show the speed limit

for the road you are driving on. Brilliant! Cos as ALBF says above,

you only have to have a lorry obscuring the sign and you are scuppered.

All well and good - if they are correct - they are not always, even when kept updated.

I have just driven both ways through France, and my GPS was not always correct.  It is also difficult to change speed quickly - there was one occasion when the change from 130 to 110 was made half way down a pretty steep hill - with no warning beforehand.  If you just happen to be overtaking at the time ... voila, caught on camera with no intention to speed, bu not way of not doing so either.

And yes, sadly I did get a fine - I presume when it changed from 110 to 90 with no warning as I was overtaking.

Even when trying hard not to speed, it can happen.  I was cruising downhill well below the permitted speed limit, with foot OFF accelerator - if I had not kept a careful eye I too would have been unintentionally speeding ... just  because of the gain in speed due to the incline.

I try hard not to speed, but there are often extenuating circumstances.

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An interesting point about driving at speed is how little you actually gain in time by driving faster.

When I was working in Germany, I regularly had long distance trips to make on the motorway network and perchance many of those journeys were largely on sections of the motorway network where there were no or very few speed restrictions. [70% of the network does have speed restrictions.] When I safely could, I took advantage and used the freedom of no restriction to cover a lot of kms as quickly as possible. My average speed when not hit with heavy traffic or traffic jams was usually in the 105-110kph - peak speeds would usually be in the 160-180kph range).

At the same time at weekends I would frequently commute to the Ardeche. On the French motorway system, where I tried to keep to the speed limit, my average speed was again usually in the 105 - 110kph range - possible a tad less than in Germany but still within the same range.

So for all my putting my foot down in Germany, I at best gained 5kph on my average speed on what were extensive motorway trips.
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For me the 'gain' in going faster is that I am very alert.........At speed one has to be very very aware of all the traffic, in front and behind.

And ofcourse I try to be alert at 70mph, but it is mind numbingly boring and tedious, and I am not surprised when people doze at the wheel. And I do not feel I have any choice but adhere to the speed limits in the UK, no matter what speed the other traffic is going.

And now, ofcourse, I shall end up overtaking someone who was say going at 65 on a dual carriage way and they speed up and I'll get done for speeding.......although I am not too proud to slip in behind someone who has speeded up........ I do know drivers who just won't do that....... they will get past come hell or high water!

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Good point idun,

I'm sure I'm a far worse driver at 50 or 80 kph than I'll ever be at 130 !

We've all heard of or experienced that situation where you simply have no memory of a journey or parts of it and that's because you're driving on auto pilot or by instinct.

That's not to say that you're driving badly or unsafely just that while you might be concentrating on your driving you're not really thinking about it and that part of your brain is likely off somewhere else entirely, that's the crucial difference which means the minutia of what's going on doesn't really register and why at some point you 'wake up' with no memory of the last half hour or passing some place etc. etc.

Much if not most of it is to do with whether you enjoy driving or not, some never tire of it (that's me) while for others it's a boring necessity and a chore the sooner over the better and these are the drivers you'll often find doing one of two things, concentrating way too hard because for them every drive is like they are taking their test, or else totally asleep at the wheel and oblivious to everything and everyone around them.

When you drive something a little different however, like my MGB for instance, you tend to stay far more alert and in tune with the car and what you're doing all of the time and I can honestly say that I never fall into auto pilot mode in that and in fact rarely do in my modern car either, the way I like to put it is that the MGB you actually have to drive whereas modern cars you simply operate and because I drive my MGB as much as I do - and always to the limit whenever possible - I'm pretty much always in driver mode regardless of what I'm driving.

I have to say that French speed limits seem to be designed to confuse and catch you out, at least in UK you know that unless posted differently in towns it's 30mph, single carriageway roads are 60, and dual carriage ways and motorways are 70, on any typical French single carriageway however you might encounter 30kph, 40 50, 60, 70, 80, and 90, on dual carriageways 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, 90, 100, 110, and on motorways 60, 70, 80, 90, 100, 110, and 130 - all with frequent changes between them - and that's not taking into account the 130 to 110 on the motorway when it's raining which absolutely nobody observes !

There also seems to be an unwritten rule that roadworks on motorways are automatically travelled at 90kph because I couldn't even hazard a guess as to how many of those I've driven through where (almost) everybody slows from 110/130 to 90 without any signs telling them to being present.

Possibly in the code de la route but in all honesty who's ever read that !

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[quote user="Loiseau"]I see that more modern satnavs than mine constantly show the speed limit for the road you are driving on. Brilliant! Cos as ALBF says above, you only have to have a lorry obscuring the sign and you are scuppered.


The problem is how up to date is the sat nav maps. I updated mine last year to the latest available. On the Essex stretch of the M25 from Dartford round to the M11 and a little way up it makes an awful squawking noise to inform me that I am exceeding the speed limit.....the limit was 40mph whilst they were widening the road which was completed 3 years ago. No problem if speed limits increase but unless road works are completed they normally only go down.
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  • 6 years later...

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