The first gasoline-powered car could only travel 21 KM/H. However, technological advancement has made it possible for cars to move faster. We now have better roads so our cars can travel at speeds unimaginable even by Karl Friedrich Benz, who designed the first gasoline car.
It is also true that most vehicles have speedometers that display maximum speeds beyond the legal or reasonable speed limits. It means that the doors are always open to you to overspeed if you so wish.
But it is vital that you understand the risks involved with whichever speed limit you go for. You should always set the right speed for the occasion. The driving school won’t tell you everything about driving so take the time to seek more information about every driving issue.
So, when choosing your driving speed, the most important things to consider is:
1. The Time You Are Driving
You are more alert and active in the day, while the opposite is true at night. Did you know that 46% – 54% of traffic accidents occur at night, yet the traffic is usually light at night? In fact, the night traffic is normally 10% – 30% of the daytime traffic.
You are most likely to cause an accident at night, therefore you should be more cautious at that time, including by setting a reasonable driving speed. The probability of causing an accident at night also increases with road illumination. Low-illumination translates to increased chances of causing an accident, so set an appropriate speed.
2. Your Condition as The Driver
Before you choose your driving speed, ensure you take your current emotional and mental conditions into consideration. Are you sober enough, or could you be fatigued, stressed, sleepy, confused, exhausted, or angry at something? Have you just had (or lost) an argument, and it is still pricking your ego?
These seemingly minor factors could take the driver’s seat with you and impair your normally good judgment. Hence, you either drive slowly or don’t drive at all if you are distressed. You can choose a faster speed when you are calmer, fresher, and soberer.
You should always drive in all your senses to focus on the road signs and the road. When you are stressed, for example, your brain tends to digest and interpret information slower, and this can affect how your hands or feet control the car.
Make it a habit to not drink and drive, or drive when you just had a drink. You could hurt yourself or other road users.
3. Other Road Users
If you realize the vehicle ahead of you is a driving school car, chances are the driver is a trainer not yet cut for the road. You need to be extra careful, choosing the right speed that would help you save the situation should the trainer make blunders, such as mistakenly reversing, pressing the emergency brake accidentally, or making a wrong turn without notice.
There are moments you can tell some around you are not at their best in terms of observing the traffic rules. They overtake, make a turn, or change lanes with disregard to the rules.
As a law-abiding citizen with foresight, it behooves you to be the beacon of safety by choosing the speed that would give you time to evade their errors or avert an accident.
4. The Condition of the Car
You could be a disciplined, good driver, but then the car ends up messing things. How fast or slow you drive should also be determined by the car condition because, frankly, a troubled car is riskier than a car with everything in order.
This applies to every man-made machine, by the way. It is as effective as its condition. You should not speed while driving a faulty brakes car, or one whose headlights, steering wheel, wipers, or side mirrors have issues.
The tires should also not be over or underinflated so that you maintain the right pressure.
5. Weather Condition
Everything else is visible on a clear day or environment, so you can drive fast because you see dangers easily. However, this is not the case when you drive through the fog, mist, or rain showers where visibility is reduced, so you need to choose a slower speed to enable you to make timely decisions, should the need arises.
When you drive too fast in the rain, for instance, you can easily ram into the car ahead of you because it is sometimes difficult to calculate the distance between you and the other car. A study showed that in a low visibility location, drivers tend to depend more on their own speed estimations instead of the speedometer.
This even though your estimation of the speed while driving through the rain or fog could be much behind the actual speed, causing you to drive faster. It is especially challenging for a new driver.
6. Where You Are Driving
In Minnesota, the speed limit while driving in alleys is 15 km/h, and it moves to 50 km/h when you drive on the streets in urban districts. In the rural interstate highway, the Minnesota traffic law requires you to drive at 110 km/h and so on. In expressways, the speed limit is 105 km/h.
When you get to New York, you must not drive faster than 90 km/h anywhere. There are sections within the same city where you cannot drive beyond 25 mph. In the expressways, you can drive at 45 miles per hour.
Laws aside, when you drive through narrow or meandering roads, common sense alone should nudge you to drive slowly and more carefully. The same applies when you are at the railroad crossings, intersections, sharp curves, hills, or near schools.
7. Road Condition
When you usually drive too fast on a rough road, you damage your car over time. Speeding on a slippery or wet road is also risky because the car can easily slide, throwing you off balance. You can speed on a smooth, plain road and get away with it, but that may not be the case on a bumpy road where you are supposed to slow down.
By the way, the whole idea behind the road bumps is to slow you down.
One point that must never be lost here is that speeding is riskier to you regardless of the time, place, or car’s condition. It is best always to maintain a reasonable speed limit for your and other road users’ safety.
Again, driving too slowly could be as dangerous as speeding, also depending on where you are. Knowing how to control your driving speed begins with investing a quality driving course. Get started with our driving classes today to be the safest and best driver on New York roads.