It’s Only The Speed Limit If You Get Caught!

What a catchy title, “It’s Only The Speed Limit If You Get Caught!”.

Is it just my wild imagination or are four wheelers and their 18 wheeler counterparts on the road simply ignoring posted speed limits and other traffic control signs?

It just doesn’t seem like the general motoring public actually respect the laws and speed limits our state and local governments have imposed on our highways and freeways. It has come to my attention that many drivers just do not give consideration to those drivers who still have respect for the law. I have had a trip to California from Seattle and a couple trips to Montana in the past couple of weeks. I might have well been on a Speedway or Race Track in a Nascar event. I have trucks ignore the posted speed limit, drive within ten feet of my rear bumper and try to “draft”, or as it seems. When my speed isn’t sufficient for their needs or liking, the truck following usually makes some sort of dangerous maneuver to get around me. With all of the lack of concern for anyone else’s safety, that so called “professional driver” will then proceed to wait for me to flash my lights at him to give him the all clear to merge back into the “slow” lane! I don’t even bother using the “flash” signal anymore. If they are going to be so inconsiderate to make a dangerous pass or cut someone else off, why should I show any consideration for that driver?

I have had inexperienced drivers with Swift Transportation and Lange Mail Contractor make a couple unsafe and un-necessary passes in the past week. What is the point of risking your livelihood on a stupid speeding ticket or worse, killing an innocent family traveling down a freeway? You read about trucks who are involved in fatal accidents across our country every week. Usually the truck driver survives but takes out an innocent couple traveling for a Thanksgiving getaway such as happened last year in Lost Hills, California along I-5.

I guess what upset me the most this week was a driver for Yellowstone Trucking out of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, truck number 21768. We were traveling westbound on I-90 coming off Lookout Pass out of Montana. The driver decided that 50 MPH on snow covered, wet roads wasn’t fast enough for him to get back to his yard in Coeur d’Alene. Not to mention he was a flatbed with 6 rolls of copper electrical wire strapped to his skateboard, center loaded. He was an accident waiting to happen. I am sure the driver had a concept of what the road was like in front of him in relation to curves, speed, etc. What I am not sure about was his ability to look ahead and think about all of the possibilities that could occur due to the weather conditions. Was there an accident around the next corner? Would there be a backup of traffic due to Thanksgiving travelers on the day before the big holiday? Would he take into consideration the inexperienced drivers who might be on the road and pull into his lane as he flew down the grade at 65 or 70 miles an hour?

I gave thought to calling his safety department and reporting his driving habits, but would they listen? Would the company take the call serious or just brush it under the table as another frustrated driver? I am sure the trucking company that this so called “professional” works for is a fine trucking company, I am just upset at a thoughtless driver who didn’t care about anyone else’s safety.

I understand that the speed limits in most western states are well below what they should be, but as long as drivers are involved in an ever increasing amount of serious traffic accidents, DOT will continue to crack down on speed laws and make it ever so difficult to make a living on the road. I think more CDL Drivers need to get out of the mentality of “It’s Only The Speed Limit If You Get Caught” and respect the speed laws that are intended to make our roads and freeways safer.

JB

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3 comments

  1. I have taken the philosophy of “it is not how fast you go, its how fast you can stop” for many years. It works well but as you pointed out that “how fast you can stop’ part of it is rarely considered when you forget the possibility of other drivers pulling out in front of you or losing control as they drive. I at one point blew by a whole line of drivers going through the pass between Evanston and Bridger, Wy. I was baffled that they would yell at me on the CB. A bit later I realized how dangerous I was, not due to my driving but by the fact of not being able to react safely if another driver got into trouble or simply got out of line. My point is, The yelling on the CB did help me. I wonder for different reasons than what you stated, whether a reprimand from a safety officer would result in any change in that drivers behavior and with the growing disdain drivers are demonstrating for the CB, others may not get this chance to reconsider their driving habits.

  2. Wah, wah, wah. Listen to you guys. Don’t tell me you don’t have your lower limits of speed that even you won’t travel at but instead will pass that slower driver. 50 mile an hour on wet roads. Come on. Maybe you should look at your unwillingness to travel the faster speeds as the problem.
    I have traveled I-80. The sheep running 35 mile an hour bumper to bumper venting their terror on the damned CB. Now this is a dangerous scenario and I will pass the endless line of sheep every time. Who are you guys to decide what the “safe” speed to drive is and then to judge everyone else who doesn’t do it like you do?
    Incidentally, I have over a million miles accident free in all 48 states. The problem I see is not speed. No. The problem I see is drivers who have a license but have no idea what the hell they are doing with 80,000 pounds, 75 feet of rig, and a big steering wheel.

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