I think I know what causes traffic on our major highways. Or at least I think I do on the highways I have traveled for work so far. And I definitely think this is the case on my new commute now that I have moved. I think the problem starts with the people who are trying to drive the speed limit. Wait! I know that sounds weird, but hear me out. I mean, um, er, read me out here. :)
The speed limit on the roads I travel for work seem very slow. I can understand it a little on the back roads in my new town, it's probably a great way to get people caught for speeding. The limit on the little back roads near my house is 30mph. If this same road was in Massachusetts, it would be at least 40mph, maybe even 45mph. But I won't complain about the slow speed limit there. I like the slower driving. It's good for me to slow down. It's also nice that I feel I won't get killed if I take my dog or baby for a walk. I think I like my new town. :)
Now, it's a different story once I get on the major highways. The speed limit is 55mph. This is WAY too slow. First of all, the majority of the traffic (I would say 90%, but of course this is a statistic I am just making up) is going above the speed limit. A lot of people are traveling more around 75mph. I discovered this very early on in my commute when I decided to drive the speed limit so I could blend in. I did this because my plates haven't been changed yet, and I was trying to "blend in". I figured with out of state license plates on my car (and a Ferrari sticker!) I would be a target for state troopers looking to pull over speeding drivers. But...I discovered that if I was going to attempt the speed limit, I was going to get run over. I had to speed up in order to blend in. I think I would have stuck out more if I tried doing the speed limit.
I'm not sure why the speed limit is 55mph on these roads but I think it may be time for a change. Then again, this would give the state troopers an excuse to pull just about anyone over...since we are all speeding. But I think the cause of the traffic in the morning is the people trying to stay the speed limit. (Is that correct grammar? That doesn't sound right.) They slow people down, drive in the left lane (I HATE THAT!) and keep cars lined up behind them just waiting to get by. I found two spots like that this morning where the highway was empty in front of the people spread across 3 or 4 lanes driving 55mph. I don't blame anyone for driving the speed limit. It's a law and it's there for a reason, but it is definitely the cause of traffic. Along with sun glare and accidents that people have to look at and all sorts of other reasons. If you do want to drive the speed limit, you should stay to the right unless passing. Which is true for any driver, regardless of speed. I probably shouldn't start on that subject...
So anyway, I propose raising the speed limit on these roads. Why not? We are all driving that speed anyway.
Funny story for you....Story Time!
My sophomore year from college, my friends and I decided to take advantage of my parent's time share and we rented a condo at Hilton Head in South Carolina. We were driving down there and it was going to be a really fun road trip. My dad warned me that when I got to North Carolina, to make sure I stayed at the speed limit because they were very strict about it and would pull me over, especially with an out of state plate. (He probably didn't need to mention that a car full of college kids would look suspicious anyway.) So I was driving when we first got to North Carolina. It was about 5am and the sun was just starting to peak over the horizon. I recalled my dad's words, and I resolved to slow down, keep within the limits. As I crossed the state line into North Carolina, I noted the welcome sign...and the next sign I saw was the speed limit. And it was 75mph! I was used to 65mph all the way there! With a "woo hoo!" I sped up and enjoyed my new speed limit. With a big smile on my face and the radio turned way up. Much to the annoyance of my riders who were sleeping. :)