An extraordinary act of public obedience

Wednesday 1 March 2006

A group decided to test unenforced speed limit laws by lining up four cars across a four-lane interstate and driving the speed limit in synch. They captured the event and their reactions on video: A meditation on the speed limit. I’ve long wondered what would happen if you tried this. It turns out that for the most part, you get a long line of cars behind you going 55, but you also get a few outliers who are willing to damage automobiles in their desperate attempts to go faster.


Jan Van Puyvelde 9:05 AM on 1 Mar 2006

In Belgium, the police have been doing this for some years (it's called "blokrijden": block driving). The idea is to increase the capacity of the motorway by having all vehicles drive at the same (reduced) speed, to prevent the harmonica effect: the constant faster/slower driving resulting in a jam.

Don 11:10 AM on 1 Mar 2006

The police did this at least a few times a month when I lived in Maryland. Two cruisers would simply drive at 60 MPH on Route 270 during rush hour, followed about every half hour later by another 2-cruiser block. I clearly remember being annoyed at first, then realized there were never any accidents or "meaningless" traffic jams.

Andrew Dalke 12:34 PM on 1 Mar 2006

Here in Santa Fe reps from the city gov and admin came to our neighborhood association meeting. Among others, they talked about "moving speed bumps", that is, promoting going the speed limit. Many of the city vehicles have stickers on them to that effect.

fred mertz 2:56 PM on 1 Mar 2006

We have that here as well, they're called snow plows.

David Boudreau 11:20 PM on 1 Mar 2006

It's about time. No one drives the speed limit. It's as if all those signs were mislabeled as speed "limit", rather than speed "minimum". We make them, saying one thing, yet do another.

I am the best driver in the world, ever. I get to drive over the speed limit, because I can handle it and I've gotta get places and screw all of you. I justify it all by saying that I'm driving "with the flow of traffic"(tm). So... anyone gonna cheat a little on his taxes this year?

DeanG 11:08 AM on 3 Mar 2006

Don't try this at a go-cart track. :-) Aside from getting booted off the track, the guy bumping you from behind (me) will also get booted! LOL

B. 1:58 PM on 6 Mar 2006

Isn't 55 the speed at which you get the best mileage? I seem to remember that we lowered all the speed limits to 55 way back, after the oil crisis of the 70's. Then we forgot, and raised them. The people who made this video appear to be too young to know any of this.

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