Lest you all think that I am some crazy leadfoot over here, I’m not saying that speed limits are bad or that there aren’t very good reasons for having varying speed limits. My point was more that going 65-55-65-55-65-55 every couple of miles for over 100 miles for no real reason (construction is long complete) is not only annoying, but actually makes things less safe in the long run because you have people shock-breaking when they realize they are accidentally speeding and other people (the people who drive 80+ no matter what the speed limit) still speeding and you have an even bigger fail re: flow of traffic. Worse than the shock breakers are the people who see the police officer lurking and then take their foot off the gas, slowing down sans brake lights. Judging by the number of people I saw pulled over – some of whom I was pacing with – and the number reported by the Madre (driving my dad’s car) and my dad and the Bro in the rental truck, the PA state troopers must love these areas. It’s really not quite fair. 

I have no problem with 65 mph speed limits* – I think that’s fair – and I’m the first to admit that I don’t always follow those limits – I tend to hover around the 70, 75 if I’m feeling daring, mark. I also often feel like one of the slower cars on the road if I’m on a turnpike (I think people speed much more on turnpikes because they seem safer for some reason – maybe because you have to pay to get on them). I also don’t have a major problem with the police/speeding tickets** – knock wood, I’ve only gotten 1 speeding ticket*** in my life and that was before I turned 18 (I have gotten 3 tickets total – 1 for turning right on red and 1 for failure to yield – which are both actual very good stories for another day when I’m trying to think of something to tell you all. I will just tell you that I was totally in the right both times 🙂 ). I have, albeit grudgingly, paid probably hundreds of dollars in parking tickets (kind of related) to the city of DC during the 5 years I had a car there so I clearly respect (and fear) the law. So, in summary, consider this a valid (i.e. not coming from someone with paranoid tendencies) warning, PA. Time to change your ways. 

*I do think < 65 on major highways is ridiculous and doesn’t really make anything safer. The number of cars flying by me on the New Jersey turnpike has always been comparable or even greater than the number flying by me on 65 mph roads. 

**Although, interestingly enough, as I was on my way home from bar class this afternoon, I did get very annoyed with a police officer. There were no sirens involved, nor did he speed off after this incident (instead, he parked under the next bridge, likely to set up his radar gun), so I don’t think there was a pressing emergency he needed to address. Anyway, where I was getting on the highway, you don’t merge into real traffic – the first lane from the entrance is a fake lane – it just leads directly into the next exit which is a couple hundred feet down. So to get on the highway, you essentially have to get over 2 lanes. There was a ton of traffic here, so I turned on my blinker and inched forward, looking for an opening. I see an opening, but before I can go out, the jackass flies out into the spot, forcing me to essentially stop and wait until I could get out as well. I was first in line! Very annoying. 

***This is perhaps not entirely true. Although the last time I got pulled over, sirens blazing, for speeding was before I turned 18, I did get one of those stupid camera tickets in DC a couple of months ago. I don’t count it as a real ticket because these cameras are clearly money making devices for the city -a ticket generated by one costs the same as a parking ticket and if you pay it, it goes away – no points, no record, no nothing. I also was not really speeding. I was on a major 2 lane throughway (i.e. not through a residential area) in DC – MacArthur Blvd – and I was following the flow of traffic. Please note that it is also very difficult to find a speed limit sign in DC, fyi. Now I know as a graduate of law school and a future lawyer that it is my responsibility to educate myself about the laws of the place I am in, even if they are not as clearly posted as I would like. However, given the size of the road I was on, I think the assumption that the speed limit was 30 was not unreasonable. Turns out, the speed limit in DC, unless otherwise posted, is always 25. I was going 29 according to the camera. That is why I don’t count that ticket. I mean, really.

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