25 October 2005

Is speeding worth it?

A good start is to ask, "is speeding worth what?" Possible negative consequences include the risk of a speeding ticket or the increased risk of incurring an accident fatality (notice I'm not saying risk of an accident). With the exception of adrenaline junkies, the major benefit appears to be in time saved in transit. Let's look at an example,

Driving from UVA in Charlottesville to my house in NoVA is about 100 miles. Assume that this is all traffic free highway (no stop lights, train-crossings, etc) so that average speed is equal to instantaneous speed. At the speed suggested by the modal sign, 55 mph, the trip takes 1 hr 49 min. At this speed there is essentially no risk of being pulled over on Rt. 29, the longest stretch of road on the route.

Now let's make the same trip at a speed of 72 mph. The trip now takes 1 hr 23 min. This a savings of 26 minutes. My friend Ben was pulled over on Rt. 29 for going 72 mph. I'm not sure I want to get into a deep cost-benefit analysis augmented by some abitrary statistical hit-rate distribution. Instead, realize that most journeys, even those involving highway travel, are much shorter than 100 miles. And so the time shavings will typically be much reduced. Surely all these minutes add up, perhaps even to a full day over the course of a year, but can two minutes here and three minutes there be put to good utilization if taken seperately... maybe now would be a good time to take up speed meditation.

Side note: I don't think there is an authoritative source on this but it seems a fairly common assumption that 10 mph over the speed limit is rather safe (in terms of ticket avoidance) when on major highways. Of course this depends on the time of day, flow of traffic, etc. Think about how you determine your travel speed...


Anonymous said...

What's the rush anyway. Your question "can two minutes here and three minutes there be put to good utilization if taken seperately" is a great one. Why not get a book on tape/cd or listen to favorite music or enjoy conversation rather than speed. The high stress level, combined with speeding tickets, higher insurance rates and the higher risk of death/injury doesn't make the risk worth it to me. I was taught to leave one car length vacant in front of you for every 10 miles an hour you are traveling at. fwiw I was told once that 9 miles an hour over the speed limit was a safer bet on avoiding a speeding ticket. Although they are so close. It's all good! I hope I am not being too opinionated on your blog Jeff. I love this medium. It's fun!

annie said...

That was me up there, hehehe