The Ford folk play high-speed games.

What is a safe speed on a highway? That is a question that the Ontario government is trying to figure out. And they are wasting their time trying to answer it and they are wasting the public’s time.

Most drivers have an inflated idea of their driving skills and tend to push their limits. What drivers really need to consider are the driving conditions, visibility and condition of the vehicle they are using. The condition of the driver and others on the road are also a factor.

As Highway 400 passes through the city of Barrie, I am very used to turning on to the highway and setting my cruise control for the average speed on the left of the southbound lanes. That setting for many years, under good driving conditions, has been 120 kilometres per hour (74.5 mph). In an average of about 30 trips per year over the past 10 years, I have never been stopped by the provincial police who regularly patrol that highway.

The truth is that the de facto speed limit on all 400 series in Ontario has been 120 kilometres per hour for many years. These are restricted-access, multilane highways with centre dividers between the lanes in each direction. Sure, you will get a ticket for careless or abrupt lane changes and other motoring infractions but someone driving carefully and considerately at 20 clicks over the speed limit does not seem to be committing an offense.

So, what are those geniuses at Queen’s Park doing? They are creating some sections of 400 series highways where the drivers can feel free to drive at 110 kilometres per hour. They tell us that it is a test to see if people really want to drive so fast. I would be more worried if the de facto speed limit went up to 130 kilometres. We have to remember that not all of us have the reaction times of a race car driver.

And remember why many people go to auto races. They are watching for the more spectacular crashes.


Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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