Next weekend is the May long weekend, one of the deadliest on our roads and highways.
My daily commute includes twenty minutes on Highway 38, a regional highway with a speed limit of 80 kms and five minutes on the 401. Along 38, there are three fences on the side of the road where shrines have been erected in memory of people who were killed in accidents on this very busy two-lane highway.
There are many contributing factors to the high death toll on our roads: not driving for the conditions and distracted driving being two, but in my mind driving too slowly, or driving too fast are still the two main offences in making our roads unsafe. Daily I see people making dangerous passes because someone is poking along under the speed limit or people driving 30 kms over the speed limit (the ones passing recklessly). It’s a miracle there aren’t more shrines on my road.
Our roads have become busier and busier. Witness the carnage on the 401 this past winter and the swath of multi-vehicle collisions and tractor trailers mangled in the ditch. Let’s put a stop to this now.
This week’s Happy Act is to take the 90/110 challenge. Drive 90 kms on roads with a posted speed limit of 80 and 110 on the 400 series of highways. Reduce your stress, and make the roads safer for all of us. Save money and the environment too. Here is some US data on the cost savings and fuel savings of reducing your speed even 10 kms. At $1.39 per litre for gas, think about it.
From the US department of energy: The average car’s advertised MPG is 55 mph. Here is the drop in fuel efficiency as your speed increases:
- 3% less efficient at 60 mph /110 km
- 8% less efficient at 65 mph/115 km
- 17% less efficient at 70 mph/120 km
Bottom line for a 30 km highway commute: If you drive at 100 km instead of 120 km you could save $496.40 per year and your commute would only be four minutes longer.