After leaving work today, I drove home using my usual route. As I’ve resolved to do ever since receiving a hefty speeding ticket (on this very road), I obeyed the posted speed limit for my whole commute. On this road, it was 35 MPH, though the normal flow of traffic was usually around 50-60 MPH. When I obey the posted speed limit, drivers often tailgate me and they usually seem pretty frustrated that I’m forcing them to actually obey the law – the same law that they surely support with their votes and their ‘I support my local police’ lawn signs.
Today, my tailgater was a middle-aged woman who seemed particularly annoyed at me for obeying the law. She was following within around a foot of my car at times, and she continually made aggressive hand gestures. When I finally turned off of the main road just to let her pass and to begin writing this article on my phone, she turned in my direction and clearly mouthed some angry words at me.
Notice the white pickup tailgating dangerously close?
The tailgater must have thought that I was driving so ridiculously slowly either to annoy her or because I was incompetent. Of course, I was just behaving like a ‘law abiding citizen’, as I’ve been told by so many people that I must do.
Months ago, I ordered stickers in an effort to solve this exact dilemma. The stickers read:
Am I driving too slow? Rethink speed limit laws!
That was all the sticker had space for while still being large enough to be legible. I put the sticker on my car, but I’ve since removed it, for fear of making cops even more upset when they pull me over. I also don’t think that a few words on a sticker could really explain my thoughts on speed limits to frustrated tailgaters. So, I decided to write this article.
For clarity, the relevant state laws regarding speeding New Hampshire appear to be:
Maximum speed law:
According to section 265:60 (I) of New Hampshire vehicle code, “A person shall not drive a vehicle at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the conditions, having regard to the actual and potential hazards then existing.”
Minimum speed law:
“A person shall not drive a vehicle at such a slow speed as to impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic.”
Of course, the above laws are contradictory; obeying the speed limit means driving slowly enough to impede normal traffic quite often – as my above story illustrates.
If you are one of the drivers in New Hampshire (or anywhere else in the world) who believes that some speed limits are much slower than the safe, normal flow of traffic on a given road, you have two options:
1) Continue to be a hypocrite by violating the law while also preaching about how people ‘must obey the law’ no matter how they feel about it and by voting for increasingly strict speed limits and traffic enforcement. Roughly 100% of people fall into this category, according to a Purdue University study.
2) You can email, call, and pester New Hampshire’s State Representatives, Senators, Governor, DOT, and anyone else who may have influence over our speed limits and traffic enforcement, forcing them to change the laws.
As we explain in articles found here, here, here, here, here, and here, traffic laws and enforcement throughout the US have become a joke. Nearly every driver knows that traffic enforcement has become primarily about control and revenue and not about safety. If politicians and cops cared about safety, this article about police changing their ways would not be considered satire.
I know that you are frustrated. I also want to drive faster. I have been driving at speeds two to three times many posted speed limits for years while remaining totally safe and responsible. I have been teaching people how to drive emergency vehicles since 2012. I remain one of the most safe and conservative drivers you might ever meet. I have driven hundreds of thousands of miles, in 40 states, and in every driving condition imaginable. I take great care to never put anyone’s life in jeopardy.
Nobody has ever been hurt as a result of my driving. I could safely drive 80 on that highway despite its 35 MPH speed limit. Believe me, I wish I could. I am one of the busiest and most efficient individuals I know. I have places to be, and I’m sure you have places to be, too.
However, until you and all others like you begin to demand that our legislators either increase or repeal speed limits or end traffic enforcement for the crime of ‘speeding’, I will continue to obey the law. I simply cannot continue to pay hundreds of dollars in fines for the crime of violating the law. Losing hundreds of dollars could mean that the mortgage doesn’t get paid or that my family has to go into debt, forcing some of us to live on the streets. We cannot take that risk. I am sure that you could understand our struggle.
So, I will continue to obey all posted speed limits. This will mean that I will drive much too slowly until the laws in New Hampshire are changed. Please be careful when driving and do not follow too closely. If I would have tapped my brakes today, my tailgater would have crashed into me. I apologize for the inconvenience and I hope that this can motivate you to get politically involved in order to hold our legislators accountable to the will of the people.
P.S. This tool can help you find your Representative(s) and your Senator can be found here. Governor Sununu can be contacted here. The DOT can be contacted here. It’s not yet clear who exactly controls which speed limits. I am happy to help you connect with any legislator if needed. I’ve already contacted them all.
Alu – The Liberty Block – New Hampshire