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A Need for Speed?
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Some people start wrestling with the speed demon from the day they get a drivers’ license. The weather is good.  So is your car. You are in the country – nothing is in sight, on the road or off. The road is straight and open. Put the hammer down.

The Bible gives no direct guidance on speeding. “Thou shalt not speed” is not among the commandments. Jesus rails against moneychangers in the temple, not speeders. He speaks plainly about the odds against a rich man getting to heaven, but is silent about whether it takes longer to reach heaven if you speed. “Render unto Caesar” only sort of covers it.

Your decision to speed – or not – must be based on common sense. Often this is a slim reed – especially when in your teens. For young drivers, one of the best arguments against speeding is that you lack the judgment to know when speeding is safe. That is a good reason to obey speed limits. It takes wisdom to know your limitations – and courage to observe them. 

Two Reasons for Speed Limits 

Speed limits are posted for two reasons – safety and revenue. Safety comes first when you are driving. Speed does kill. Double your speed and you square the energy released if a car hits something. A car going forty miles an hour hits with four time the force of the same car going twenty – and sixteen times that of the same car going ten.

This is why school zones have such low speed limits. A child darting in front of a car going ten miles an hour should escape with bruises. One hit by a car going forty is looking at a long hospital stay.

Okay – no speeding in school zones. You understand. How about the open road?

Speed limits there are usually set by road conditions – how much time and space you need to react. That is why you can legally go seventy on rural Interstates, but slow to fifty-five in urban areas. Heavier traffic gives you less time to react.

You need time to react to someone unexpectedly pulling onto the road. A county road with wide shoulders through open country has a higher limit than a twisting road with trees close to the road. Traffic engineers set these limits. Do you know more than guys whose careers depend on getting speed limits right? Feel free to speed.

What if you know the speed limit is too low for the road? The limit suddenly drops thirty miles per hour for no good reason. As suddenly it picks up again. 

It may be safe to speed, but might not be smart. 

Friendly people in tan or blue uniforms inhabit such places. They love meeting strangers who cannot read speed limit signs. They welcome the financial contribution you make to their community. That traffic fine – or stupid tax – is not your only financial penalty. Your auto insurance also increases.

Have a need for speed? Find a racetrack. It is safer – and often cheaper.

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By Mark N. Lardas. Copyright © 2012 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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