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Diatribe: Speed Restricted Vehicles. Does Slow Really Equal Safe?

09/02/2012

On my Top Ten List of the Most Nerve-Wracking Experiences In Life, somewhere around items four, seven and nine, would be “MOVING”.  As a young adult, trying to find my place in the world, I moved quite frequently.  At first, I could move everything in my car.  Later, I required assistance from a friend with a pick-up truck or an SUV.  As I accumulated more possessions that I found necessary for survival, I rented moving trucks and, when I moved to my current home eleven years ago, I hired movers.

During one such move, without any warning from the rental company, I discovered the existence of “speed restricted vehicles”.  I had no idea that trucks were sometimes equipped with governors that limit their top speeds.  So, with all of my precious belongings in the back of the truck, I merged for the first time onto an expressway.  After travelling for a few miles and moving into the passing lane, I discovered that the truck would not go any faster.  I couldn’t figure out what was going on.  When I returned the truck and explained that I thought there was something wrong with it, I received my first lesson regarding speed restricted vehicles.

I was reminded of this unfortunate afternoon last weekend when I saw a van on the highway displaying a sign in its window indicating to other drivers that it was speed restricted.  The driver of the van used the local lane and did not interrupt the flow of traffic on the road.  Clearly this person was aware that the van would not go fast enough to pass.

Speed restricted vehicles that are unable to keep up with traffic flow can be quite dangerous … particularly if the driver is unaware of the constraints.  Clearly, the concept is intended to increase overall safety but vehicles that are physically unable to proceed at posted speed limits are dangerous.

It seems to me that many people have been taught that “slow equals safe” when the two are mutually exclusive.  As far as I’m concerned, “smart equals safe” and any vehicle that is equipped with a speed restricting device should be very clearly marked like the van I saw last weekend or it just may be an accident waiting to happen.

I wish the truck that I rented that afternoon had been clearly marked.  It would have saved some wear and tear on my already shaky moving day nerves.

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7 Comments
  1. I think those vehicles are unsafe. Sometimes you need to floor it to get out of a tight situation. And if you are used to being able to do so and then suddenly can’t? Danger, Danger, Will Robinson!

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  2. I bet this was scary. Thanks for the tip to others.

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  3. I first learned about governors on vehicles when we bought a new truck a few years ago & there was a governor at 160 kms. per hour. We lived in the middle of the bush & the road we had to use was so boring, if you didn’t speed you would fall asleep. Hubby was driving & was trying to pass someone when the engine just cut out for a few moments until we dropped back down under 160. I know this kind of speed is not recommended, but in our case it was necessary to keep us awake.

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