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55-M.P.H. Speed Limit Outside Urban Centers

October 04, 1986

I recently returned from a trip to Lake Shasta, using Routes 5 and 99 going north and Route 5 on my return. I began the drive by sticking to 55 m.p.h. as my speed limit. Thus began the farce of speed-law obedience in California.

Fifty miles into my trip, I realized that maintaining the legal speed limit was unsafe, I was nearly rear-ended by a dozen trucks, vehicles passed me so fast and so close that I decided that sideswiping must be a driving diversion to help pass the time.

Even two California Highway Patrol cars cruised past going at least 70. They, by the way, were the only CHP vehicles I saw from Los Angeles to Modesto. I did see a lot of highway signs saying that speed was monitored from the air. It may be monitored, but it sure isn't being slowed down.

A defensive driver (meaning anyone with any sense at all) really has to maintain a low speed of 60-65 m.p.h. to protect himself. Going any slower is dangerous. It can actually cause accidents. It's a sad comment on things when you cannot be law-abiding on the road out of fear for your safety.

CHRIS MARCONI

Los Angeles

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