DriveSmart BC – The Psychology of Speeding

This must be speed week as I have heard from two drivers who are having difficulty following the speed limits and one who knew that he was speeding and wanted advice to plan his ticket dispute.  The three situations give some insight into how the pressures of every day driving encourage us to disobey.

Of the two who want to follow the speed limit, one is a commercial driver whose boss is directing him to speed. The other feels that if he doesn’t speed in his daily commute he’s going to be driven over by others that do.

Here are their stories:

    What is the purpose of a speed limit? I am asking because I recently began a new career driving semi truck long haul and I am not sure if speed limits are for safety. I say that because not many people actually do the speed limit and I am getting tired of being in trouble with my boss when I don’t speed, for example doing 110 in a 100 zone.

    I have many reasons for driving slower then posted speed: A heavy commercial vehicle traveling downgrade, Approaching and passing a temporary hazard, Driving at night, Poor weather conditions, Following an erratic driver or Poor road conditions.

    I value my drivers license because it cost me a lot of money to earn.

    I would like to have a reasonable response next time my boss gets mad when I am doing 105 in a 110 zone because he does not accept any of the reasons I have given here. I have tried using then as an answer when he wants me to drive faster and I want to drive a little slower.

    My goal is to arrive at my destination alive and to drive safely.

and

    I travel through a school zone on Hammond Bay Road in Nanaimo each day before 5 p.m. Nobody slows down.

    Last week a pickup truck roared by me at about 80 kph in that school zone.

    I really want to slow down and obey the law, but even if I’m traveling 45 in a 30 zone, the drivers behind me get all antsy. I’m not suggesting I would get a ticket for driving safely in a school zone, but what if I get ticketed for speeding?

    If I obey the zone, I impede traffic, if I go with the flow, I’m speeding. Seems to be a lose-lose situation.

The driver planning his dispute raised many of the points that I used to hear regularly at the roadside: I’m late and I have to pick up my family at the airport. It was down hill. I’m sorry. It’s a regular speed trap. I’ve only received one other ticket in my life. I always follow the rules. I’d pay the ticket if I didn’t get the points.

I’ll add one of my favourites: I set my cruise control for 10 over because the cops never write tickets for that.
Even our provincial government delivers mixed messages by strengthening the “even if you are doing the speed limit. get out of the left lane” rules.

For our truck driver, the situation that he finds himself in may be bullying in the workplace. WorksafeBC has a resource kit for that and it would be worthwhile for both him and the supervisor to do some reading. Careful documentation of each instance may be required to defend your position if you follow the speed laws and the company fires you because of it.

For our driver in the school zone, you control your speed, not the other driver. Travel through the zone at the appropriate speed and ignore them, unless doing so becomes dangerous. Then you can choose to pull over, stop and let them find someone else to endanger. Take the time to report them to police.

For our ticket disputant, well, good luck. You made the choice to speed and now you’ve been given the opportunity to pay the price. There’s lots of information here on this site to help you decide what to do, just use search. This is the most commonly disputed offence in traffic court and one that is difficult to beat.

Story URL: https://www.drivesmartbc.ca/speed/psychology-speeding

Constable Tim Schewe (Retired)

DriveSmartBC: Where better than average drivers satisfy their curiosity.

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