Why do cars go faster than the highest speed limit?


If the highest speed limit is 60 why make cars go any faster than 60-70 at most?

In: Other

I would start off with understanding how a vehicle works.

While governors do exist to set a max speed limit for the car itself, it’s easily bypassed and is useless. Newer cars may be able to do what you’re saying, but I only work on older cars personally.

Montana has a speed limit of 80, they won’t make cars just for Montana. There are also time that for your own safety you need to accelerate faster than the speed limit to clear a bad situation. When it comes down to it people need to, and want to, have control over their safety and messing with that control is not a good idea if we aren’t full self-driving car mode.

There are a few factors at play here, but I think that the most obvious one is acceleration.

When you’re merging onto a highway, you’re only given a short amount of time to accelerate to highway speeds. If your car only had a max speed of say, 70 mph, it would take considerably longer for you to be able to hit highway speeds than if you’re car could go 130 mph. Think about how much larger and thusly expensive our roads would become if we had to accommodate for much larger acceleration ramps. Also, cars that only went 70 mph could probably not always maintain that speed due to hills/terrain and other external forces such as the wind.

Edit: typos

A car that could only go 60mph tops would have worse performance across the board which can actually be a safety issue as well as just being a pain to drive. It’s like why evelvators can easily carry much more weight than they’d ever realistically need too. It makes them more reliable and sturdy and outright more safe because they are never operating at the height of their capabilities. Same thing can be said of cars. Sometimes you need to accelerate quickly and being able to do so can be the difference between a crash and a near miss. A car that could only go 60 would also be constantly struglling at lower speeds which wouldnt fair well for the reliablity and longevity of said car. Also there are legit scenarios where traveling higher than the speed limit is pretty normal like driving in the fast lane on a highway. Better to have it and not need it than the opposite.

Mostly because people want to go faster than 60-70 mph, and car makers are in the (reasonable) habit of making cars that people want to buy. I don’t speed regularly (not really anyway), but there’s no way I’d want a car with a speed-limiter set anywhere below 110-120+. Not speeds I ever drive (maybe 85+/- is a max on long stretches of empty highway with 70+ speed limits, but even that is few and far between these days), but it’s nice to know if I ever needed some real velocity, it’s available. Besides, there are places where the official speed limit is 80mph, and the “unofficial” speed limit is even higher – there’s no reason to go less than 80-90 on long stretches of highway in some of the western and plains states (in the US).

As some have stated, different jurisdictions have different speed limits, even in the same jurisdictions different roads have different limits such as SH 130 in Texas has a speed limit of 85 where as IH 35 has a limit of 60-75 depending on the specific section of the highway, there is the safety aspect (losing the option to speed up in situations where that speed could be useful such as trying to quickly get out of the way), but also don’t forget that speed limits change.

If you have wondered why in older cars, say from the 70s and 80s, it’s pretty common to have 55 marked on the speedometer? Because for quite a while that was the highest speed limit in the US. There is actually an [Sammy Hagar](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RvV3nn_de2k) song about the old speed limit. And if you go back even further in history and jump across the pond to UK they originally had a speed limit of 20 mph. And who is to say that in the next 20-40 years as more automation takes over driving that we won’t be able to raise the speed limit even further?

The highest speed limit here is 85. And you still have to pass people sometimes. Besides, if everyone’s car was set to 70 when they introduced it, that would have been a clusterfuck. Also, people can and do race on tracks. That, and car manufacturer s aren’t there to enforce the law, they’re there to sell you a cool car.