Speed Warnings

On the street where my older kids’ high school is, there is a light-up sign that tells you your current speed. It’s meant to be a traffic calming thing so that if you see you are going too fast, you slow down.

I am developing very strong negative feelings towards this sign because I feel it is very unfair. The limit on that road is 40 km/h. The sign will show your speed in green, with a happy face, if you are going 40 km/h or slower.

However, once you are going 41 or higher, it flips to flashing red with a frowny face.

I think it isn’t a deterrent at all if you are going to lump in people going 41 km/h with people going 65 km/h. If everything over 40 is 100% WRONG, then I feel like I just want to ramp it up. Because why wouldn’t you – you’re in the wrong already, may as well crank it to 80, right?

I would say I am typically going between 40 and 45 on that road which, in my opinion, isn’t that bad. I think I don’t deserve the red flashing and frowny face. I think there should be more of a yellow area here. Maybe with a neutral kind of straight-mouth face. I could live with the gentle warning that I’m getting a little speedy.

But to classify me at 42 km/h as being LIFE SENTENCE SERIAL KILLER GUILTY seems extreme, don’ t you think?

There is a similar sign on a much larger, busier road that I pass every week on my way to tap class. On that road, the limit is 80 but there is a nice yellow buffer zone from 80 to 90 where your speed is shown in an amber colour, not flashing, and only goes to flashing red around 90 somewhere.

MUCH more sensible.

This whole thing is like a real-life microcosm of the show The Good Place, which just concluded its four-year run with a discussion of the concept of Punishment Fits the Crime, and also the idea of a “medium place” for people who aren’t saints, but aren’t really bad either.

There should be a Medium Place of speed calming signs, is all I’m saying, and if this doesn’t get resolved soon, I may throw a baseball bat in the back of my car next time I’m heading out to the high school, NO REASON.

5 thoughts on “Speed Warnings

  1. Someone in my household (not saying who, but the only person other than me who is a fully licensed driver) sees these signs as a challenge and says, “Ha! I won!” when they flash red. So … not sure they’re the deterrent they’re supposed to be.

  2. smot

    I’m totally with you on this. We have a few of those signs around our neighbourhood. Some are straight up frowns on when you are +1 over the limit and a couple have the straight mouth amber warning face. I much prefer those.

  3. Mark Davis

    Yup. There’s one on the main artery near our house. Speed limit is 40 mi/h, the speed display flashes if you’re between 40 and 45, and once you hit 45, bright white lights start flashing and the sign changes to say “SLOW DOWN!”. I consider it an off day if I don’t manage to get it to that last stage.

    Funny story – there’s another one a little further away that used to be on my way home from work. It just displayed your speed if you were below the limit (35 mi/h, IIRC), and then the display would flash if you were over the limit. I always knew it worked, because I could see it when cars ahead of me would trigger it. But for some reason it never showed anything when I drove past it, as if it just wasn’t turned on.

    Eventually I found the reason. If you are over 35 mi/h, it flashes your speed, but if you go up over 50 mi/h, the display turns off completely, presumably as a deterrent for people trying to see how high they can get it.

    So, yeah. It never worked for me because I never drove past it at less than 15 mi/h over the speed limit.

  4. I agree. I get the idea behind it – we all want to keep our kids safe, but . . .
    I also have an issue with speed bumps that are SO big you have to slow down to 10 km/h to get over them without damage to the vehicle. If the speed limit is 40 km/h, the speed bumps should match?

  5. bibliomama2

    This is hilarious. “I’m speeding but not THAT much!” I agree, though. Plus, when I do slow down just to get them to turn green I am going RIDICULOUSLY SLOW, like, there never a reason to be going that slow unless there are children in the road right in front of you, whereupon you WILL ALREADY be going that slow. I also slightly hate the countdown numbers for traffic lights, because they draw my eye more than they should and I don’t WANT to be trying to see how much time is left while approaching a light.

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