Simple math and rudimentary physics teaches us that the harder people hit, the harder they fall…
B.C. drivers are getting used to a faster life in the fast lane very quickly.
News of the hike of 10 km/h to the posted speed limit on long stretches of major highways was announced swiftly the other weekend, taking many by surprise.
By Sunday, I was taking a 2014 Toyota Highlander for a faster spin on the Okanagan Connector/Coquihalla Highway route than I had expected when I headed to Kelowna days earlier. What was still more surprising was that the signage reflecting the higher speed limits was already up. (I’ve never see the provincial government bureaucracy move so fast!)
This was not going to be a trip to try to prove or disprove Toyota’s boast that the 3.5-litre V6 under the hood would, with the aid of the six-speed auto transmission, transport me to the coast sipping just 8.2-litres for every 100 klicks travelled. No, I would be calling on all 270 horses to do more than canter up those steep hills that separate the Okanagan from the Lower Mainland.
Climbing to the Pennask summit was a quiet and fast run. The cruise control was set to the maximum limit of 120 km/h… and I was passed by everyone on the road!
Some things don’t change. Hike the limit and most drivers will tack on another 10 klicks. I passed a few nervous folks, who seemed determined to stick to the defunct maximum of 110.
Speed differential is what causes big problems on the highway. If there is a wide variation and people are not showing lane discipline i.e. keep right unless passing, that’s a recipe for disaster as impatience and frustration takes over.
I tacked on another five klicks so as not to be too far out-of-sync with my fellow travellers. However, along stretches of the Coquihalla, my 125 wasn’t enough to satisfy the need for speed exhibited by many others. On the straights, 130 was the low end and I figure that most who passed me were travelling at nearer 140. The descent to Hope was like a racetrack but then it always is.
In the days that followed, the anti-speed lobby woke up and took to the airwaves with dire warnings of increased carnage. Simple math and rudimentary physics teaches us that the harder people hit, the harder they fall. Let’s hope the poor driving practices that lead to such collisions don’t increase and reprove such a simple truth.
P.S. I achieved 9.5 L/100km on the journey home.