Ok, as promised – my thoughts on why people speed.

  1. Most obvious – “boy-racer” syndrome. Ridiculous and dangerous machismo, although this is more a feature of back streets and car-parks than motorways (but you do have to wonder when men in suits hare past at 150mph in their Audis)
  2. The difficulty of sticking to the speed limit (as I talked about in a previous post)
  3. Generally cars have gotten faster and safer, all of which tends to push up the perception of what speed is ‘safe’.
  4. Impatience, lateness, emergencies, …
  5. Most insidious of all, life has gotten faster.

It’s this last point that I think has lead to the average speed on motorways being nearer 80 these days. We feel like travelling is a waste of time, and so it’s something that should be got out of the way as quickly as possible. We try to cram in as much as possible, so that we have to travel quickly in order to get to the next thing in time. Faster trains and planes are lifted up as the ideal.

I’m as guilty of this as anyone – I often end up running to catch the train home because I wanted to do ‘just one more job’ before I left the office. Heh – even now I’ve just got in at 22.00 from a meeting, and have made a quick phone-call to arrange a friend’s visit this weekend and then quickly typed in all this, squeezing it all in before I feed Ben at 22.30.

I think it’s a shame though. We’ve lost the idea of travelling being a pleasure (probably because most of the time it isn’t), and imagine having the time to stop and literally smell the roses should it catch our fancy!