When the “10kph over rule” doesn’t apply

Current society seems to have this road rule where it is OK to travel 10kph over the legal speed limit. It’s the unwritten rule, same as the half your...

Current society seems to have this road rule where it is OK to travel 10kph over the legal speed limit. It’s the unwritten rule, same as the half your age plus seven dating rule. But there are always exceptions to the rule. Here’s where…

As someone who enjoys driving cars more than most, I’ve heard about the 10kph over rule and know it’s more than just myth. No one, and I mean no one, can say they have never sped in their entire life. It’s just not possible – especially in Australia. With so many variations to the speed limit (which in itself is bloody stupid), there is no way you can honestly say you never missed a speed limit marker requiring you to slow down from your current speed. So what difference does it really make whether there is such thing as the 10kph over unwritten rule or not? After all, it’s still all illegal and we have all illegally sped.

But there are a couple of speed limits which just cannot be broken. 10kph rule or not, they should never be broken in any circumstance. Those are school zones and road works speed limits. Yet, every time I go past a road works area especially, there is someone riding my tail trying to get me to speed up faster than the 40kph limit, or another moron overtaking on the right heading up around the 60-70kph mark.

The difference between the 10kph over rule is that, if you do it (and we’re certainly not telling you it’s OK), you do it on an unobstructed road with free flowing traffic. Why the hell someone thinks that a 40kph limit sign around road workers is purely for decoration severely confuses me. That’s someones’ father/brother/mother/sister etcetera who you’ve just signalled you couldn’t give a toss about. What confuses me more is that, with all the roadwork signs, you can’t miss the speed limit and you know there are people physically standing inches away from the road as they work.

So why, then, does this seem to be the speed limit Australian’s have the most issue with sticking to? They’re enforceable speed limits, after all. The Whirlpool forums even have some joker asking if you still had to do the 40kph speed limit if you didn’t see anyone working. So in that case, you plan to hit the road at or over the speed limit, plough through a road working zone and then take your eyes off the road to see if you can find any workers so you can possibly get away with the speed limit you’re at? There is no on and off when it comes to working zones. When the signs are up the speed limits are enforceable.

It may seem like an odd time for a rant and to bring up the subject, but as someone who passes through one of these working zones everyday, and has been tailgated or overtaken everyday whilst going through (and sadly that’s not an exaggeration), it’s something that I think everyone should stop and have a good think about. If you want to speed and risk running off the road or having an accident all on your own, that’s you’re own business, you’re a consenting adult, you have your drivers’ license and you did your test – you know what you’re getting yourself into. But that chap by the side of the road with a shovel doesn’t have a choice.

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Motoring

Damian Francis has previously edited Australian T3 and F1 Racing magazine and wrote for GQ Australia and Men's Health. Unlike Nick and Trev, he has no kids, no mortgage and no wife, but lives happily on Sydney's North Shore with his girlfriend.
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