ATLANTA -- As Memorial Day weekend approaches, the Governor's Office of Highway Safety is urging drivers to buckle up and slow down. A recent survey shows drivers in the South have a need for speed and we were able to prove it's true.
|Check out our video and see for yourself|
We set our cruise control to the posted speed limit. It's 55 mph heading north on I-85 out of downtown Atlanta. We watched as car after car passed us, some more quickly than others.
"For every mile per hour over the speed limit, that's increasing your chance that you're going to get into a more serious accident," said Katie Fallon of the Governor's Office of Highway Safety.
That can be deadly. Every year in Georgia about 200 people die in crashes where speed is a contributing factor. A recent Allstate survey on driving habits shows that 56 percent of drivers in the south are more likely to have received a ticket for speeding or other moving violations.
In our test, it appeared we were the only ones traveling the speed limit. That also made it an uncomfortable situation, as vehicles would approach quickly from behind and then move out to pass us.
"Maybe they should change the speed limit," one driver told us, when asked about the 55 mph limit.
We asked Georgia's Department of Transportation about the speed limit on the interstates inside I-285.
Natalie Dale of GDOT responded in an email:
GDOT made it our policy to maintain a 55 mph speed limit within very urban areas primarily for safety reasons. With these areas of high traffic volume, closely spaced interchanges and 11' lanes (where the HOV lane is), 55 mph is what we consider to be the maximum, reasonably safe speed limit. The landscape of the downtown connector, combined with the high level of congestion and the excessive level of lane changing and merging, provides an atmosphere that warrants an artificially lower speed limit to ensure a safe and continuous traffic flow. That is why everything inside I-285 is 55 mph (as is I-285 itself), but the limit increases to 65 mph once you get outside I-285.
Speed limits are tailored for "worse case" conditions, like peaks times, not necessarily for late at night or weekends when the lanes are free and clear. However, drivers are still expected to follow the speed limit and remain alert. We hope that Georgians are especially cautious this weekend as motorists on our roadway increase during the Memorial Day weekend.