Speeding is Dumb

Adulting 0 Comments

Years ago the Boss and I were driving from Knoxville Tennessee to New York City. Somewhere in Virginia, I got pulled over and received a punishing speeding ticket.

She had all sorts of emotions I didn’t expect. First was a mix of shock, fear, and embarrassment.  Surprisingly, that was the first time she had ever been in a car that got pulled over (she’s from Brooklyn and didn’t have her license until she was 30). Those emotions were quickly replaced by anger when she saw the $170 fine and understood that we’d have to drive 7 hours to rural Virginia if we wanted to fight it.

I was angry too. But we were angry at different people. I was angry at the system and the police officer who gave me the ticket.

She was angry at me.

I tried to defend myself. I explained how safe a driver I was and how I always drive at a speed that’s safe given weather and traffic conditions. I preached about the revenue-generating motives of rural municipalities lucky enough to have jurisdiction over a stretch of interstate highway.

She listened with a patience and calm that I would not experience on a regular basis until we had many more years of marriage under our belt. After I made my case she asked three simple questions:

“How fast were you going?” (80)

“What is the speed limit? (65)

“How much faster will going 80 get us to New York?”

I immediately answered “gotta be hours“. She told me to do the math. Here’s the math (as the bird flies)

  • Knoxville TN to Brooklyn NY: 716 miles
  • Travel time at 65mph: 11.01 hours
  • Travel time at 80mph: 8.95 hours
  • Difference: 2 hours

So…..2 hours. Here was the next question:

“Is 2 hours worth $170 and upsetting me?”

I had to admit…it was not. That was the last time I ever willfully went more than 5 miles above the speed limit.

Now you may say “2 hours is a lot”. But you have to realize that’s over the course of a journey spanning over 700 miles. Check out them math on a more typical car drive:

  • Distance to wherever: 10 miles
  • Travel time at 65mph: 9 minutes, 14 seconds
  • Travel time at 80mph: 7 minutes, 30 seconds
  • Difference:  1 minute, 44 seconds

Now I ask you is 1 minute and 44 seconds worth $100-something dollars, points on your license, and pissing off your wife? Hint: that’s rhetorical question.

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