I Can Drive 55

Even if I’ve done nothing wrong, my heart still jumps into my throat any time I either see a police car in my rearview mirror or drive by one running radar on the side of the road.


It doesn’t help when commercials or songs have sirens in them either, but that’s not my point.

My point is that I have nothing but respect for law enforcement—my dad was a cop and various family members/friends still are—but when I’m driving, it scares the crap out of me to see them on the road.

There’s really no reason for this paranoia.

I am normally a very law-abiding driver, give or take a few road rage urges from time to time, and I’ve only had one ticket in my 14 years of (legally) driving. It came when I was in high school after I unsuccessfully argued that there was no way my piece of shit Ford Escort could actually go 70 mph without spontaneously combusting.

The officer didn’t seem to care. 

Aside from that $80 misunderstanding, I was also pulled over two other times in college in the same exact spot in the same week—both times when I was skipping class, which should have been a sign. But that’s not important, as no ticket was issued either time.

However,  now every time I pass a cop and I’m actually going the speed limit, I feel like I should get some sort of extra credit or build up a stack of bonus points that I can cash in on those days I might not be going the speed limit, hypothetically speaking, of course.

This hasn’t caught on yet, but there’s still hope.

I bring this up because there has been an interesting development recently concerning the speed limits on a few of the roads in my area. They have raised them without telling anyone, and by “anyone,” of course I mean me.

There are a couple stretches of road that have been set at 35 mph and 45 mph respectively for as long as I can remember, and quite honestly, that was kind of a ridiculous expectation. Most people—not me, of course—went 45 in the 35 and at least 50 in the 45.

These stretches of road were also popular speed traps.

But as I was driving along the other day, I noticed that people were flying by me a bit more than normal. After mentally performing a citizen’s arrest, I caught sight of the speed limit sign, one that seemed to have gained 10 mph since the last time I took note.

speed limit

What? How is this not broadcast on the news? Did I miss a memo?

It seems the powers that be either tired of having to hear bullshit excuses from people being pulled over in this area or finally realized the ridiculousness of their “speed suggestions” and changed the speed limits. This delighted me, not because I want to speed, but because it just seems to make more sense.

But the truth?

Now that the law has been changed, I feel like a total rebel badass and purposely go that route at times just so I can legally zoom down the streets a good 10 mph faster than I’ve been able to do in the past. People who haven’t been as observant as yours truly stare at me as I whiz by, most likely praying I get caught in the speed traps so often set on this stretch.

But little do they know that I will NOT be caught in this trap, as I am simply abiding by the new speed suggestions. Yes, now I can legally drive 55 without crapping kittens* if I pass a cruiser poised on the side of the road sticking something that resembles a hairdryer out of his/her window.

*OK. That’s not true. My heart will still jump into my throat, but that kind of detracts from the badass-ness I am trying to exhibit here.

I was born to be wild.

So spill it. How’s your driving?

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46 responses to “I Can Drive 55

  1. My driving has been described as ‘scatty’.

    Fair point.

  2. My driving style is: Drive as fast as I can until something is in my way. Find away around that thing. Drive as fast as I can.

    I’ve been pulled over about 20 times, and gotten 2 tickets. The two tickets came when I was older. That’s when I knew I was officially old and any powers to charm my way out of trouble were lost. The mirror had been trying to tell me it for years but I’d refused to admit it.

  3. At least according to my husband, I am a speed demon. I think of it as going slightly over the limit.

    We have photo radar here, where the cameras are perched throughout the city and automatically mail you photos and speeding tickets. No demerits, big dinero. Not fun for me. Seems to entertain the husband…

  4. Amy and I have a similar driving style…except when my kids are in the car, I keep it reasonable. Unfortunately, my boobs aren;t as nice as ya’lls so I’ve had several tickets.

  5. Hahah. But what if they change it back to 45 the day day you’re driving on it and you don’t notice and you get pulled over and the cops don’t believe you?!?!

    Sorry. I had a ford escort in high school too. Woop woop!!

  6. I tend to ignore posted limits and drive at a speed I feel comfortable with based on the road and weather conditions. Well, I used to. Now that I have kids, I follow the rules (most of the time). I’ve never been pulled over for anything and I’m going on almost 30 years of driving.

    • And hopefully now that you said that, you won’t get pulled over today. After posting this, I’m now paranoid the universe will force me to slightly speed and get a ticket this week, just because I wrote this post.

  7. Going 55 mph in a 55 mph zone? That’s badass! You go, girl 😉

    • Ironically, it’s in a School Zone, so I’m not really sure what they’re thinking. However, when the “school” light blinks, it’s back to 35…

  8. You wild woman. I am like you–I see a cop car and I slam on the breaks even if I am going under the speed limit. The thought of a nice $150 buck ticket and a scolding from an officer scare me every single time.

  9. I’ve only been pulled over once and it was in college. I was on my way back to school after partying at home all weekend and it was 6:30 and I was looking… rough. I didn’t even try to get out of it.

  10. Do you dress in all leather, wear driving gloves with holes over the knuckles and sport Terminator-style sunglasses now as you speed along?
    I bet you look fabulous.

    I am also a Law Abiding Betty but get nervous when I hear sirens or see a cop in my rearview. The one time I was pulled over was in high school and I yelled at the cop for wasting his time with me, when I was actually under the speed limit. He gave me the ticket, which I fought & won because I Was Innocent.

    But, still. I get nervous.

  11. Wow, I’m impressed with your driving record! I am a disaster in a car. You already know the story of my “big” accident, but did you also know that, one time, I drove up a cement set of stairs because I wasn’t wearing my glasses and I thought they were a ramp? Or that, one time, I didn’t see the cement block dividing my parking space from the space in front of me so I drove forward and got my car stuck over it and had to ask a father with a toddler and a garbage man from a nearby restaurant to push me out? Or that, one time, I backed into a cement wall in a parking lot? I could go on and on. All I’m going to say is, I’ve also never gotten a speeding ticket. So that’s something, right? Riiiiight?

    • Wow. I’m glad you live in Canada. I will admit that I’m not the “best” when it comes to depth perception though, so I could easily have the laundry list of incidents that you have. However, I’m glad you live in Canada.

  12. I have the exact same reaction whenever I see a cop while driving. Even though, I am never going more than 5 above the speed limit.

    I have a friend who got pulled over for doing 80 in a 50. The cop didn’t give him a ticket though because he thought my friend’s motorcycle was so awesome.

  13. I am pretty sure I know one of the roads you are speaking of. I drive it every morning now that I drop Eden off in Standale and don’t want to sit in the KHHS traffic on the other route. I do the exact same thing and will often smile to myself while passing other people who didn’t notice the change. It makes for a great morning everyday.

  14. I have once received a speeding ticket, and that was 4 years ago for traveling 37 mph in a 25 zone. I was 63 at the time, so I guess I’ve been lucky. I did get a few warnings over the years, but only one ticket! Now I’m too old to speed! lol

  15. My mom has worked for PennDot and told me that they don’t pull over anything above 11mph over the limit in PA. I live by that rule and I’ve never gotten a ticket.

    Cops cars still freak me out though – you are not alone!

  16. Melanie The Spork Lover

    I have been in trouble with the law, all times which were absolutely and totally deserved. Now that I am a square, I still freak out every time I see a highway patrol or police car as well. The freeway speed limits here are 65. I usually go about 70. If I’m feeling like a badass I’ll go 75, but that rarely happens as badass is quickly replaced with paranoid old lady.

    Also, when it rains I’m in the slow lane going 55. People that drive mega fast in the rain really scare me. They scare me, and sometimes I wish their car would flip, causing no injuries, just so they would stop doing that.

    • Weather is a totally different story I won’t get into here. I live in Michigan. We get tons of snow. People know this, yet forget how to drive in snow the first three months of winter. The ice stinks, but I’ll admit I hate driving in rain more than snow. It’s a depth perception thing.

  17. I try to be a law abiding and safe and courteous driver. But when I see cops on the road I think I karmically get them to pull me over because I get so paranoid that they’re watching me that I start making mistakes.

    I used to “race” people on the freeway and on major urban streets from one stoplight to the next. Now my transmission’s blown so I can only go 45 in the 45 and when people tailgate me (because you’re supposed to go 55 in a 45 right?) I slow down to 40.

  18. There was this one rap song I used to listen to all the time when I went on long drives, but I eventually had to weed it out of my iTunes mix because the siren in the song CONSTANTLY gave me heart palpitations.

    I’m the safest driver on the planet, but for some reason, my brain isn’t convinced.

  19. I consistently drive 5-10 mph over the speed limit, except in residential areas. My car prefers to drive 80 mph whenever possible (10 over the freeway limit in my area). Some days I really think I should have tried out for NASCAR.

  20. On my way to San Francisco this Christmas I hit 90 in a 70 zone without even realizing it. I quickly slowed down to the 80 everyone else was doing. Around my rural valley I rarely go above 40. Too many deer and other critters that I worry about hitting.

    • I have critter issues too, seeing as I leave for work very early when the deer are running. However, highways are a bit different for me. It’s easy to go with the (fast and furious) flow.

  21. haha, you should have seen me when we first arrived here. speed limit signs said 100. Ya, that kilometers, but you can imagine my heart jumped a beat when i thought it was miles. But even then, i drive 5mph over the speed limit max. I’ve learned that any more and cops go crazy to get ya in TX.

  22. I used to brag about having never been pulled over until I ran a red light and plowed into another car in 2010. Technically, I’ve still never been pulled over, but it just doesn’t carry the same smug glory it used to.

  23. Its weird. I’ve gotten into accidents but most were completely not my fault. Yea, I bet everyone says that, but in my case its very true. Drivers (LA drivers especially) are lunatics. Tickets? I’ve only gotten two. One for talking on my phone (which was awful because I was talking to my dad ho JUST came out of fucking brain surgery!) and the other for driving 45 in a 35 zone. So you see, I am the real bad ass here.

    I’m gonna invest in segway.

    • My only ticket came when I was driving from one funeral to another. That was seriously a bad day, but the cop didn’t seem to care. Total bummer.

  24. StoriesAndSweetPotatoes

    How uncommon for speed limits to change. I’ve never seen that happen. I drive around paranoid about getting pulled over all the time, particularly when it’s dark because I can’t tell which cars are cops. When I first started driving I got a few speeding tickets and they were kind of traumatizing experiences. Lately I don’t speed at all and people honk and go around me on double yellow lines when I’m going the speed limit. I’ve never done that. I don’t understand the thought process at all. Where I live you’d only pass people if you want to die. I only care because if they die in front of me I might die behind them too.
    Have fun Speedy!

    • I can’t stand people that pass on double yellow lines. Unless it’s an emergency, there’s no reason to freaking speed like a lunatic. And why are there never any cops waiting for those people? Why, I ask?

  25. I know of some of the roads that your talk about. There have been changes in a handful of areas around here. It’s going to take a while to get used to. I still feel kind of paranoid going that fast, I feel like I’m still going to get caught and handed that ticket.

    • I know! I’m specifically talking about Walker by the Meijer offices and 3 Mile by the school and fire department. I’ve noticed it in a couple other places as well. Weird.

  26. I get exactly the same way with sirens! Even if they’re in the background of music or whatever (maybe that’s why I don’t like rap much?). I don’t know why this is – it’s not like I grew up next to a fire station or anything. I grew up on military bases! Totally different. Oh… hmm.

    I love you Abby for being neurotic about speed limits too!

  27. Nice track record.

    Me? Um… let’s not get into it (there may have been one day with two stops. In one day. For another time…)

    And, you know, I swear they lower speed limit around here. Wtf.

  28. You would think it would be the opposite-tell you when they’re raising it and not utter a word when they lower it. Interesting.

    I used to have a lead foot (ok still do) but I’ve gotten better in the past years. After bragging about how my tickets I’ve had, I realized it would be cheaper for me to just slow do and be. I also got a ticket for tailing someone on the highway but again, those were my younger, reckless days.

  29. I used to be a habitual speeder. Back in my 20’s I was definitely NOT a law abiding citizen. Now that I am well into my 30’s I have since calmed down.

    A lot.

    We have two roads near by where the speed limit is 35 – 40 MPH. Which I adhere to. However, I do wish they would raise it to at least 50.

    Have fun legally zooming down the streets a good 10 mph faster!

  30. I am so careful since I got a ticket a couple of years ago. I was driving down a stretch of road in March, black ice. I saw the cop waiting in the opposite direction. I barely hit the brakes and slid. It was so scary. Lost control of the car, went through the other lane of traffic and slammed into a snow bank a few yards from the waiting officer. If he hadn’t been there I wouldn’t have hit the breaks and slid. He gave me a huge ticket, had to have the car towed. I was freaked and pissed that I had to pay a couple hundred bucks.

  31. My brother who is objectively a horrible driver (and the two side view mirrors hanging on by threads and flapping in the wind as he drives attest to that) calls himself a “lucky” driver whenever any passenger understandably panics. Despite his unqualified lack of focus or skill he has avoided accidents. He’s a very lucky driver.

  32. Also, I think “lead foot” is an actual affliction. My high school driving instructor had me take off my shoes when I would drive. You know… to lighten my “lead foot.”

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