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Rules & regulations

The 5 biggest reasons to slow down for speed limit changes

We know - 'speed limits are there for a reason'. We've heard it a million times.

But do you ever properly think about what those reasons are? If you don't, it's pretty easy to ignore that 40 sign as you cruise happily at 50...and then find those reasons out the hard way.

There's always a reason for a big drop in speed, like from 80km/h to 50 or even a slim 50km/h to 40. Ignoring it puts you and everyone around you in danger.
  1. Something bad happened there

    You've seen those flowers by the side of the road and you know what they mean. But you actually don't see the half of it. You don't see the crashes where no one died - just suffered injuries that will stay with them for life.

    If serious crashes happen regularly in a certain area, the province may be forced to change the speed limit. So when you see a decrease in speed limit sign, think about what might have happened there.

    Don't be the reason it has to change again.

  2. There is a hidden hazard

    Even if you drive this route every single day, you don't see what goes on when you're not there. You may be prone to accidents on a particular street because of poor sightlines from side streets.

    Even if it’s not your fault when a turning car can’t see you coming, drive at the posted speed limit to lower your chances of a nasty collision.

  3. Kids on the street

    Gosh-darned cute as they may be, kids are also unpredictable, excitable, and often oblivious to rules. You have to be extra, extra careful while driving around schools, parks, and playgrounds. The good folks at the City have made that easy for you by posting lowered speed limits.

    If you see a black and white sign around a school that says 40km/hr, you must obey the rule all year round, at all times of the day and on weekends, even if you think school’s out.

    And I don’t want to be macabre, or anything, but let’s just make one thing clear: You will never recover from hurting a child with your car.

  4. Your brain needs to reset

    Remember: After driving at 100km/hr, 50 will feel REALLY slow. Make a point of regularly checking your speed after a big drop.

    When you come off the highway, you might quickly find yourself approaching a 50km/hr limit. And if you’re not paying enough attention, that could mean having to brake harshly to control your speed - or missing the change altogether.

    Preparing for big speed changes is incredibly important. You must be alert for new hazards, and that requires a much lower speed. If you don’t slow down, it’s simple - you’re more likely to crash.

    But it's not just leaving the highway that's the issue - with variable speed limits for high traffic areas and toll roads, you need to stay sharp on the highway too. Plan your route so you know exactly what you're going to encounter on the journey. Don't drive on autopilot.

  5. You're one of the good guys

    Respecting other people is a big part of being on the road, whether that's other drivers, cyclists or pedestrians.

    Be mindful of residential areas - it's only fair to be considerate to the people who live there. If you've ever been knocked off your bike, or nearly hit while going down a narrow rural lane, or been drenched as you walked to school, you'll know there are already enough thoughtless drivers out there.

    Don't be the bad guy.


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Honor joined ingenie in 2014 and is in charge of words on the Young Driver's Guide and blog. She started learning to drive last year, at the age of 24.