The Maine DOT announced this week that on March 27, they will be returning the speed limit on I-295 from Falmouth to Topsham to 65 MPH. Based on the data they have collected, this is a smart move for everyone's safety.

Since the speed limit was raised to 70 MPH, the accident rate on this stretch of road has gone up 29%. That's a lot, and it isn't happening on any other section of I-295. Many drivers think lowering the speed limit is unnecessary and that the real problem is distracted driving as people talk and text on their phones. The DOT doesn't deny this, but something has to be done and done now.

Lowering your speed gives you more time to react. According to How A Car Works, your car travels a long distance while you are simply reacting to a situation in the road and even further while you carry out your actions to avoid that situation. You must constantly allow for the reaction time needed before you brake, steer or accelerate.

At 70 MPH if you're reaction time is 0.9 seconds and you hit the brake, your car will still travel over 90 feet before coming to a stop. Reaction times of course are different for each person and the situation, but to put it in perspective, professional race drivers typically have a reaction time of 0.2 seconds. At 65 MPH the distance you travel drops and increases everyone's safety.

Then again, what's the hurry anyway? To travel the 53 miles from Falmouth to Topsham at 70 MPH it will take you about 45 minutes. If you slow down to 65 MPH it will take about 48 minutes. Three minutes. Of course, you might be driving faster than the speed limit. At 80 it would take you 40 minutes while your reaction time drops significantly. Aren't five minutes or less worth the safety? I think so.

I'll wave to you from the slow lane.

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