To the editor:
Here’s a piece of news for all you “speed racer” wannabees on the PIP, and elsewhere, but for argument's sake I’ll confine the discussion to the Palisades Interstate Parkway.
First of all I’d like to point out that in my 25 year career as an FX Coordinator I have likely wrecked more cars than most people reading this will ever own, some of them were really expensive cars, too. I like to consider this my small contribution to saving the planet.
I can tell you from the commercial industry side, those smash cut 30- or 60-second TV spots of the “hero car” power drifting turns and sliding miraculously into parking spaces; by the time we are done with the car, the car is pretty much “done” too; Suspensions are sacked or at least badly out of alignment, e brakes shot to hell and cv joints stressed out. The guys behind the wheel are “precision drivers” not talkative attorneys on cell phones by the way. Just because you can afford to buy the car doesn't mean you know how to drive it.
The distance from The George Washington Bridge and Exit 9 (287 or exit 8 Rt. 59) is approx 20 miles. Assuming a constant speed from point A to point B can be maintained (a big assumption with today’s traffic conditions), the time you save by driving 75 MPH as opposed to 55 MPH will be five minutes. It’s a way more complex problem to determine if speeding for short stretches makes up for sitting for long stretches and not moving at all but again I am talking specifically of the average 20-mile commute from our area to New York City.
Over longer distances of over 100 miles, yes driving at 70 or 75 will save you a half an hour. On the “big road” I will set my cruise control for just shy of 75 back and enjoy the ride. But I am talking about the Palisades, which by the way, the posted speed on this road is 50 MPH; seems about right on a road originally designed for 40 MPH. This is the single best reason to slow down even if you are coming in from Central Valley or Ulster or Putnam counties.
The road is over its design capacity, it is under maintained in many places and the acceleration/deceleration lanes don’t conform to modern speeds. So unless you are responding to some life-threatening situation, I don’t believe anyone reading this is so important as to need to save five minutes out of his or her day.
No counselor, your client’s threat to kill her soon to be ex husband is not imminent enough to make you that important. If you are chronically late for work I’d suggest you leave a little earlier. I am talking directly to those who drive this road at 70 or 80, talking on the phone and flashing their lights at me or worse, cutting in front of me and reducing my own safe braking distance by half of what I think it should be.
I am only going to mention in passing the gains in fuel savings driving at 55 or just over the speed limit on the PIP. Everybody can do their own math on that one. The one last point I’d like to make is to observe that every single fatal accident investigation on this road has found excessive speed to be a contributing factor. This I address to the guy who passed me approaching exit 9, on the back tire of his crotch-rocket doing at least 80.
It’s all fun and games until someone ends up on a back-board, or in a body bag.
—JC. Brotherhood, Nyack NY