Where Do You Draw The Line?


Suppose you have a drive to do that totals 65 miles. Assuming the speed limit is 65 miles per hour, how long will it take you to make the trip?

Next time you make the drive, you are stuck going merely 26 miles per hour in the final 13 miles. There may be traffic. Assume you still go 65 miles per hour for the first leg of the trip. How long will it take you to make the whole 65 mile trip?

On the final drive, you decide to “speed” (break the speed limit) in the first 52 mile leg, going 75 miles per hour for that distance. You are still stuck going 26 miles per hour in the final 13 miles. How long will it take you to make the whole 65 mile trip?


In fact, a 65 mile trip at a speed of 65 miles per hour takes 1 hour to complete.

It takes 0.5 hours to make a 13 mile trip at a speed of 26 miles per hour. Combined with the 52 miles on the first leg, you will find a 65 mile trip with traffic takes 1 hour and 18 minutes.

On the trip where you “speed”, it is found that the entire 65 mile trip takes 1 hour and 11.6 minutes.

Thoughts and Opinions

Where do you draw the line?

In the state I am from, New Jersey, this is a common experience typically referred to as “driving down the shore.” Commonly, you will be stuck going a slow average speed as you get closer to the beach. The reasons are obvious but many frustrated hours are spent by millions every summer on this matter.

Young drivers, especially those who know how to average up in a race, may make decisions based on facts and feelings surrounding this very experience. Without any more thought, many former young drivers hold on to conclusions formed in their early years.

The invention of the radio predated the automobile by a considerable amount of time. The earliest cars did not have radios, but people found that facts and entertainment enhance the driving experience. Nowadays you would be lucky (or unlucky) to find a car without a radio.

On a hot summer morning, the traffic report may come in while you are on the open highway:

” Expect half-hour delays. “

Does that mean your trip will be half of an hour (0.5 hours) longer than it would be otherwise? Checked against the facts above, experiencing a half hour of excruciating traffic actually implies that your total trip is only 18 minutes longer. Should they have said expect a 20 minute delay instead? If they did say that, can I expect to actually be sitting in traffic for 30 minutes?

Numbers can be facts and support facts, and they can also be misleading. What is the absolute unavoidable truth? The reality is, you will be stuck in traffic for 30 minutes regardless of the decision you make earlier on. Numbers and facts can help you make a good decision or a bad decision. Ultimately numbers cannot do the thinking for you.

The difference in time saved by speeding is 6 minutes and 24 seconds. You could leave 6 minutes earlier, or spend 6 less minutes at the beach.

Feel free to email me with your thoughts and opinions on this matter at andrew@ahogan.org.