Jeff Yurek, Minister of Transportation, is expected to release more details later this week

Paula Duhatschek/CBC
Michael Raymond is a driving instructor with DriveWise.

A driving instructor from London, Ont. says increasing the speed limit on provincial highways would better reflect the speed that most drivers travel at, but he also is worried that some drivers may push their luck and drive even faster.

Last week, Minister of Transportation Jeff Yurek announced that the province will review speed limits and see if they should be raised. Part of the review will be a public consultation and pilot project, with further details expected this week.

An instructor with the company DriveWise, Michael Raymond, said that he currently teaches students to drive 100 to 110 km/h on the highways, accounting for traffic.

“If the flow of traffic is going 10 over, it’s almost more hazardous for you and other people to go the speed limit dead on the dot,” said Raymond.

While raising the speed limit would be “advantageous” because it would allow people to continue travelling at their current speeds without breaking the law, Raymond worries that some drivers might not be satisfied with the new limit and would continue to push their luck.

“They’re going to be going 130 km/h, 140 km/h, just to see if they can go even faster, because they think they still have that leeway, and that can be dangerous,” he said.

Stopping distance

A golden rule in Raymond’s driving classes is that, if you double your speed, your stopping distance is quadrupled.

You can drive at 120 km/h if conditions are safe… but any increase to speed can make reacting appropriately more difficult, Raymond said.

“A lot of people think … ‘I can go just as close to a person as I can in the city,’ [but] It doesn’t apply that way, it takes you longer to stop at every different speed,” he said.

Paula Duhatschek/CBC
A student sits in a driving simulator.

As an instructor, Raymond also worries about the impact of higher speed limits for novice drivers.

Even with the current limit of 100 km/h, many students are already too scared to drive on the highways, and Raymond said upping that limit could make that fear even worse.

“In Ontario you have to go on the highway as well as in the city for your full G license test, [and] with that people try to go to other small cities just so they can try to avoid the freeways,” Raymond said.

“But once the time comes where they have to do their driving on those roads, they’re not prepared themselves, making it more dangerous and hazardous to other people.”

While Raymond says that raising speed limits can theoretically be a good idea, he thinks the execution will largely depend on how well citizens cooperate with the new rules.

“Think this through a little bit more before the laws are passed,” he said.

Source: CBC News