Why Can Cars Go Faster Than Maximum Speed Limits?

It’s common knowledge that speed limits exist almost everywhere in the world. These limits also vary depending on whether it’s a highway or a road in the city.

However, you’ve probably wondered why cars are mechanically equipped to drive faster than these limits. Think no more, we’ve answered all questions you might have.

Here’s the short answer to why cars can go faster than maximum speed limits:

First, there’s no global standard for speed limits, and different automakers around the world manufacture different cars. Hence, preventing cars from attaining high speeds would limit automakers from reaching the global market. It’s way easier to have fast cars and law-abiding citizens.

Why Can Cars Go Significantly Faster Than Speed Limits?

We tire of hearing about police chases and car accidents that occur because drivers cannot adhere to speed limits. This begs the question, why not make it impossible for cars to drive that fast?

First, owning a car that can’t go faster than the speed limit is very dangerous. While this sounds odd, there’s a perfect explanation for it. Despite speed limits set on roads, all cars don’t all move at the same speed.

This means some cars would overtake others and that may warrant that cars go faster (momentarily) than speed limits. That’s why powerful cars can comfortably overtake a long line of slow-driving trucks with little hassle.

However, some states are strict with their speed limits and drivers may have to lag slow trucks. This disparity by location is simply why there can be no single universal standard.

Also, not all cars with really high speeds stated in their speed meters can go that fast. Most times, automakers just slap one type of meter on all of their vehicles. So, just because your minivan has 150 mph on its speed meter doesn’t mean it’ll ever go that fast.

Also, different roads have different speed limits, so it’ll be tricky to determine the limit to set for all cars. That’s if we’re considering speed restriction policies for all automobiles. Besides, minivans, trucks, sedans, and pony cars are all designed to have different maximum speeds.

Why Don’t the Government Restrict How Fast Cars Can Go?

We’d start by clarifying a common misconception. High speeds aren’t the problem, so the government can’t simply restrict car speeds. Driving at a high speed is not dangerous.

Some roads, especially major highways, are meant to accommodate high speeds. In fact, on such roads, any car with a low cruising speed would be a danger to all other cars. On the other hand, high-traffic roads need cars to go much more slowly.

Hence, different roads have different definitions of appropriate driving speed. Now you understand why high speeds aren’t always bad, rather, inappropriate speed is dangerous.

Politically, imposing speed limits on cars would likely not sit well with governments in some countries. Car companies also cannot just put speed limiters on all their vehicles. You can guess this would be bad for business.

So, with many roads and speed ranges (not speed limit) today, the government can’t do much. If they were to instruct automakers to stick to a standard, it’ll be American automakers only.

To maintain that standard, they’ll also have to stop foreign manufacturers from selling to the American market. A more realistic option would be to make them tweak the versions meant for Americans.

Instead of using speed limiters, automakers might have to use less powerful engines to achieve this goal. Using less powerful engines also wouldn’t provide a limit. Rather, a range of limits for all vehicles. It’s obvious that one problem leads to another, and it doesn’t end.

Another good reason the government wouldn’t restrict cars is for safety reasons. You may need a powerful car to help you escape harm or drive a bleeding person to get care.

You never know what might happen. So, it makes almost no sense to restrict speeds because of a few people who might break the law.

Related: Do All Cars Shake At Higher Speed?

Can You Install Speed Limiters in a Car?

Although most modern cars are factory equipped with speed limiters, you can always go for an aftermarket option.

As you’ve probably guessed, this comes as a handy tool.

However, to program a top speed that can’t be exceeded, an aftermarket option usually works best. This is because of how factory-equipped speed limiters operate.

Many electric cars are speed limited:

With a factory-equipped limiter, you can quickly set a speed limit on any road. This helps if you don’t want to go over the speed limit on that road for any reason. However, it’s not usually effective for controlling adolescent driving because you can easily override it with the accelerator pedal.

If you only need a speed limiter because you’d like to watch your speed sometimes, a factory-equipped one would do. However, if you need it for teen speed control, you may need an aftermarket speed limiter.

There are many options available that are compatible with a wide range of cars.

If you drive a Ford, the factory-equipped Ford MyKey may also function as a speed limiter. It helps parents regulate things like radio volume, seatbelts, low fuel reminders, and of course, the speed limit. However, ensure you don’t set the maximum permissible speed to be too low.

Also, don’t mistake a speed limiter for cruise control. While they operate similarly, they have differences, and speed limiters ensure you don’t drive faster than the set limit. Cruise control, however, helps you maintain a steady speed, and this gives your foot a break from the accelerator.

Despite the supposed benefit of speed limiters, many people are skeptical about adopting them. Some believe they’ll do more harm than good on highways as there’ll be more “interaction between cars”.

Increased interaction would be inevitable because of uneven speeds among different vehicles.

Related: Car Won’t Accelerate At High Speeds? (Easy Checklist)

Do All Countries Allow Cars To Be Able To Go Faster Than the Maximum Speed Limit?

In most countries, you aren’t allowed to drive over the speed limit for whatever reason. So, you can’t always add a little extra speed when overtaking.

Almost anywhere in the world, there are monetary fines that drivers who exceed speed limits would have to pay. More extreme cases may attract punishments as severe as a jail term.

However, certain conditions may warrant an exception in some countries. They may allow cars to go faster if there’s an emergency. Most countries are strict on the laws and still don’t permit going over the limit even in an emergency.

They would only permit an exception for emergency vehicles like police cars and fire trucks. However, law enforcement officers might be lenient. If it’s a serious emergency, they might even help you get to your destination safely.

Note that it’s usually not a written rule, but rather just people being considerate.

So, wherever you are, going over the limit because of an emergency shouldn’t get you in much trouble. If it’s a life-threatening situation, you have more reason to break the speed limit.

What Type of Cars Have Built-in Speed Limiters?

Most modern cars have built-in speed limiters installed in them. New cars from brands like BMW, Mercedes Benz, Peugeot, Tesla, Ford, and Nissan have driver-controlled speed limiters.

You can read here exactly why electric cars are speed-limited – there are several good reasons!

Almost all modern cars today have them.

If you want a brand-new car, you wouldn’t do much searching before you find one equipped with it.

Most old cars don’t have built-in speed limiters, rather, they’ll likely have cruise control. If you drive an older model, you may have to make do with cruise control.

Of course, depending on how old the car is, you might be able to get aftermarket speed limiters fitted. However, before doing so, we recommend you weigh all the pros and cons.

Related: Do Police Cars Always Pull You Over For Speeding? (Solved)

Have Politicians Looked Into Banning Fast Cars?

First, understand that banning fast cars would mean no more sports cars. Mustangs and Lamborghinis wouldn’t grace American roads anymore. Believe it or not, speeding tickets are a source of revenue for the government.

The economic consequences of banning fast cars would be too much. So, while some politicians may be against fast cars, it’s hard to imagine complete prohibition as a possibility.

As always, the best way to curtail irresponsible driving is by having speed limits, speed limiters, and sensitizing citizens.

Besides, banning fast cars is only one part of the puzzle. There are different speed limits on different roads. Hence, even a minivan can attain speeds that are too high for certain roads.

Recall we also talked about how lower speeds on fast lanes can be just as dangerous as well as cars that can’t speed up as fast as needed on highways.

To ensure the right decision is always made regarding road law, all these factors must be considered.

Final Thoughts

So, just because cars can go significantly faster than speed limits doesn’t mean they should. Whatever the scenario, it’s always best to avoid going too fast or too slow relative to the acceptable range.

If we’ve learned anything, increased vehicular interaction occurs because of uneven speeds between cars on roads. This increases the probability of accidents occurring.

That’s why speed limits exist to keep all cars traveling within a single speed range. Our candid recommendation; adhere to the speed limits wherever you are.

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