I read with interest the recent article on WTKR’s coverage of speed limit enforcement on Northampton County’s portion of Rt. 13. This of course led me to view the video. My response is:’Boo-Hoo’.
On its face, the enforcement looks blatant, even arbitrary. Maybe it’s a case of ‘yellow tag fever’. Maybe certain drivers are being picked on and it’s unfair that they’re used as a ‘cash cow’. The tactic raises hackles for some folks.
Well, tough. The one common denominator for all those who are pulled over is that they are ignoring the speed limits, period. Radar doesn’t care what color your tag is and even though Rt. 13 features long, straight stretches of seemingly open road doesn’t mean it’s OK to blow the posted limit by double digits.
Those of you who drive outside the local area have probably noticed a degradation of driving habits since the pandemic. Every sort of poor driving habit, but especially speeding, have increased dramatically on most highways of the Commonwealth and other states. What used to be an informal 5 MPH pad is now 10, or whatever is physically possible. On the interstates, traffic conditions are so hazardous and drivers so numerous as to convey a sort of ‘immunity’ to speeders, as it’s quite risky to police to pull them over on most stretches. Speeders enjoy a sort of safety in numbers mentality that says ‘it can’t happen to me’.
Well here, it can. Not to hold out the Eastern Shore as some sort of bastion of driving civility, but it’s easier, or at least possible, to enforce traffic laws here more effectively than elsewhere. Frankly, I don’t see how anyone should feel victimized for being pulled over here for speeding. It’s two lanes each way, the median’s wide open, there aren’t that many places for cops to hide and the limits are clearly posted on the roads and your nav screen. You’re delusional if you have any expectation of the group anonymity here that you may think you enjoy on Routes 64 or 95, for instance. Those long, straight stretches and lower traffic volume make you an easy target if you ‘ping’ the radar.
The boring 55 MPH limit is applied to most of Rt. 13 with ample reason. We here enjoy a special blend of road hazards that you just don’t find commonly. Wildlife, farm equipment, RV’s watermen (I didn’t think the boat was THAT long) drunkards, mopeds. Little old ladies who can’t see over the dash. We’ve got ‘em all and they can pop out on Rt. 13 at any time, without warning. Add to this the standard errors that all drivers can make entering or exiting the highway and RT. 13 is riskier than it looks. The difference in combined reaction time and stopping distance from 60 vs. 70+MPH can be life and death.
So, whatever state or bridge you cross to get here, make sure you unwind, slow down and maybe enjoy the view as you pass through, unmolested. If you’re running late to Rehoboth or the Outer Banks, just accept it and stay safe. And if you’re local, you should know better.