Should We Have A 130KM/H Speed Limit On Freeways?

Should We Have A 130KM/H Speed Limit On Freeways?

For some Aussies, the most exciting part of a trip to Europe is taking a car on the German autobahns and enjoying having no speed limits in place. But are we ready as a nation to up our freeway speed limits to 130 kilometres an hour?

Picture by Tim Keegan

TV Tonight reports that the hosts of Top Gear Australia will argue for an increase in the speed limit when the show returns to the airwaves tomorrow night, noting that roads and cars are both much improved on when those limits were set. Host Steve Pizzati mounts a more unusual case:

Things coming at you quicker actually means that you’re going to be more attentive to the road

That doesn’t sound like a very convincing argument to me. After all, if it’s true, wouldn’t it be truer at 150? Given that your stopping distance increases the faster you’re going, would we need to increase the minimum distance between vehicles? Which freeways would unquestionably qualify for this treatment? And what happens with larger or older vehicles that aren’t capable of those speeds?

I’m also not sure how this request balances with Top Gear’s other call, for better driver education. That sounds like a good idea, but if we’re arguing that drivers don’t have adequate skill bases, why do we want them driving faster?

That said, regular Lifehacker readers will know I’m not a driver myself, so my own investment in the issue is pretty minimal. Tell us your thoughts in the comments.

Top Gear Australia calls for 130kph speed limits [TV Tonight]


  • It depends on the car you drive. I was driving BMW 540 and felt safe going 190km/h. Other cars were overtaking me like I was standing still…

  • I’d have to agree with the TG guys. The highways in NT (which I drove on recently) are sign posted at 130, it’s a comfortable speed, keeps you focused and awake on roads that are quite repetitive and more importantly it reduces travel time and therefore fatigue. It also enables safer overtaking of slow vehicles as your speed difference is greater.

    • I’m all for higher speed limits on rural sealed highways like those throughout the NT and outback – traffic isn’t heavy enough to be much of an influencing factor in setting the speed limit for those roads. As I outlined in my comment below, in high traffic levels on the F3 just outside Sydney though – it’s a bit of a different story.

      • Good luck dealing with a kangaroo jumping out in front of you when you are driving at 130+km/h. I never drove over 110km/h in the Territory because you could never be sure of the road quality of what the crazy animals or tourists are going to do.

        Everyone thinks they are a great driver, but what about all the other crazy people on the roads. You can’t do anything about them except drive more cautiously and be ready for anything.

  • No need to increase distance between vehicles.
    3 seconds still stands, doesn’t matter how fast you are going. The faster you go the larger the gap.

  • I could write a lengthy piece on this; but I’ll try and keep it short and sweet.

    I’m all in favour of higher speed limits on motorways; however I only support this in the right conditions. The issue is in Australia is generally lazy attitude to driving, and often; a selfish approach to sharing the road.

    The autobahn works because Germany, and accompanying nations, has a long established system of high quality driver training from an early age, which has also served to promote adequate road manners. People actually DO stay in the slow lane (in their case, the right line) unless over-taking – a common offense here; with countless of examples of people scooting along in the fast lane, going no faster than the general traffic flow.

    The road’s we have from most reports I have read, are certainly no worse in many cases than those throughout Europe, and I can definitely see a stronger case for faster speed limits on sealed highways that see minimal traffic out west.

    Raising motorway speed limits will only work, AFTER attitudes to use of the roads, and driver abilities are dramatically increased in Australia – something which would take a quite a length of time for newer drivers to be educated to the new standard, and existing drivers to be re-educated, or retire from driving.

    • So true, I’d prefer Police to start enforcing the fines for “Keep left unless overtaking”. Slow drivers in the right line grind my gears…

      I pretty much stick to the left lane these days due to all the slow people in the right lane… I am the undertaker.. hehe.

    • The other problem is that generally we still have older cars than the Western Europeans do. But still, look at a 1990-2000 era european cars vs the same era australian cars, and they’d probably still comfortably do better than late model australian cars.

  • Current road design practice is governed by a design vehicle’s ability to maintain adequate friction between tyre and road to not shift laterally (sideways) when turning a corner in wet weather at the design speed, usually speed limit plus 10 or 20km/h. So yes, the tightest corners on a freeway built to today’s standards would allow for 120-130km/h safely, but no higher.

    The biggest issue would be a disparity between truck/bus (limited to 100) and car speeds.

    The problem is that much of Australia’s urban freeways were designed and built in the 1960’s and 70’s to much lower standards than are considered acceptable today for new works, and would never safely cater for these speeds.

    • When was the last time you actually saw a truck or bus under 120kmh on the open road? I traveled between Syd and Canberra on Saturday night and I was regularly passed by trucks at 120kmh.

      Oh and design practice here is based on building the cheapest road possible while charging the government the maximum.

    • Professional drivers (such as Mark Skaife) have actually gone on the record claiming that the general quality of motorways in Australia are no worse in quality than those used in Europe – presumably built to handle the current speed limits imposed on them.

      Now I know that Skaifey isn’t a civil engineer – but I do think he’s more qualified than the average numpty to know when a car isn’t sitting safely on a road.

      Re the comment of motorways being designed and built in the “60s and 70s” – you do raise a point (though I suspect that the 80s saw far more motorway construction than the previous decaddes); however, these roads at the time were designed for cars of that period to drive on them. I doub’t anyone 30 years ago could have predicted the safety and efficiency levels exhibited by modern cars.

        • Australia has the worlds largest road network and a very low population. We use spray-seal technology instead of asphalt because it is cheap. My partner is a civil engineer and she told me that Australia had to compromise on lower quality roads so that we could afford to seal a majority of our roads.

          If we had Autobahn style freeways we would be broke.

          • First of all… With a speed limit of 130km/h or 150 or 110, doesn’t mean you have to drive that speed all the time. You should drive to the conditions, the road and put some thought into what what you are doing.
            Our roads/motorways are fine for the speed and are way less crowded than most European motorways, however the drivers really aren’t up to scratch. Most are very inconsiderate and self centred and do not have much if any consideration for others on the road.
            On top of all this the cars need some sort of regular check up to keep them road worthy…. most of the 3rd world has better standards in this matter.
            As for the speed limit, 110km/h is an arbitrary number that looked good to some old man in a office once, if it was based on some actual scientific research it wouldn’t be that. Its 110km/h cos on country roads the limit is 100km/h a nice round number, but on the motorway it has to be more, so we will add a nice round number to that and make it 110km/h.

  • TG has an excellent point but, as they have very well noted, the standard of driving education we have in Australia is ridiculously low. Most of our learner driver experience is based around parking strategies and low speed circumstances, with almost nothing in regards to highway/freeway manners or habits. In turn, we have absolutely no education reforms based around defensive driving.

    Far too many drivers on Australian freeways feel the need to hog right hand lanes for no apparent reason. Ever heard of keeping left guys and girls? Until drivers become somewhat aware that the right hand lane is used for overtaking and overtaking only (unless we’re talking about peak hour), the concept of 130km/h limits on these roads it laughable.

  • 130km/h seems like a fair limit for freeways. Some studies indicate that higher speeds don’t actually increase the accident rate, due to increased focus and decreased fatigue.

    I’m also in favour of applying this to most rural roads, but that’s less likely to get support.

  • I think that on most dual carriage ways in Australia the 130km speed limit should be in place. I don’t think it would be appropriate on single lanes except far out west where the roads are flat and straight.

  • Just a note, only about half of Autobahn is without a speed limit, the rest is limited.

    I have driven on the Autobahn at 175km/h and it was great. The thing is I was driving a VW Golf which is a nice German car and designed to go at those speeds.

    The biggest problem I can see if having cars travelling at different speeds. Some vehicles or drivers won’t go 130km/h, they will opt to stick to 100. This then creates problems when they sit in the right-hand lane.

    In Germany, if you are in the left-hand lane (fast lane) you had better be the quickest on the road otherwise you will have someone honking behind you and flashing their lights.

    • One question I have wondered previously (and knowing no one who has firsthand experience on said roads doesn’t allow me to ask), is how the autobahn’s cope with traffic volume. Generally in Australia, most motorway traffic travels within 10-15km/h of each other, often with traffic spread out evenly throughout the multiple lanes.

      I’m well aware there are far better attitudes to staying in the slow lane unless over taking in eastern Europe, and that a wide variety of cars drive on the fast roads; with a variety of top speeds. I would imagine that creates an interesting scenario for bottle necks – say for example the car in the slow lane is doing 120km/h, and a second car is overtaking at 130kp/h; how frequent is a third lane available for another car driving at 150km/h to overtake the other two?

      • They have some great tricks to help with the different speeds.

        1. When there are 3 or more lanes, trucks are only allowed in the right two lanes, never in the left “fast” lane. This is enforced strictly in France and stops them stuffing up the overtaking lane.

        2. When driving faster than the traffic in front of you in the “fast” lane you keep your indicator on so that the cars in front know you are catching them and want to pass.

        3. When the traffic slows rapidly for an accident or traffic ect. put your hazard lights on so that the cars behind know that they need to slow fast!

    • We already have that problem – L-platers are stuck going at 80, while red and green P-platers are at 90 and 100 respectively, while the rest of us are going at 110. As well as those who like to travel well over that.

      • Only in NSW mate. Move to Victoria- learners can learn to drive at 110, properly supervised, instead they only learn to drive at speeds higher than 80 when they are out on their own, and learning to drive solo.

        My mind boggles.

        • Agree!

          As a NSW learner, I’m scared for when I get my P’s because I’ll never legally have learnt to overtake on a freeway in a safe way.

          It’s a very stupid rule.

  • Speed is not the cause of accidents, it is a factor in the result only.

    Travelling at 150Kmh in a 60 zone does nto casue an accident. Not being able to stop in time when required does.

    Our national focus on Speed Kills is stupid. We have stopped education of people on things that actally cause accidents and focused on the one thing we can charge for ( Fine ) in a semi automated way. tailgating, pushing in, failing to indicate are all things that lead to accidents but are hard to setup Cameras to detect and therefore also rtoo hard to automate fines for..

    • Hit the nail on the head. More of an “in traffic” presence is required to police such behaviour. No Police force within Australia has the resource to provide this, so the response is to police offenses which are easily closed black and white offences (it’s far easier to prove someone was speeding, than it is that they tailgated). Because of the continuous “speed kills” mentality they’ve advertised, no roads authority in the country would be willing to backtrack and actually RAISE a speed limit.

    • The 60km/h zones are posted for that because of the variability of the road – you’re far more likely to be sharing that with pedestrians, cyclists, and people turning or pulling out of properties. Freeways are limited in that respect – entries and exits are defined.

      If you’re going 150 km/h in 60 zones, it’s not about “not being able to stop”, it’s about “not being able to react”, and there’s no cure for that.

  • We need to look at how feasible it is for something like this to pass the legal processes involved.

    With such a negative connotation surrounding Australian road safety (blackspots, extra blood donations on long weekends, news stations reporting the number of crashes over holidays etc.) and the shift into a more sinister connotation recently (drug strip tests and new laser speed guns) I think that regardless of the argument presented this will take an incredibly long time to pass legal proceedings.

    The upside of that? By then however one could argue that cars would be well and truly ready, roads better provisioned and safety features further advanced.

    Just my two cents.

  • I know this is a unforgivable generalisation but after living in Europe for a decade I found on my return that Australians are culturally more angry and aggressive in their driving, hence dangerous and unable to handle higher speed limits. I might add there are a few European countries that are the same. German speed limits work only when you drive like Germans. BTW driving at 130, seems to me, more economical in modern cars.

    • Agreed, and I only moved from NZ. Forgive me, but I do think Australia has a more aggressive culture on the road.

      I think you touched on it when you said German speed limits only work when you drive like Germans; If Australia had a better culture on the roads, i.e. more understanding of keeping left, tailgating, pushing in etc, then the roads would be safer already. Instead, everyone drives in their own style, and you have slow, ‘granny drivers’ (apologies to any competent 70+ drivers), mixed in with people quite capable of safely operating a motor vehicle at speeds of 150+, and who do drive a bit quicker anyway. Of course, this is all coming back to driver education, which is not very high in Australia.

      In NZ it is possible to be legally driving, unrestricted at the age of 16 years, 6 months, (you can get your learners at 15). Now I don’t know if that is sensible, but one thing I do know is, I was a much more competent driver at 19, than any Australian P-Plater who got their red P’s at 18. I’m sure there are some statistics that could be compared to see whether or not this has much of an effect on driver competency and accident rates. Anyway, in NZ, to shorten the timeframe of the Restricted licence (similar to P’s), you can take a defensive driving course and takes 6 months off – down to 12 months on Restricted before you can go for your Full. 6 month L’s period: 1 and a half years from beginner to fully licensed driver.

      Naturally most people do this, for the sole purpose of getting a full licence faster, but I think the idea has merit: many people actually undertake a defensive driving course. Unfortunately the one I took was theory only, I know there are practical ones available, in which you are taught how to drive out of a skid, stop safely, etc.

      I think that would be a small, but effective start for Australia if they intend to up the speed limits to 130kph, which I am all for in the right circumstances.

    • 100% Australian and 100% agree, though I think it is mainly due to poor road and traffic management than anything more sinister.

      Population explosions in areas with lacking or non-existent road infrastructure with knee-jerk road building bonanzas just cause such terrible strife in Sydney, it cant help but foster such a poor, angry attitude towards roads and driving.

      Take the outer Western Sydney, it has been the biggest growth area for the last 20 years (I’m generalising) but the only major highway (until the M7 a few years ago) that they had implemented has been under constant construction since its first opening. If you had to travel from say Campbelltown to the end of the M5, and now the City, there has not been one time in its entire life that you wouldn’t have to go through some sort of road works.

      I’ve lived in a couple of other states and they are all like that to some degree but the pure anger in Sydney is just so over the top and yet so justified.

  • I absolutely think we should up/remove the limit.
    Speed signs should be guidelines not strict rules.
    People should be fined for driving dangerously not speeding (different vehicles definitely have different safe limits, and the weather makes a huge difference.
    Signs babying people only cause them to assume what the sign says is safe even if the conditions say otherwise.

    I’ve cruised down the freeway at 130 before, it was basically empty at the time and I certainly wasn’t putting anyone in danger.
    No way I would’ve done it if it was wet and busy, but I stand by the fact that when I did it it was perfectly straight (yet if caught I would’ve had no license for 5 months).

    Speed limits should be the upper limit of what is safe in optimal conditions, not what you’re expected to drive at all the time.

    • This is silly, if you have a “guideline” speed of 130km/h and some guy drives down it at 200km/h, how is that not driving dangerously? speed limits are not “guidelines” for a reason. Speed limits are also there to tell the less intelligent of the human race that this is the maximum safe limit for this road under normal conditions, many people dont know that and think the limit is just there to piss them off because its slower than what they want.

      • I think that was the point he was making, you should be fined for dangerous driving, not necessarily for driving over a set arbitrary speed.

        I think the only problem in this scenario is the police and pollies getting behind it. They already blatantly scam revenue from motorists with their tactics I think having a judgement call put back into the hands of a police officer with a quota to fill would quickly spiral out of control.

  • Simple fix:

    Cars made pre-2003 = 110 km/h max.

    Cars made 2003 onward = 130 km/h max.

    As an added bonus, it would provide an incentive for people driving older, less efficient (less-green) cars to upgrade to something newer.

  • Maybe someone that drives, has had driver training, and maybe has experience on a motorcycle could write an article about this. Otherwise it’s completely ridiculous.

    Anyone that has had proper driver training, racing experience, and has driven/ridden multiple classes of vehicles would laugh at the idea there is a contradiction in saying; ‘more driving training and higher speed limits are a good thing’.

    • Sure, better-trained drivers should handle higher speeds better, but not everyone will be better trained.

      I can imagine that higher speed limits might make sense if everyone has had a compulsory amount of training — but I can’t ever imagine that existing drivers will be forced to re-qualify. The rules for getting a licence have gotten tougher for new drivers, but a lifted speed limit would apply to everyone.

  • ok country road traffic bunches up at 100kmh behind a truck or an old granddad i think at 130 you would have a safe speed to over take. the bunching affect is dangerous people get frustrated and do silly things

  • Big fail!!! It’s not a matter of the type of car driven, it’s a fact that Australian roads suck they are poorly made, as well as if they were to increase the speed limit, the width of the road would need to be increase as your perception of the road becomes narrower the faster you drive. Followed by less cracks, pot holes and the 99% of imperfect roads we have!

  • I think on some sections of some roads it could be done. It’s all about the overall safety of travelling at that speed on that road in cars that normally travel, not only along that road, but also at it’s current maximum speed limit. Once you factor these kind of things into account you can then determine if a section of road is suitable for that increased speed limit. I think with each year that goes by, with each new section of road, and each advancement in new car safety features we further progress to a situation where it is safe to increase the speed limits.

  • Im not entirely sure what i think about this really, i think some people may be more attentive at higher speeds, but you will always get the people who chat on their mobile (i dont mean hands free here) or put cruise control on and not pay attention, i see it most days driving around and i live in a small city. I think on major highways there is no harm in increasing the speed limit a little, though i think research and such should be done before a decision like this is made. Certainly the speed limits in residential areas and such should stay the same though.

  • Driver education is what’s needed. I do a lot of klicks and the things I see! Basic main points, lack of awareness, not merging at traffic speed, not allowing for merging traffic, lack of courtesy and lack of confidence.

  • Don’t think this would work in Qld, we have some shocking roads here. Only in the last few years have they upgraded the Brissy to Toowoomba highway to dual lane, and within six months they had to go back and repair the bloody thing because it fell apart! #}

  • Have it set by time. Between 8:00pm-5:00am – 130kmh. 5:00am-8:00pm – 110khm. Aussies (QLDers anyway, haven’t seen them elsewhere) are truly shocking, rude, aggressive drivers. Don’t want them around at 130kmh in busy periods.

  • For mine, the argument over speed shouldn’t happen until driving standards improve.

    Speed restrictions on L and P platers need to be abolished, basic driving skills should become part of the school curriculum and an advanced driving course be compulsory prior to gaining one’s unrestricted licence.

  • +1 for 130Km…
    Even in a Toyota Echo that is an acceptable speed. When I am driving the “nice” car it doesn’t even seem like it is moving at 130km.

    Even more important is getting those <100km/hr people out of the outside lane on the F3.

  • Most people cant handle driving at 110 let alone any faster. Having driven on the Autobahn myself, it takes a very high level of driver concentration and a commitment to owning and maintaining a decent car which simply doesn’t exist in Australia. I drove a BMW M5 over there and it was perfectly safe at over 200km/h. I drive an Audi S8 here, a 300km/h car, and 110 is painful, but I wouldn’t dare drive faster around people who cant merge, cant indicate, cant drive straight or even keep their eyes on the road, let alone maintain tire pressures, brakes, suspension etc to a level required to drive over 110. Then there’s our roads. The Autobahn is like an airport runway, perfect; I’ve broken suspension here on Australian Highways due to potholes. I don’t think we have the population and money to justify maintaining highways to the level required to drive faster. Most drivers seem to think driving is a right instead of a privilege, and their attitude shows in the way they maintain their cars, drive and treat other’s lives around them on the road. Without some serious tightening of safety and training, I think any increase in limit is asking for trouble.

    People who are saying it should only be newer cars that can go 130…my old 1969 Mercedes would handle 130+ much much better than most new cars 😉 I’m not saying that only expensive cars should be allowed or anything like that, but it will take a high level of driver maturity to understand their driving ability and car’s performance, and limit themselves when it isn’t safe.

  • Angus Kidman, you state that you are not a driver yourself, so what the hell would you know about the subject? Answer? Sweet FA.

    If you had any real world driving education, experience or even a bit commonsense you would know that:

    1. Any impact over about 80kmh is probably going to kill you. This means that if you hit any car head on the collision will usually be fatal unless the average speed of both vehicles is less than 40kmh.

    In other words, unless the speed limit is 40kmh most head-on collisions will be fatal.
    Clearly a 40kmh speed limit is ludicrous, so we currently have speed limits of 100 to 110 around Australia.
    A study conducted years ago by one of Australia’s road authorities correctly concluded that raising the open highway speed limit to 130 would have virtually no impact whatsoever on the road toll. In fact, it was possible the number of accidents on open country roads and good freeways would reduce, because travelling time is reduced, frustration is reduced (= less road rage) and 130kmh is also a bit more interesting speed to drive at. The study recognised that driving at 100 or 110 is mind numbingly boring (especially in this large country) and boredom leads to people nodding off at the wheel, which is a leading cause of head on collisions and single vehicle accidents.

    A 130 kmh limit would also increase national productivity through increased transport efficiency.

    Conveniently, politicians ignored this study because they didn’t like the answers. The pollies don’t know how to deal with the hysterical minority (e.g. CARS) people who milk media sensationalism for all their worth.
    A 130 kmh limit might also mean less speed camera revenue and we couldn’t have that could we?

    There are evidence based studies from both Australia and around the world to support a higher speed limit.
    Top Gear may be a good TV show, but it is hardly an authoritative source of information.

    • I raised the topic to gather opinions on it, and made it very clear that I’m not directly involved in driving. I don’t see how that justifies this particular personal attack. Most everyone else managed to offer comments without having to act unpleasantly.

      • See, this is why we need a proper sign in for the forum! Trolls like this would only get one chance! Over on Giz on the weekend I had some tool sign in with my name, it’s time for a change mate!

  • Completely agree. Anyone here driven from Melbourne to Sydney along the Hume? It’s a disgrace to be going so slow, a higher limit would greatly reduce the time frame you are on the road and thus drop the amount of sleep related crashes. same as the Western freeway. I drive from Melbourne to Ballarat every week and feel i would be safe going much faster on it, most drivers already do go faster.

  • What I find ludicrous is the 100km/h speed limit on the brand new freeway in Melbourne: Eastlink. 3 lanes, perfect surface and dead straight. It is mind numbingly boring to travel along this road at 100km/h when the road is empty (often.) There are plenty of hidden cameras on the road so attempting to go at a “reasonable” speed is not worth the financial risk.

    • Absolutely agree. Eastlink would be a prime candidate for 130km/h. It’s so mind numbing that you end up going faster without realising it: then you get a letter in the mail.

    • Have to agree with you there.

      There’s no reason a higher speed limit couldn’t be enacted on newer, safer roads like the Eastlink.

      But, as many others have pointed out, driver education is a must before this should come into affect.

  • It’s inappropriate in Aus, unless we rebuild 90% of the roads. Most roads are made of tar, which is not designed for high speeds due to the material tends to get soft at high heat/speeds. (don’t believe me? be on the lookout for main roads with lots of truck traffic and made of tar, you’ll see 2 dips on the road that look like car tracks) Reason we use it is because it’s cheap, and weight isn’t an issue on flat ground. Bridges use concrete because it acts both as a surface and support, so unless we all travel at 130 km/h on bridges ONLY, this doesn’t look very feasible for the foreseeable… 100 years =P

  • As a regular highway driver in NSW and VIC, I would estimate that over 90% of the cars on an 110 posted highway are cruising at around 120/125 anyway, let’s stop pissing around and make it legal.

    I agree with Steve, at 130 I feel significantly more attentive and aware of my surroundings as I drive as compared to 110, and it doesn’t lessen over time during the drive.

  • The only thing changing the speed limit would do is lower the income for the various councils from traffic infringement fines.
    People already regularly travel at 120-130km/h on freeways, have been doing for years.
    also its complete crap that Aus cars (or Jap) can’t do high speeds becaus they’re not designed for it where European cars are
    Aus cars can do the same speeds just as safely

  • I lived in the Territory a few years back before they introduced the speed limits. Open road speed limits were AMAZING!

    I’m all for 130km. Lots of people speed anyway.

  • There is also the case that some roads had higher speed limits but due to the number of accidents the limit was reduced.

    Fatigue and comfort is the biggest problems.
    As indicated in another post, ” it did not feel like we were going that fast.” Just indicates that you could be driving at an un safe speed and not be aware of it.

    If Top Gear shows us anything is that even a reasonably priced car can be driven so differently around a track with instruction prior on how best to do so, that on regular roads we are stuck with what is safe for the majority which included first time drivers.

    The funniest but scariest thing was when I was being driven around in India that the driver thought that at 60km/h it is safe without a seat belt but faster then this they would put the seat belt on but take off again when they slowed down. I can not explain why he did this but when given the choice for safety not everyone picks the same thing.

    So tho I disagree with the speed limits in some situations most of the time they are not far off the safe speed for the majority.

  • I’m not sure Australia has the driving discipline to bump the speed limits up any higher. Coming from the uk (yeah, I know) it’s very obvious that the roads are more chaotic. Some of this it probably ‘imported’ driving culture, but once you get that sort of behaviour on the roads at all, everyone else just follows suit. The things that make it so dangerous here (I’m a biker, so I really notice this stuff due to the constant threat of death):

    – driving slowly in the fast lane
    – changing lanes *then* indicating
    – changing lanes without a shoulder check (just mirrors)
    – the ‘every man for himself’ when a lane frees up (in Europe they wait for cars in front to go)
    – insane tailgating

    – all of this makes it much more stressful driving here. Having said that, it’s less obvious on the freeways.

  • The autobahn has variable speed limits (ala M7 in NSW) pretty much signed everywhere. Curvy bit? do 100. Long straight, good weather? go for gold. They change with conditions.

    Which, by the way, they’re trained to do.

    In Australia we’re trained to stick to the speed limit, and to most importantly pass our driving test. Understeer? Oversteer? most people don’t even understand the concept. Dry and wet grip, emergency braking, how ABS works, we’re not taught these things outside of advanced courses.
    What’s considered a basic course in a lot of EU countries we call advanced training that costs hundreds, if not thousands.

    Our drivers are aggressive, rude, and hog overtaking lanes. On the Autobahn the left lane is for the speed limit. Middle for “cruising around 180-200”, and if you’re in the right lane be prepared for very fast cars coming up behind you at a rather good pace.

    Over here, it causes panic reflexes. Or for the rude hand gesture. Hell, I’ve recieved nasty looks and been flipped the bird for accelerating to the speed limit quickly. It’s a crime in Vic and Qld, as well. (2 demerits and 3 penalty units or something. “Excessive acceleration”. Wheelspin or not)

    The Hume Highway can easily wear 150k/h all the way through. Multiple of the sections between ACT and Vic are straight and wide enough to land a commercial plane on.

    Ignoring the training, then you have to look at the monetary factors. We lose revenue. All those speeding fines handed out on the highway? They’d drastically reduce. Motorists are a revenue stream to state governments. The Vic and NSW budget even forecast REVENUE from speeding fines. Safety? I highly doubt that.

    Finally, go for a drive. How many pre-1990 cars do you see that would be incapable of doing 130k/h safely? How many with expired rego, sub-par safety ratings, no cruise control (which has been a basic feature for years now), bald tires, so on.

    Having said all that – I’ve happily driven at 160 for an overnight trip in the middle of nowhere, just to get there faster and I can say for sure I was more awake.

  • New Idea: Anyone breaking road rules (speeding, not indicating, running a red, tailgating, causing an accident etc.) should have their license suspended for 10 years.

    That’ll keep the ruffins off our roads, and then we can open up the speed limits to the rest of us.

  • The 110 rule is a joke, almost any car from the last 15 years would do 130km comfortabley,
    problems being “granny” drivers, idiots whom dont understand left lane is the slow lane and restricted liscences (p’s and l’s)
    allow P’s and L’s full speed on motorways and a minimum 100 to merge onto motorway and 130 would be a much more comfortable speed

    My friend doing engineering at uni did a report on australian roads, one of his points was the hume highway. the road is designed for much higher speeds around 150km, similar to the autobarns in europe. they have on and offramps that allow a safe distance to slow and pick up speed to merge safely.

    I drive daily on a stretch of highway that is dual laned and has at most 2 corners i wouldnt take at 150. this 70km stretch (between newcastle and buladelah) would be an ideal place to atleast trial a raised speed limit, the road is very new 10<years concrete and is very straight.
    this will not happen as australia is an overuled nanny country.

  • If you haven’t figured out by now that all governments (state, local and federal) are corrupt parasitic businesses controlled by offshore vested interests (Descredited UN, Al Gore, Rothschild carbon tax scam for the privilege of breathing out anyone?) without regard for the people and that speeding fines are great earners for them then you are naive and ignorant and need to do your homework about real freedom, governments, orwellian reality as distinct from lying tv propaganda from the presstitutes laughingly called news in the lamestream media. Pollies will bleat democracy and imply freedom but the reality is that we are played for chumps daily by their actions which are completly opposite to their high sounding rhetoric. (Yes we can anyone?) There is no incentive therefore to improve driver training unless a very obvious case makes the headlines and a polly may be like a deer caught in the headlights for one day here or there in front of the news pack. Since there are rich opportunities for Pollies to pick your pockets (fines) expect to see the status quo. We have gone from (if we ever were) the clever country to the stupid country more and more every single day. I don’t see the carbon high priest PM Bob brown saying anything. Wouldn’t driving faster without stopping and starting be better for their oxymoronic belief system of carbon emissions?

  • It’s actually a joke that we can’t go more than 100-110 kmh.

    Our roads on freeways are completely suitable to those speed limits, fact is, we live in a nanny state, where people don’t actually know how to drive and have no regard for someone coming along faster in the right lane.

    They have the mentality of, “Well, im going the speed limit so I am not going to move out of the way”.

    Completely pathetic.

    As for the truck drivers… They should be firmly cemented in the left hand lane where they belong so their amphetamine rage doesn’t spill out onto other parts of the road. But thats right… Their employers impose unrealistic deadlines so they are smacking speed and pissing everyone off to reach their destination.

    We need a massive overhaul, and I would be more than happy to discuss this further seeing as I have just spent the last 4 months driving all over europe.

    Also, Aussie’s we really need to learn how to drive manual. Automatic is lazy and teaches you nothing about how to control and ‘feel’ a car.

    • I completely agree. They were claiming that the current learner tests were too easy, yet I’d like to see them pass the test + do 100hrs of supervised driving. It’s easy to talk the talk without walking the walk.

  • I’m against the 130km/hr speed limit idea. After doing “highway practice” on Ls with a maximum speed limit of 80km/hr (30 below the speed limit) i’m honestly surprised i’m still alive.

    If you don’t believe me, slow to 80km/hr on highways and wait until people narrowly avoid you. That’s exactly what will happen with trucks that can’t go faster than 100km/hr.

  • First of all… With a speed limit of 130km/h or 150 or 110, doesn’t mean you have to drive that speed all the time. You should drive to the conditions, the road and put some thought into what what you are doing.

    Our roads/motorways are fine for the speed and are way less crowded than most European motorways, however the drivers really aren’t up to scratch. Most are very inconsiderate and self centred and do not have much if any consideration for others on the road.

    On top of all this the cars need some sort of regular check up to keep them road worthy…. most of the 3rd world has better standards in this matter.

    As for the speed limit, 110km/h is an arbitrary number that looked good to some old man in a office once. If it was based on some actual scientific research it wouldn’t be that. Its 110km/h cos on country roads the limit is 100km/h a nice round number, but on the motorway it has to be more, so we will add a nice round number to that and make it 110km/h.

  • Driving faster makes you more alert!?!

    so you are on a freeway (driving a long distance between places with limited interruption) and you keep your adrenaline ramped up because you are going “fast” … surely this will just tire you out more quickly and make you more dangerous on the road.

    as homer Simpson said “sure, we may save countless lives, but millions will be LATE!”

  • It all boils down to safety versus speed relationship for a particular road/weather conditions/vehicle. I have read about a
    quarter of the comments above, and apart from the comments of the comparing the standard of our roads to that of Europe,
    there does not seem to be any mention of divided roads/dual carriage ways. Considering the number of idiots on the road
    and that most drivers are really inexperienced at highway driving and do well and truly overestimate their driving skills
    a 130km/h speed limit is absurd unless its on a divided road build to a reasonable standard. I would hate to be in the NT
    driving at 130km/h on a two lane highway where the combined speed of two approaching vehicles is 260km/h. Its scary enough at 100km/h.
    Studies since the 1980’s on the relationship between speed and probability of having an accident have shown that you need to be traveling about 10% higher than the posted speed limit. This is fact. The reason? Its a simple matter of traffic flow.
    Generally most drivers travel faster than the posted speed limit. To reduce your probability of an accident you need to ‘go
    with the flow’ of the surrounding traffic. Having someone on the speed limit when everyone is slightly over causes frustration, annoyance and rash decisions leading to accidents.
    The solution? This has to be factored in posted speed limits. Its really ridiculous that doing 1km/h over the speed limit
    equates to a fine. It not humanly possible to be on the limit without going over and under for that matter. The intelligent action that our relevant governing bodies is to spell out allowable tolerance for posted speed limits. For example, if this should be
    set to 10%, then a posted speed limit of 60km/h would have an upper limit of 66km/h etc. without you copping a fine. This would be a positive move in the right direction. We desperately need some clever people to look into the all important factors causing accidents, not just the single one I pointed out above, and implement changes before we even think of increasing the speed limits. So its not a simple matter of posting new speed limits, its a lot more. But the politicians and the decision makers do NOTHING. They just look at the stats and say ‘oh.. looks like another bad year for the road toll, we need to increase the penalties’. Well guess what, that has not worked for the last 50 years. They are really slow learners. There is a lot more politicians can do, but its in the too hard basket. They are waiting for retirement to receive their massive payouts and benefits for the rest of their lives. Which is all sorted out of course.

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