Michelle "Shelly" Pare

As a Wisconsin resident (we are known as a “party” state), you may think that the title has something to do with alcohol consumption. Nope – it has to do with the speed limit for driving a car.

I drive a lot. The past three months I filled my car with gas at least once a week. And I’m retired. Between obligations in Portage, Waunakee, Sauk Prairie and Pardeeville I drive a lot.

These four towns were my “normal” places to go in March, April and May. Extra driving was up to our cabin in Eau Claire, judging solo and ensemble events and accompanying for schools in the area.

Get to the point you say? I’m wondering if ANYONE on the “backroads” can drive 55? There is a sad lack of ability to get to the actual speed limit. Oh – and if uphill is included, tack on several more minutes just to get out of Lodi on Highway 60! EGADS!

To the best of my knowledge, all cars can “drive” 55 miles per hour. I mean – is there a car that can’t reach that magical number? I’m not talking about any factors that may deter a person from driving the limit (snow, rain, sleet, hail, hot sun, leaves blowing in the wind, how pretty it is out) but just the basic backroads with a 55 mph sign.

Let’s think about curves, shall we? Even if there are no signs on the road indicating you should go slower on a curve, people often do. They go slower even though it’s not necessary. Even though it’s obvious that the curve is not a threat because you can usually see around it and you know it doesn’t last long. Just KEEP GOING at the speed limit. When there are curves but no mph change, you could (I mean, in all honesty) keep your cruise control set and let the car do the work. I hope I’m not beyond the boundaries of expecting the car to “stay the course” and stick to 55.

Hills are another obstacle – again, think about getting out of Lodi on Hwy 60. Maybe “back-in-the-day” there was a problem getting to a certain speed while driving up those B I G hills but every car can surely traverse the roads in 2017 (and some even before this year!).

Now, these same cars/people actually can go faster than 55 when they get to an area that you can pass them after they purposely stay 5-10 mph UNDER the limit for a looooong time. That would be when they decide to do 65 mph so you can’t pass them before the next curve/hill/yellow line/nook and cranny because that’s waaaaay over the limit and not a good choice. However, never fear, you will catch up to them if there is any “hint” of the possibility of slowing down.

Which brings me to my next issue: pick a speed – any speed and actually stay there. Don’t whoooooosh past me then slow down. Don’t get really close behind me, pass me then slow down. Don’t pull out in front of me and make me slow down. Don’t change to the far left (passing) lane on the interstate then slow down. Just drive.

“Merge” genes and/or “lane” genes. Do you have them? My mother NEVER moved over a lane when someone was entering from an on-ramp. She felt they should slow down. I’ve seen it again and again: no merge genes, moving a lane over as a curtesy, driving in the correct lane for your speed, obeying the law and moving over because cars are on the side of the road with hazard lights or lights on police cars. Come on people – you know this is the right way to drive.

Lay off the horn too. Often if we are stopped somewhere in traffic, there is an actual reason (unless you’re driving in the Dells area – there’s no reason in that area other than the spectators trying to find their place) and the horn does NOT help.

Finally, tractors. Give them some space. None of us want to get stuck behind a tractor. When we are crawling along at 25 mph, dig deep and find some patience as well as respect for those who provide food for the world. Now, when the person driving the tractor waves us to past because they can see better than the rest of us, that’s a bonus. It’s also a bonus if there is a place on these backroads the tractor can move over enough for us to see around them and choose to pass. Generally it doesn’t happen very often so be thankful if you are car #18 in the line instead of #37. Take a breath. In this case, it’s okay to be “under the limit”!

(1) comment


And then there are the people that drive in fog or rain and don't have the common sense to turn on their headlights! Parking lights are not for driving!

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