Today’s experiment was driving 70 mph, exactly the speed limit, on I-5. The reason I call it an experiment is the fact that I’ve never tried it before (and I suspect no one else has either!).

I estimate I’ve made the 8 hour round trip between Bako and San Fran at least 25 times. The average speed of passenger vehicles seems to be about 79 mph. When you go 79, you get passed by about the same number of cars that you personally pass. Most cars go either 75 or 85, and just a few are under 70 or over 90. That’s why I refer to 79 mph as the common law speed limit of I-5. You generally won’t get pulled over by CHP unless you go over 80.

The semis tend to stay between 60 and 70, which is a pain when the turtle semi tries to pass the snail semi on the hilly sections.

Anyway, today I decided that I didn’t really need the extra 9 mph (roughly 36 minutes) and instead the Prius and I would show others that it’s okay not to speed on I-5 while physically supporting Bush’s plan to reduce gasoline consumption (without having to use ethanol or drilling ‘environmentally consciously’ in rare pristine environments).

And it feels good. It never felt too fast, and it’s nice not to constantly be on the lookout for cops. I found that I don’t have to brake as often, which actually made me a slightly less observant driver. I had to remind myself to concentrate on driving.

Overall, I enjoyed going the speed limit and I’ll probably do it again.