What Is A Good, Safe Universal Speed

Topic 29768 | Page 1

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Steven's Comment
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When I got into orientation with my first company, my trainer recommended that I should set my cruise control to 61 mph on the highways. Obviously one should go slower depending on conditions. But 61 mph was considered a very safe, good speed for most normal highway conditions.

Then I got into the real world and noticed that pretty much nobody goes that slow. I felt like a loser being the only trucker going 61 mph while all the rest were blazing past me going 65, 68, or 70, depending on what their regulators (or lack thereof) would allow.

What would you say is the maximum safe speed for an 18 wheeler? Do you think 61 is too slow under normal conditions? Is it really safe to go 65 mph, when considering the possibility of a steer tire blowout? How much risk is really reduced by dropping from 65 to 61?

I know going slower costs money. You get less work done. What I really want to know is if it's worth it to go slower?

Big Scott (CFI's biggest 's Comment
member avatar

Our trucks are governed at 65. I drive what is I feel safe at, depending on speed limits and conditions. When you're in the driver's seat, it's your butt on the line. It is your job to operate that 80,000 pound death machine safely.

Hope this helps.

Bobcat_Bob's Comment
member avatar

There is no "universal" safe speed it all depends on traffic and weather conditions as well as driver comfort.

If you are only comfortable doing 61, then only do 61 don't feel peer pressure to go faster than you feel safe.

Robert B. (The Dragon) ye's Comment
member avatar

Don’t let what others are doing determine how you drive your truck. As you gain experience, you’ll learn how far to drive and where. Now, if you’re running through South Dakota doing 61 in the hammer lane, you’ll probably get yelled at because the speed limit is 75 and 80 in various places. Drive your truck your way, do it safely and let everyone else roll on by.

Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

Steve, a "good, safe speed" for anyone driving on a public road is the speed that the driver feels is good and safe. Yes, many companies will set a maximum governed limit that is less than what most drivers like, but that's mostly set by safety and MPG calculations.

A little game to play while you're driving, I call it "Imagine": what if the car right in front of you suddenly stops. What would you do in that moment to avoid a crash?

PackRat's Comment
member avatar

I usually drive at 62 mph, with 65 mph being the highest speed.

In five years OTR , my average speed for all miles traveled is 56.27 mph.

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

Don's Comment
member avatar

As previously stated, the speed you travel is based on weather, road and traffic conditions and your comfort level. Not to mention, using the common sense God hopefully gave you.

If there are no adverse weather or road conditions I usually travel the speed limit or under. Of course, this depends on the location or type of road. City = 25-35mph limit? You better believe the speed limit or under. Have to pay attention to those red light cameras, not to mention drivers that do stupid things. County, State route or Highways? Again, it depends on the type of road ("winding" declines, etc.) but generally, speed limit or under. State and Interstates are usually the only routes where Imaydrive above a speed limit. 55-60mph? May go 5 over. But if the speed limit is 65-70mph(?), I definitely drive at or below. I want to make it home every night, so I control what I can which includes speed.

Interstate:

Commercial trade, business, movement of goods or money, or transportation from one state to another, regulated by the Federal Department Of Transportation (DOT).

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Mikey B.'s Comment
member avatar

There is no reason to limit yourself to 61 because someone once told you that's a good safe speed. If he had told you 53 was a good safe speed would you drive at 53? The speed limit is safe. If you are governed at 65 theres no reason not to do it or whatever speed is legal. I will drive against the governor when the limit is that or higher. You should know if your speed is safe or not, if you cannot tell if your speed is safe for the road and conditions you shouldn't be driving. To purposely drive at 61 on a 70mph limit highway is fine if that's where you feel safe but just ignorant if you do it because a trainer once said it. If you do chose to drive at 61 do it in the right lane only! Do not drive 61 in the hammer lane. That is dangerous and inconsiderate. If you blow a steer tire you wont notice the difference between 61 and 65mph. At 61 you save a little fuel, that's it. You will have people ragging you on the cb as well. However, I'd rather have to pass you at 61 than 64. Be considerate when Prime trucks are passing you as it is a slow pass for them and they aren't used to passing. In the grand scheme of things you going 61 or 65 wont make much of a difference so if you want to drive at 61 do it just be considerate toward the other drivers that have to pass you by realizing your speed is the oddball speed and try not to speed up when they pass therefore trapping them in the passing lane.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Dean R.'s Comment
member avatar

I was told:

Don't outrun your visibility. Don't outrun your ability. Don't outrun the weather's volatility.

Mark C.'s Comment
member avatar

I reckon it's 64 on cruise and 62 with your foot....

OK, I'm just goofing a little on my company's trucks being governed at 64 AND 62 depending on whether you're using cruise control. I just finished my mentor phase and since his truck was "D" rated for something or other, I got excited if I could pass another truck going uphill. Usually meant we had an empty. It took 3 days before passing my first truck. Passed by hundreds.

I did find myself asking the same question while driving through NM with wind gusts pushing me all over the road. I was never so glad to have 40k lbs in the back. I found myself watching how the wind was affecting the trucks that passed me by (they weren't concerned at all) and realized that even though it felt at times I was 20deg off vertical, I'd be ok. wind was a steady 29 mph. I slowed enough to ensure I was comfortable with my reaction times keeping my lane.

I have to agree that there is no universal safe speed, but knowing what the truck can do helps you/me define that comfort zone. Each load gives me a different feel on the brakes and I-10 going into TX (westbound) makes me want to crawl. So even the condition of the road matters to me.

I know it's nothing new, but I thought I'd let you know you're not the only one asking yourself how fast you should go.

Over The Road:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

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