What do you do in this driving situation?

I was driving along our local in-town freeway (Deerfoot Trail for any Calgarians) today. The speed limit on this road is 100 km/h (around 62 mph). The road conditions were bad - heavy rain and limited visibility. There was a construction area clearly posted, and the speed limit clearly posted in that area was reduced to 70 km/h (around 44 mph). Traffic violation fines in construction areas are doubled here. There were long stretches where there was no obvious work going on, but there were also areas with construction workers in them.

I reduced my speed to around 70, but none of the other traffic on the highway did, causing me to become a traffic hazard. I was not pleased with this situation at all (you could tell from the blue streak coming out of my mouth); it was dangerous for me, it was dangerous for the other drivers, and it was dangerous for the construction workers. But what do you do in a situation like that?

There’s no reason for you to go over the speed limit in order to keep up with traffic (and I say this as someone who often speeds herself, although only on clear freeways, not in bad weather or construction zones, let alone both together). As long as you weren’t blocking any passing lane, it would be unreasonable for anyone to expect you to go faster than the speed limit, and especially so in a construction zone.

In fact, I think it’s far more dangerous to go a speed that you don’t feel you can handle than it is to be doing a lower speed than the drivers around you (within reason, of course). If other people are driving at a faster speed than you feel comfortable with, just stay in the right lane, make sure you’re visible, and drive at what you think is a safe speed for the conditions. Of course, if you think that 40 mph is a safe speed for a dry freeway, you should probably get off at the next exit and use side streets, but in the situation you described, I think you did the right thing.

You said the conditions were dangerous, heavy rains, etc. You slow down. If you are talking about the Douglesdale interchange construction area, the lanes were also marked out by a someone who was obviously drunk. Even in good conditions I slow down in that area because cars are wandering all over the place trying to find the correct lane.

I think one of the problems in Calgary is that the construction areas are marked as construction areas when there are obviously no construction workers there, or minimal signs of construction. Construction also seems to take a very long time. If they built the pyramids at that speed they’d still be working on them. Then they seem to have a habit of shutting down the road to one lane during the middle of rush hour. Anyone think of doing that sort of work after hours? People just get frustrated and start ignoring the signage.

Or was it the bit near the new IKEA?
Cause that’s been signed as a construction site for a while and I haven’t seen any workers or equipment.
If there is obviously equipment, I’ll slow down.
If it’s one of those cases where they have left the signs up for months, I won’t bother. (provided, of course I have a clear view and there aren’t any nice police officers up ahead)

Yeah, part of the problem is definitely City of Calgary road crews and their inability to accurately sign their work. Whichever yahoo in city hall is responsible for putting signs up and taking them down is one of the most incompetent city workers EVER. I imagine people in that area (probably Douglasdale exchange - south of Anderson, anyway) are just used to ignoring useless signage. Doesn’t help the situation, though; if the sign says 70 kph, I gotta do 70 kph, or pay the tickets.

I loved the sign they put up stating that the lanes would be merging together further down Deerfoot. The lanes in question were down by the new Ikea south of Heritage/Glenmore. The warning sign was just south of Memorial before Blackfoot. As soon as people saw the sign they started to slow down. What is the distance between the two locations? ~10 - 15 kilometers? Unbelievable.

I think you did the right thing, but if this went on for any extended period of time, I probably would have bailed off the freeway altogether. Of course, the last thing anyone wants when they’re stuck outdoors in that kind of weather is for the trip to take longer, but if you’ve got that many morons around you, you’d rather get home slowly than not at all (or with a wrecked car, or whatever scenarios went through your mind while you were dealing with that).

I would just pick the speed I want, stay in the right lane, and let all the leadfoots pass. I would probably not even consider it dangerous for me, I’m not normally all that concerned when people pass, especially if I’m in the right lane, I expect it.

Oh, and you can also put on your hazard lights. That’s a good signal to those behind you that you are going slower than everyone else. That should help with them coming up on you too fast.

That’s a good idea, Cheesesteak. It didn’t occur to me at the time - my car wasn’t having problems or anything, which is when I normally think to turn my hazards on.

Uzi, that sounds about right for Calgary’s city signage people. Then, of course, they’ll put “two lanes merging into one” or “right lane ends” signs up 20 feet before it happens, just to keep us all on our toes.

Lately on Bow Trail they’ve had “Left lane closed ahead” signs when it’s actually the right lane that’s obstructed.

As long as you’re in the right-most lane, you can go as slow as you’re comfortable with (excepting minimum speed limit situations). Let everyone else pass.

You know, this makes me wonder about whoever’s in charge of this signage in Calgary. If you ever saw him in his office, I wonder if he’s some little old half-blind, two months away from retiring, doddering Mr. Magoo incompetent. With union job security, of course.