By on April 1, 2016

Debadged Audi A4 on Ohio Turnpike, Image: © 2016 Ronnie Schreiber/The Truth About Cars

My father, may he rest in peace, grew up in Brooklyn, but met a Detroit girl while the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers sent him to the University of Michigan for a quickie associate degree in civil engineering during World War II. My sisters have both lived in the New York City area for decades. As a result, though I’m a native Detroiter and proud Michigander through-and-through, there’s probably never been a 12-month period in my life when I haven’t been in the Big Apple.

The construction of Interstate 80 was a great moment in our family’s life, as it meant taking at least two hours off of the Canadian route through Ontario and then down the New York State Thruway. It also meant finding out that people in Ohio take the Ohio State University versus the University of Michigan sports rivalry very seriously.

Ohio residents have their own horror stories about how police agencies in the state extract revenue from drivers, but if parking a car with Michigan plates in Ohio’s state capital poses a risk of vandalism, do you think a Ohio Highway Patrol trooper isn’t going to single out Michigan drivers for traffic enforcement?

You can do 80 miles per hour on most Michigan interstate highways without risking a ticket for exceeding the 70 mph legal limit on those roads. I’ve even had a Michigan State Police trooper apologize after pulling me over at 79. Ohio may be a crossroads state, but Michigan is a destination state. People come here to enjoy the Great Lakes, the Henry Ford Museum, golf courses in northern Michigan, and the Upper Peninsula. However, with the exception of Canadians on their way to Chicago, we don’t get a lot of traffic just passing through. Perhaps the Michigan State Police are a bit more hospitable than the Ohio Highway Patrol.

People in general drive slower, relative to the speed limits, on Ohio freeways than in Michigan. You can watch drivers slow down as they cross the state line. With Michigan plates on my car, I won’t risk doing more than 4 mph over the limit in Ohio. In places where the speed drops the speed to 60 or 55, which tend to be speed traps, I won’t go over the speed limit at all. Some of the foreign press cars I’ve driven have been plated in New Jersey. If I happen to take one of those south of the border, I might go a little bit faster.

If this is the case, how did I average about 80 mph in the stretch from Cleveland to Toledo when I returned to Detroit from the 2016 New York Auto Show in my own car? The answer to that question is the fellowship of the road.

After you’ve driven on the highway for a few years, you should have learned how to avoid tickets. Police are creatures of habit, too. I can’t say that I’ve ever seen an Ohio state trooper parked on the right side of the road on the part of I-80 that makes up the Ohio Turnpike. They invariably park on the crossovers in the median, perpendicular to the flow of traffic, often with a second trooper parked likewise just a couple of miles down the road. Consequently, you just might want to be over on the right, preferably with a truck masking you from radar, as you come over a rise.

You also learn how to spot rabbits — those folks who know how to smartly drive over the limit. They aren’t speeding in an extreme enough manner to attract attention, but they are going faster than the flow of traffic, making the most efficient trade-offs between getting there in a hurry and getting a ticket.

South of Cleveland, when a route notification lit up the nav app on my phone, I picked it up and ironically was distracted just enough to take the wrong fork. After a few turns, I re-entered I-80 immediately adjacent to the General Motors Lordstown assembly plant where the Chevy Cruze is built, 160 miles from my exit at Toledo.

Soon after I got on the interstate, doing my usual for Ohio 74 mph in the center lane, I was passed by a red Audi doing 79-81 in the left lane. It was a few years old but pristine. I wasn’t sure precisely what model it was because it had been debadged. Aha! A fellow enthusiast. Some drivers represent that they are car enthusiasts by putting Japanese or Korean domestic market badges on their Hondas and Kias. Others do it by debadging. The clean look is nice and it’s a lot better than putting a AMG badge from eBay on a Benz that had nothing to do with the volk in Affalterbach.

Debadged Audi A4 on Ohio Turnpike, Image: © 2016 Ronnie Schreiber/The Truth About Cars

Texting a photo of the car to a friend who has an encyclopaedic knowledge of cars revealed it to be an A4, likely from the late 1990s. The red A4’s driver, a grey haired gentleman who looked to be about 55 years old, was keeping very good pace and he obviously knew what he was doing, so I fell in behind him and a Honda crossover did the same to me. The Audi driver and I started working together through traffic. Sometimes we’d both pass the same car in the middle lane at the same time, with one of us using the right lane and the other, the left. Other times, to keep our pace, we both balked semi drivers attempting the 61 mph vs 60 mph drag races that drivers of big trucks do to show that their time is more important than that of folks driving cars and light trucks.

While one driver who knows how to drive smart and fast can move quickly through traffic, two or three drivers doing the same and working together can travel even more efficiently, and likely with even less risk of a ticket. Doubling the human brainpower devoted to a problem can be an effective route to a solution. Of course, working together means you have to take a turn at the front of the paceline as well.

Mr. Red Audi was actually going a bit faster than my comfort zone, but a fellowship is a fellowship, so I took a couple of pulls myself.

We drove like that for about two hours, with no communication at all between us, save for messages sent by our driving. There was no flashing of headlights, looking at each other, or gestures of any kind. Except for the times we correctly anticipated speed traps, we kept at a pretty consistent 80 mph. When I told people back home in Michigan of going that fast in Ohio, they were astounded.

As I approached the exit to turn north onto I-75 at Toledo, it was clear that the Audi driver was continuing on I-80 since he was staying in the left lane. Traffic made it a little difficult but I was able to pull up abreast of him and give him a thumb’s up just before I turned off. He responded with a friendly wave of his right hand.

This isn’t the first time I’ve teamed up with other drivers to drive quickly on the interstates and I’m sure that many of you have done the same. Please share your experiences as members of the fellowship of the road in the comments.

Note: The conflict between Michigan and Ohio finds its origins long before that in college football. In the first half of the 19th century, the then territory of Michigan and state of Ohio actually came to arms over the location of the border between the two. When Michigan petitioned Congress to be a state in 1835, it wanted the border to be south of the recently established settlement of Toledo, then incorporated in Michigan’s Monroe County. Ohio wanted the line somewhat north of there. Militias were sent, shots were fired, but apparently no blood was shed. One is tempted to say that Michigan won the Toledo War because Ohio got stuck with Toledo and Michigan got the magnificent Upper Peninsula, which geographically should be in Wisconsin. However, in the 1830s, the Upper Peninsula was Indian territory, there were no treaties with those tribes, and nobody then knew of the peninsula’s wealth in copper and iron ore, or the way its lumber could be exploited. At the time, Michigan wasn’t happy with the deal but to join the Union it acquiesced. The Jeep factory in Toledo is an American treasure. But as a frequent visitor to the UP, I still think Michigan got the better deal.

[Images: © 2016 Ronnie Schreiber/The Truth About Cars]

Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, a realistic perspective on cars & car culture and the original 3D car site. If you found this post worthwhile, you can get a parallax view at Cars In DepthThanks for reading – RJS

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83 Comments on “The Fellowship of the Road...”


  • avatar
    indi500fan

    The Ohio speed enforcement brigade only blossomed with the dawn of 55mph. Somebody must have figured out it was a good cash flow booster.

    Back in the late 60s I averaged 87 mph on the TP run from Toledo to Cleveland (as calculated from my toll card). That was in a 67 Nova with bias ply tires and drum brakes LOL.

  • avatar
    CincyDavid

    Hell, I live in OH and OH plates on the cars, and I don’t even speed on local interstates…I’ll run maybe 4-5 miles over, that’s IT.

    My wife tends to turn on the cruise at 80, no matter the speed limit, and has not had a ticket in decades.

    Driving in a pack can be very efficient as long as eveyone is on the same page about speed, etc. I have seen whole groups of cars get pulled over, en masse, by the MO Highway Patrol…flagged down by a group of troopers waiting along the side of the road.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      The only time I’ve ever gotten tickets has been on Indiana highways, with Indiana plates. Their state troopers are pretty jerky, and like to pull over the nicest car they see out of a group of cars doing the same speed.

      Around here in Cincinnati, I stick it at about 76. I don’t feel comfortable doing 80. Now once I was doing 76 in the 55 near downtown on 71N and got pulled over.

      Cop comes up to the window and after getting my license and registration says, “Well you were speeding, but we’re not writing tickets tonight.”

      I’m sure I grinned.

    • 0 avatar
      geozinger

      Yes, you have to pay very close attention to speed limits in Missouri.

      Also, I’ve been part of those big dragnets in New York state, too. I got nailed for speeding outside of Fishkill, NY. The NY State patrol put some poor bastard out in the middle of I-84 just flagging people over. Scared the living crap out of me as I almost didn’t see him when the car in front of me pulled over suddenly.

      That was one brave dude.

    • 0 avatar
      VCplayer

      I grew up in Ohio. That state still gives me way more stress about my speed than anywhere else.

      Back when the interstate limit was 65, my friend and I were driving up I-71 from Cincinnati. He’s cruising at 70 in a pack traveling at similar speed when they all come around a corner with a patrol car waiting in the median.

      Everyone in the pack: “Ah, we’re only 5 over, no point in slowing down.”

      Patrol car comes out and grabs the guy at the back of the pack. Everyone else immediately drops back to 65, which was good, since there were two more patrol cars within the next 5 miles.

      I wish they would loosen up, I suspect that this sort of strictness actually just makes drives edgy instead of safe.

  • avatar
    Chris Tonn

    Ten percent over is my general rule outside of cities in Ohio..and I have Ohio plates.

    And as an OSU alum (by marriage, as I never finished my degree there) MUCK FICHIGAN.

    • 0 avatar
      01 Deville

      We in WI repeat your last line every game.

    • 0 avatar

      I’m quite sure that your spelling skills are indicative of OSU students and alumni.

      It seems to me that a lot of the ire directed at the University of Michigan by Ohio State and Michigan State alums has to do with feelings of inferiority.

      I miss Woody Hayes. It was so much fun watching him lose his sh!t.

      • 0 avatar
        sgeffe

        Woody v. Bo was the best of the rivalry! And Bob Ufer (sp?) calling the games on WJR. (And Frank Beckmann too! Nice that Jimmy Brandstatter got the head chair when Frank retired.) Harbaugh v. Meyer has the possibility of that happening again once Harbaugh’s got a couple more recruiting classes under his belt (provided he doesn’t bolt for greener pastures back in the NFL).

        I’m in the Toledo area in Perrysburg, a stone’s throw from where you indicated you exited the Turnpike. (Next time use the I-280 exit — it’s a more direct route, bypassing the construction through downtown Toledo, and cheaper to boot.) Moved from St. Clair Shores at age 14, so I bleed Maize and Blue. (Though my brother graduated from OSU with an engineering degree..oh well! BUT..turnabout is fair play, as he married a UM alum!) Since CKLW (along with WOMC, I think, which comes in down here in fits and starts) got rid of UM football a few years after they picked it up after WJR made the deal with that other team from East Lansing, I’ve only been able to find Michigan football on Sirius/XM..if they happen to be picking up their broadcast. (Which they were the day of the botched punt last year against aforementioned team off of I-96. Stopped my car to listen to the final play with the car lined up to enter my garage..and the solid rubber streaks I left on the ground were still there two weeks later!)

        Back to cars..the general practice among Ohio law-enforcement is “9 you’re fine, 10 you’re mine.” Even the OHP. Yet you saw why I sometimes hate driving around here, despite less traffic than in the “D” — it seems like freeways (well..ones without construction in Toledo, an impossibility through the next two construction seasons at least) around here are, especially in the left lane, filled with all manner of folk who seemingly get their jollies from playing cop, judge, jury AND executioner without benefit of a gun, badge, or badly-fitting robe! The only law these folks follow involves two arbitrary numbers on a sign, posted about five under what are reasonable speeds! As I stated in a response to another post in these comments a couple weeks ago, aside from someone who can be brought out of a moment of inattention because of concentration on their oh-so-important text message, for many NW Ohio “left-lane bandits,” no courtesy-flashes of a left-signal, no flashing brights, but nothing short of a full-blown PIT MANEUVER will convince these self-righteous “morality police” that it’s not their job to enforce speed limits!!

        Michigan sets their limits correctly — at the speed 85% of the drivers on a given stretch are going. I love doing 80 between the Ohio border and Detroit, and it is so nice to be able to do just a touch over 30 in residential areas marked 30, instead of 25 as in Ohio. (There seems to be such a difference between the two speeds, especially in a modern car! Yet sheeple here will CRAWL along at that speed, despite being on a two-lane street with a center turn lane, excellent sight lines, and no law-enforcement present!). Now I’m not going to go 80 in those conditions! But I’m not going to drive at what I consider a snail’s pace, either!

        Even on urban Michigan freeways (where my adaptive cruise control is set to 73mph in Ohio, and pacing traffic), they get it! Up on the EB M-59 bypass around Utica a couple years ago, I set my ACC at 73..and was at the prevailing traffic speed! The speed limit was 70! Just because a speed limit is a little higher doesn’t mean that the traffic is going to go much faster, provided the limit is reasonable!

  • avatar
    1998redwagon

    plus a reference to the toledo war!!!! ufb. entertainment plus education all in one article. thanks ronnie. next time you should write about the boats and cars bootleggers used to get seagram’s across the detroit river. im told that in the winter sometimes it was cars! drive fast – you don’t want to fall through.

    • 0 avatar

      According to a history of the Purple Gang that my daughter bought me, bootleggers eventually realized it was more profitable to distill their own liquor on the Detroit side of the river, than smuggle it, but the term “the little Jewish navy” did have some currency. Before they were known as the Purples, they were caleld the Sugar House Gang.

      I had no idea that one of my grade school classmates was the granddaughter of a real gangster, Harry Keywell.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    I have found that such “team attacks” are more two morons looking to have a little sprint more than anything. I call them morons because I am one. A little contest to see who can build the biggest gap between whom is a fun way to break up the monotony of the daily grind, and also razzle left lane campers.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Hey, how’d the Fit do?

    • 0 avatar

      It didn’t like the high crosswinds as I left Michigan, but in general it was great. Just shy of 37 mpg for the trip, including some rush hour stuff in NYC. The reviews are correct, the gearing is a bit short, so you’re spinning about 3,800 RPM in 6th at 80mph but I find the close-ratio box to be fine, though the shifter could be better. First and second are a little notchy and finding third on a downshift is sometimes iffy. My bad back didn’t bother me so I guess the seats are good – they do have a manual lumbar support adjuster. The flexible seating in back came in handy because my sister sent me home with boxes and bags for my mom and kids. Steering could have more feel, but it’s got a lot of grip and will tighten up a line if you need to. Stereo is fine, though it’d be nice to have a real volume knob. The LaneWatch blind spot cam is nice – I wonder what it’d take to hack a second cam from a RHD Fit.

      • 0 avatar
        VoGo

        I love Honda’s Lanewatch – where you see on the main screen the video from the camera in the right hand mirror. I wish they would add it to the left side as well.

        • 0 avatar
          sgeffe

          It’s nice to be able to click it in when in a construction zone — like the entirety of the Toledo freeway system except I-280 and I-75 between Perrysburg and the Maumee River — just as a gut-check.

          I drove a loaner 2015 Accord when my 2013 Touring in my avatar was in for PDR overnight, and I saw that Honda added a delay adjustment to the LaneWatch options, which would be nice, as mine is set to three blinks with no adjustment possible — did Honda allow that to be adjustable in the Fit? By the time I hit the auto-blink and turn my head to check blind spots, the signal is stopped, and the LaneWatch is off. A second of delay would be a nice sanity check on the camera before moving over.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Nice. I’d expect some crosswind issues given the tall, boxy body.

        People often forget that small cars can be good on the road.

  • avatar
    GTL

    I once drove from Orlando to Atlanta in my ’95 525i teamed for much of the trip with a black Acura TL from the mid 2000s. Other cars would join us for a while, but would drop off…maybe because we were traveling at speeds in excess of 90 and would hit 3 digits on occasion. Just over 5 hours for the trip.

  • avatar
    qfrog

    The Audi is most likely a 96 or 97 model year A4 in laser red, if it has chrome trim around windows then 2.8L, if not 1.8T. The low point in the center under the car is probably the exhaust so I would wager that it is a quattro.

    • 0 avatar
      319583076

      “Ain’t now way I’ll let somebody go past in a base.”

      In eastern NE/western IA, tractor trailers do the 1 mph drag race AND will pull out and turn in front of you with impunity. Don’t think passenger vehicles and light trucks behave any better – they routinely charge up on ramps toward a merge without any consideration for the yield sign or the drivers occupying the lane they mistakenly believe is theirs.

      Fellowship? I don’t think so…no quarter seems to be the rule of the road here.

      • 0 avatar
        sproc

        While true, I was surprised he even kept that complaint in the piece, given the wrath of the trucker mafia Jack B. incurred a year or two ago.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        Truckers aren’t racing each other, they just systematically rotate forward, sharing the task of pushing the wind for the trucks behind (drafting).

        It’s your job to get past them while there’s an opening. If not, you’re dozing.

        • 0 avatar
          sgeffe

          If you can! Thank goodness they widened the Ohio Turnpike to three lanes across, as it prevents those 18-wheeled logjams from happening as much (unless they’re doing 69/70 with a left-lane bandit on their left). An old friend of mine once went ** 25 ** miles behind two semis on the Turnpike, and I might have suffered in the same way one day..had I not been passing a quarter-mile long onramp which was mercifully clear of traffic and cops. Plenty of room for me and a couple other drivers, all doing the single-digit salute to the rolling roadblock, to get by.

  • avatar
    seth1065

    Ronnie,
    Taking pics while driving, and sending them to a friend is gonna get you in trouble one day.

  • avatar
    mike978

    Great article. Driving from NC to Columbus, it was always apparent when entering Ohio from West Virginia and going through South East Ohio in a 55mph that the police took speed seriously. Route 33 was tedious for over an hour.

    My father in law is an OSU grad and takes the UM-OSU rivalry far too seriously.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      I’m a UM alum. The OSU people do seem to take the rivalry way more seriously than we do.

      But, that’s also true for the people in East Lansing and State College (Penn State harassing is generally even worse than OSU). About the only “equal” rivalry is with Notre Dame.

      I don’t get what the big deal is- UM’s sports teams aren’t even that good anymore. And anyway, the SEC is the real enemy.

      • 0 avatar
        bills79jeep

        Good natured needling – but the reason UM says it’s not a big deal anymore is because they are consistently losing to OSU and MSU. They took it real seriously when Lloyd was whipping Cooper every year and MSU really was the little brother.

        100% agree on the PSU people – they are nuts

      • 0 avatar
        TMA1

        I think Buckeyes take it more seriously because we have no other serious rivals. UM has yearly contests against MSU and Notre Dame.

        • 0 avatar
          sgeffe

          Unfortunately the Nortre Dame game is on hiatus for the next several years again.

          And regarding Sparty, after the loss last year, folks informed me that MSU was THE powerhouse of college football in Michigan until the 1960s or so. Had no idea.

    • 0 avatar
      VCplayer

      I often think the non-interstate highways are often worse. I-71 I can get up and down without too many problems. 33? I’m just going to cruise control that right on the speed limit. Isn’t with my trouble to go faster.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    Somebody hasn’t been through Knoxville, TN on game weekend, especially football. You may THINK that rivalry thing is big between Ohio and Michigan, but Tennessee’s fans beat almost anything I’ve seen at any other home-team site around the country. People I know who thought their home team had a serious fan base were amazed when they tried to drive through Knoxville during a UT home game.

  • avatar
    bills79jeep

    Ohio plates offer no immunity to state troopers. They are equal opportunity ticketers. I just comply, say as little as possible, and try to get out of there with my ticket ASAP. At least they bumped up the speed limit up to 70 so I can cruise at 75ish comfortably.

    I don’t know if I’d call Michigan a ‘destination’ state. There is just a whole lot less interstate traffic coming through. Being at the top of the country and bordered by lakes doesn’t make MI a thoroughfare.

    I’d also say that the whole vandalism on cars with MI plates is overstated. Maybe during a certain weekend in Nov I’d recommend against parking on campus. Outside of that, not really a big deal. Good college friend had a car on campus with MI plates for 3-4 years, no issue. That being said, GO BUCKS – M*CH*G*N SUCKS. 1588 days since Michigan has beat Ohio State

    • 0 avatar

      A friend and neighbor is a pediatrician who graduated from Ohio State’s medical school. His wife is also an OSU grad. They both say Michigan’s a better school though I don’t know how much is applicable today, since it seems to me that colleges in general have degraded. I just read that the average grade in the Ivy League is an A-. That says to me that there’s not much rigor.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        “… since it seems to me that colleges in general have degraded.”

        I’ve gone to UM, Northwestern, and Central Florida between 2004 and 2015. They were all basically the same quality-wise. The faculty and students at UM and Northwestern just had more wealth and a higher opinion of themselves.

      • 0 avatar
        319583076

        Enrollments are up, necessarily diluting student talent and educational resources. Retention is the priority for most departments because tuition pays bills which is necessary because state legislators don’t want to raise taxes or increase funding.

        The only credible way to achieve these goals is relaxation of educational standards. Unfortunately, the demand and easy money are pushing the price up – resulting in worse education for all at greater cost to all.

        As pointed out, the popular issue is whether or not “our” football team can beat “your” football team, regardless of cost. Truly we live in glorious times.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          The larger issue of course is, education is not supposed to be a business and yet this is precisely what it has become. Not to mention there are far too many of them. According to the link, there are 2364 four year degree granting institutions in the US. I seem to recall GM at one time had too many dealers…

          http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/college-search-selection/71235-how-many-colleges-are-there-in-america.html

          • 0 avatar

            I think it was Charles Murray who said that about 2/3rd of the kids in college shouldn’t be there. A third aren’t really smart enough to do true college level academic work and another third are the Jobs/Gates types who are smart enough but don’t have much interest and are there just for the piece of paper. So many resources are devoted to that 2/3rd that the kids who are really best served by going to college are given short shrift.

        • 0 avatar
          bills79jeep

          “As pointed out, the popular issue is whether or not “our” football team can beat “your” football team, regardless of cost.”

          Well, the OSU football team actually turns a profit for the school. But, most programs don’t. If you want to talk about how they turn that profit, on the backs of ‘student athletes,’ that’s a whole other topic that has nothing to do with cars. Unless a booster is providing cars as illicit compensation on the side. There, back to TTAC.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    Even when I had two good eyes, I rarely went over 4 mph over the limit on the roads, except for a brief time when I was young. Getting a ticket cured me of that, and I felt it just wasn’t worth it.

    Now? with only one good eye, on my commute, I stay in the right lane and never pass anyone except when someone is actually going slower than me! On my commute, I only go 61-64 mph because it relieves the stress for me. I drive like an old man because I have to, not to mention the fact I AM one!

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      61-64 is the max on stupid Ronald Reagan. God I hate that road, and avoid it whenever possible. Slow, curvy, lots of cops, bad drivers.

      • 0 avatar
        Zackman

        I take the 275 west loop from West Chester to Hebron. It appears more and more are using it to avoid 75 through town, which is real torture.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          Well with the constant construction (down there by St. Bernard, how many years now?) and heavy truck traffic, do you blame them? Plus the road surface of 75 sucks! I use 71 or 275 whenever possible.

  • avatar
    NoID

    I-69 up and through mid-Michigan is a fairly busy thoroughfare for commercial traffic headed from the midwest into Canada, or maybe cutting through Canada to get into the northeast United States without getting stuck on the turnpikes.

    Other than that I’d have to agree, Michigan is definitely a destination state by virtue of its geographic location and attractions.

  • avatar
    chris724

    I once led a parade at 85mph in my ’91 Mustang. We were coming home from a wedding in Iowa, on I-88 eastbound. I kept picking up followers who probably figured I’d be the one to get the ticket. I had 4 or 5 cars behind me by the time we got to the outskirts of Chicago. These days, I’ll set the cruise at 70 or 75, to get better mpg. No more Mustang for me either.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    Here in Washington, troopers work in groups and are perfectly willing to pull over everyone in a group. They’re pretty lax about under 10, but 10 or over and you’re gonna get caught.

    It’s rare for me to go more than 10 over anywhere these days except when crossing the 520 bridge across Lake Washington, where it’s easy to spot troopers in traffic and there’s nowhere for them to wait. There’s too much risk of a ticket on the rest of the freeways and too much risk of hitting pedestrians in the city.

    • 0 avatar
      olddavid

      What happened to the old “wasting natural resources” tickets that many western states had back in the 70’s and 80’s? In Idaho it was $5 and you paid the trooper. No points. Great deal.

  • avatar
    16b

    I live in Ohio. Astonishingly (to me, anyway), despite the relatively strict enforcement, there seems to be no shortage of drivers doing 80+ on the major interstates. When I travel I-70 or I-71, I usually park it in the right lane, set the cruise somewhere between 0 and 5 over, and let the rat race stream by on my left. It’s actually kind of relaxing sometimes.

    Having grown up in Ohio, I didn’t realize our speed enforcement here was “strict” compared to other states. I remember driving to NAIAS for the first time a couple of years ago. It was also my first time driving in “that state up north” (had been a passenger in the past), and I was blown away by how fast people drove. At first I assumed that it was just because the cops in Detroit have much bigger fish to fry, but it sounds like it’s that way all over the state. Driving anywhere close to the speed limit actually felt dangerous due to the speed differential.

    • 0 avatar

      You can generally do 79 on any Michigan interstate without much fear of getting pulled over, with the exception of within 10 miles of the Paw Paw exit (#60) on I-94. Once, on my way to Chicago I counted four different cops within a half mile of that interchange.

      Still, nothing is like Ohio in my experience. North of Cinci, or on US 23 south of Fidley, the cops just line up.

      • 0 avatar
        05lgt

        When going 79 but not 80, which spedometer do you trust? My phone nav and car don’t corelate that well.

      • 0 avatar
        Windy

        Before the days of the double nickel I was making regular trips back and forth to Colorado… where I was supposed to be studying… from northeastern Conn. on interstate 80 most of the way. My memory is that the brotherhood of the road was much broader even if in the pre CB radio craze days it was all done with headlight flashes and blinking of taillights.

        Prep consisted of getting a fresh Triptic from your auto club with big highlighted SPEED TRAP warnings marked out as well as major construction so you could plan around them.

        I can recall on a long stretch of flat deserted farmland highway doing about 90 or so and getting the flash from a bunch of semis when I had no cars in sight ahead or behind that covered a lot of road… just after sunrise it was too… I dropped to the speed limit and about 4 miles further on (No oncoming traffic since the trucks that provided the warning) just as I was thinking I could pick up my speed again ai trundled past a parked local yokel… he actually pulled out behind me and stuck to my bumper for about another 4 or 5 miles… and then did a U turn I guess to stay in his Jurisdiction.

        my next trip I noticed that the AAA had put one of their rubber stamp SPEED TRAP warnings right at that spot.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    E-470 is probably Denver’s worst speed trap area – new, wide open, 75 mph limit, light traffic, lots of folks blasting up it to get to the airport on time. Lots of CSP Chargers trolling. They do tend to give you a pass to about 80-85, far as I can tell, though.

    Denver cops also like to patrol I-25 through parts of downtown during rush hour – not because of speeding (traffic is heavy through downtown all the time on that stretch, so speeding isn’t really an issue), but to nab people making politically incorrect moves.

    Otherwise, this town isn’t so bad for speed traps, aside from the radar vans (they put up a sign warning you before you hit them) and all the red light cameras in Boulder.

    Now, if you’re ever in St. Louis…for God’s sake don’t speed between 40 (I-64 if you’re not a native) and the airport on 170. Speed trap hell, all the way. You pass through several little towns that only exist to collect speeding ticket revenue.

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      “Politically-incorrect move?” Is that defined as saying to a cop “I hate pot,” “I hate Subarus,” or “I am a Republican” in Colorado?

      (Seriously, I’ve heard some horror stories about what cops have to deal with since cannibus became legal there!)

      Just gotta wonder!

  • avatar
    friedclams

    When I lived in MI any speed from the highway speed limit to +10 over was considered a “dollar collar” and not worth it for the troopers. The rules are roughly the same here in MA.

    It is rare that I find a rabbit out East. Usually I am the rabbit. But occasionally I pull in behind one like Ronnie did and I feel like a member of a secret band of superheroes. NJ Turnpike, in my experience, has rabbits aplenty.

  • avatar
    CincyDavid

    The good thing about Missouri is that there are “traffic law’ attorneys on every street corner…double the fine, plus $50 for att’ys fees and your speeding ticket becomes a littering violation. I got 3, count ’em 3 citations in beautiful Pine Lawn MO about 5 years ago when I rolled a stop sign in the middle of a block that had no business being there. The whole shebang went away for about $350.

    I just had the dubious pleasure of taking I-75 to the Norwood Lateral, up I-71 to I-275 to Loveland OH…never ending construction, a wreck at the western end of the Lateral on the way back partially blocking SB I-75 lanes, potholes as big as Texas…ugh.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      I bet the best part of that drive was the 71N bit.

      • 0 avatar
        CincyDavid

        Yeah, Corey, 71 just flows better than 75, especially northbound. The Lateral is OK, I prefer it to Ronald Reagan just because Reagan tends to have goofy traffic flow, and it gets really slick for some reason if there is precipitation. The portion of Reagan near Arlington Memorial Garden seems to be where lots of wrecks happen.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          The only problems with the Lateral:

          1) Getting stuck behind 45mph max hooptie Lincoln.
          2) Random wrench in road.
          3) Random box spring in road.
          4) Punctures!

          Lol, so much junk all over the road surface, always.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    I was doing 90 mph ’90 Mustang GT, northbound with the top down, thinking I was Hot Sh!t, when a Chevy ‘Hoe passes my like I’m standing still. This was the so Cal to Vegas run, about in Y2K and the max limit was just 65 mph. Mid day, clear weather on a Saturday.

    This was by Hesperia on the I15, but I quickly caught it and got close behind, NASCAR style. We were doing 105 mph and kept it there for about an hour, swaying through traffic on the left and right. By drafting, I couldn’t see much ahead, but kept an eye in the sky for Smokey.

    I guess he was running low on fuel when he slowed and exited. I just gave to 2 thumbs up and made it to Vegas on a single tank.

  • avatar
    SlowMyke

    I call these fellowships buddies. I take 80 from Ann Arbor to Boston every year and thoroughly appreciate finding a couple good buddies to get me through Ohio and Pennsylvania.

    The flip side of these fellowships, though, is that you can get jackass buddies as well. The people who like to be the fastest car on the road, but only until they are the front car. They tailgate you to get out of their way, blow by, then fall back behind you as they usually suck at navigating traffic once they find it again. I had a guy yoyo back and forth like this for about 4 hours last December on my way down to Memphis (that’s a dull drive down 57 and 55…). Either way though, buddies of either kind are helpful and/ or entertaining, so I appreciate them both.

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      I also call those guys yo-yos. The ones who don’t know how to set their cruise control and just go. I’m courteous enough to move aside for faster traffic, but if they’ve already blown past me once, only to fall behind, I’m not moving for them again.

      • 0 avatar
        SlowMyke

        My approach exactly. I try to stay out of the left on general and get out of the way when someone comes up when I am in the left. But as you said, once you prove there’s no point in letting you go by, I stop worrying.

    • 0 avatar
      geozinger

      Yes, it helps to have confederates on the long trips. Sometimes you get stuck with idiots who have to be the lead dog no matter what, like Slow Myke alluded to.

      Usually I find I have to use the restroom at that point…

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      I alluded to this a couple weeks ago, but my favorite “rabbit” episode occurred when I was headed to Detroit from Toledo via I-275 because of construction in downriver Detroit. Guy in an early-nineties Grand Prix blows by me like I’m standing still, doing a buck-fifteen if it’s a mile! For the next twenty miles (until I hit Metro Airport, where a Delta Air Cargo 747 goes screaming off the runway directly in front of me), I had the cruise on a buck-ten, and the Pontiac growing smaller in the distance!

      Traffic was nearly nonexistent, as was the law, and my car, a 2006 Accord V6, never seemed more content, so I sat back and relaxed, with Tom Petty blasting on the stereo!

  • avatar
    NetGenHoon

    Born and raised Ohioan here, I cruise at 10 over. Unless 10 over is 80. I’ve only gotten tickets for 80.

  • avatar
    NeilM

    One Sunday afternoon in the fall of 2014 I was on my way home after a weekend at the new Corvette track in Bowling Green, Kentucky. My last student had left early, so I was able pack up and jump on the nearby I-65 heading north, 350 miles or so to home. With luck I’ll be there for dinner. I was in my E36 M3 track car (heavily modified, roll cage etc.), and in the way one does picked up a fellow traveller in an older Mercedes 500E driving at about the same 80 mph. Before too long another car joined us, and we settled into the blacktop groove, occasionally swapping lead and follow. Knowing from my journey down that there was heavy road construction coming some way north, I hoped to get in the initial miles at a decent speed. I had also learned that on the Interstate in Kentucky you’re going to get guys in big F250 pickups blowing by you at 90+ in the fast lane, but after 3 days of track driving I was ready for something a bit more relaxing.

    After a while like this I noticed a bright green late model Mustang coming up fast from the on-ramp to my right. This turned out to be a tuner car with lowered suspension, big tires, basso profundo V8 exhaust and a full vinyl wrap featuring “sponsor” names. I let him settle in ahead of me. It’s kind of a dick car, but fast and nicely done in its way — welcome to the party.

    As we approached the construction zone I could see the traffic up ahead condensing into a more viscous flow and then the inevitable accordion effect taking over. Looking ahead of the Mustang I spot the brake lights, then on the brakes myself I check the mirror and see the Benz is slowing too, then ahead again that the Mustang isn’t braking until long after me. He rear ends the tall pickup in front of him, taking a center punch in the grille from the truck’s trailer hitch as his hood folds back absurdly, like a sardine can lid. We’re in the center lane of three and I check and then swerve quickly to the right lane rather than get trapped behind the accident, the under control 500E following me. As we go by the extent of the Mustang’s front end damage becomes evident. Steam floats in the air as a heavy stream of luminous green coolant coolant wets the road. This guy is going to be there a long time, since we’re miles from any exit with the traffic now backing up from the newly blocked center lane.

    An hour or more later the 500E peels off someplace well south of Louisville. I raise my hand in a wave and forge my way north. Sure enough, home for a leisurely drink before dinner.

  • avatar
    Nick_515

    Audi’s driver is like my wife. Hugs the driver side white line. A friend that grew up in West Virgina – and swore hugging the yellow line in the narrow roads she grew up on meant sudden death from oncoming large vehicles – drives hugging the passenger line. Both make me uncomfortable.

  • avatar
    geozinger

    Being a native Ohioan and being the son of a truck driver, I’ve always known about Ohio’s reputation as a speeding ticket state. I’ve lived in a few states since leaving my home near Youngstown and have found few areas that seem to be as ticket-happy as Ohio. Now living in the southwestern side of Michigan and having made many trips throughout the state (thanks to the kid’s travel soccer), I can honestly say I’ve only ever once been pulled over for speeding. And let go with a warning. So long as you don’t exceed 80 or 85, you’re usually OK.

    Starting about 2007-8, my wife’s mother developed liver cancer, and my mother’s Alzheimers worsened dramatically. We made the drive from Grand Rapids to Youngstown or Cleveland on a pretty regular basis. Up until a few years ago when Ohio finally(!) raised the speed limit on I-80/90, I could always get across Michigan on I-96 doing about 80 or so and no more than 75 mph in Ohio.

    Once the speed limit was raised to 70 mph, it seemed to loosen up a little bit and on the occasions I go home (which are pretty infrequent now that they have both passed) I can pretty much drive I-80/90 at 80 mph. Occasionally, I will run across random radar traps between Toledo and the western suburbs of Cleveland, but those seem far fewer than I remember.

    I too, use the buddy system. My car is a fairly non-descript Pontiac G6 sedan (Michigan Mafia staff car!). I’ve upgraded the tires and brakes, but cosmetically the car is bone-stock. I drive quickly and hopefully tactically well, as few distractions as possible (Michigan Radio’s network of NPR stations across the state and even east of Toledo is a good driving companion). Seat belts on and no stupid passing stunts while on the road to attract any undue attention. It’s worked for me for over 25 years and I don’t see any reason to change.

  • avatar

    That is the same very effective technique I have used for many years. The buddy system works very well. Sometimes with a good buddy, we take turns at being the front car – to even out the risks. From 1981-1987 I handed out the press cars in Detroit for up to 20 manufacturers.

  • avatar
    Delta88

    Off topic but reminded me of an I-80 incident:
    In the summer of 1977 our family moved from central New Jersey to a Cleveland suburb for about a year. Dad got transferred and was already working in OH, leaving my mother to (mostly) handle the sale of the house, packing up, and move four kids ranging from about 6 to 15.

    A vivid memory from that move was my Mom, Grandmother, three siblings, two dogs, and a ton of items deemed too delicate for the moving truck filling our 1976 Olds Custom Cruiser to the ceiling. And beyond, too, because that car always had a big hounds-tooth print vinyl luggage carrier lashed to the roof on family trips.

    Coming over the crest of a hill after entering OH an officer is standing on the shoulder pointing at our wagon and waiving his ticket book in a “pull over right here!” fashion. My 5’2″ Mom hauled down the wood paneled white whale and screeched to a halt on the shoulder of I-80. I can’t remember if the cop walked or drove up to where we sat.

    I was in the Way Back nervously awaiting our punishment while my siblings made snorting piggy noises to each other. My mother indeed did get a ticket that day for doing 75 in a 55 zone. We couldn’t hear the entire conversation but years later she revealed to us that when he told her how fast she was going her frayed nerves allowed “That’s bullshit!” to be her response. When he came back with the ticket he told her that his first instinct was to let her off with a warning but her “smart New Jersey mouth” changed his mind.

    Of course it was all hilarious to us kids when we’d retell the story because my mother was born and raised in Cincinnati. And had a wicked lead foot.

  • avatar
    sgeffe

    Have any of you B&B noticed how long car trips have become so much more pleasant in general?

    Obviously, higher speeds since the end of the 55mph limit have something to do with it, but at age 46, I could still do 12-hour stints behind the wheel without complaint, stopping only when the CAR needs gas, at which time a “pit stop” and a hearty meal are welcomed! Then back on the road! Good music on the stereo and..I’m here already! 700 miles? No problem!

    • 0 avatar
      VCplayer

      The rise of 24-hour travel stops all over the US has been a very welcome addition to travel. I’m not old enough to remember the days of “half a tank: should probably get gas now since who knows where the next station is,” but I do remember the days of “8:30 pm: should probably get gas before everything closes and I end up stranded.”

      Now it seems like in a vast majority of the country I can happen upon a well-lit establishment with a dozen well-filled gas pumps, (mostly) clean restrooms that I don’t need to finagle a key from the manager to use, and a hot meal.

      The freeway system has continued to improve as well. We complain about bad roads a lot, but three lane interstates are becoming pretty common, which makes navigating highways way faster. Most cities have pretty good freeway circulation outside of rush hours as well, which saves a lot of time.

      Full agreement: road trips are MUCH nicer now than 20 years ago.

  • avatar
    JuniperBug

    Back when I was 18 and had a girlfriend outside of the Albany area, I-87 and to a lesser extent I-90 and I-88 were well known to me, and I’d cruise along at 80-90 for hours.

    As Ronnie described, sometimes you’d get into a rhythm with another driver. Other times you’d take advantage of another driver’s carelessness. I remember once using a TrailBlazer as a rabbit at around 90+, leaving about a quarter mile’s distance. Sure enough, we hit a speed trap, and that person saved me a couple hundred dollars. Occasionally I was the lead car, which didn’t bother me, except for when the following cars would tailgate in the right lane, but refuse to pass. The idea there was to pressure me to go faster than I wanted, but making sure I’d be the one to take the fall. I remember at least one occasion when I let off the gas down to about 20 MPH slower than when the car behind latched onto my bumper, before they got the message and used the clear left lane to pass.

    In all the time I spent driving/riding in the US with my Quebec plate, the only time I got a ticket was when I got a bit too enthusiastic through a curve after riding through a town on my TL1000S, before the limit went back up to 55 MPH. 70 in a 45, and the officer was extremely nice about it, including suggesting I write a letter to the judge asking to turn it into a non-moving violation, which worked (Quebec shares info on traffic violations with NYS).

  • avatar
    Chris Ransdell

    I am a calmer driver now that I’m 40 than I was but if I’m on the Interstate its because I want to hurry. I’m relatively new to PA and have been amazed at the almost total absence of police on highways. Between Scranton and Wilkes-Barre the speed limit is 55 with some 45 construction zones but the honest average speed for traffic is 70, varying not a bit in our out of the construction. On any highway in PA that is remotely in decent condition, people drive whatever speed feels safe which is almost always way over the speed limit. I really appreciate not feeling like I’m on egg shells all the time. Oh, and PA is the only Northeast state other than Maine to have any roads posted for 70 MPH and wisely for traffic flow and lane discipline, the speed limit for cars and trucks is the same except on steep hills.

    In New York there are MANY multitudes more cops. One thing I think NY gets right though is that the speed zones start very near the built up part of town and end just past the last commercial driveway or other obvious built up thing. Very few of them start a mile before there is some obvious reason to slow down and even fewer drag on for a mile or two into the farm lands. Also, most state highways in NY (at least the majority of NY that is not near NYC) are posted at 55 versus a lot of miles in NY, RI or PA where 45 or 50 is a common top speed limit on lesser state highways. So when in NY I try not to hurry in general and I darn sure observe each and every speed zone.

    Being raised in Oregon, New Jersey always sounded like an armpit of a state. Now that I live in Northeast PA I find myself hiking (of all things) in NJ a lot and have been surprised or maybe just lucky every single time that a lot of NJ is lovely and interesting to drive though and while the state highways are busy and not very fast moving, the freeways seem like little Autobahns. Love it. Of course I’m not slogging into NYC or Camden at rush hour, I’m weekend touristing.

    I’ve also been surprised that NY/NJ plated drivers don’t seem to really be any more annoying or aggressive than average unless it is really congested urban traffic and then they magically transform into veteran NYC cab drivers. *shudder* NY drivers are more likely to cruise in the left lane but they do mostly seem to get out of the way for traffic. I wish I could say the same for MD and VA people. They both are the most likely to be going barely the speed limit (which is slow on a PA interstate) and in whatever lane they feel like without regard to the many people streaming by them on the right.

    In CA (which I used to live in and drove a lot of miles in), almost every ticket I’ve gotten there was when I was irritated by clumping traffic if the left lanes and sticking out as aggressive while passing them on the right. When in fast flowing traffic in CA, I’ve never felt like a target regardless of speed since there are SO many cars there. I do think CA/OR/WA take the cake for having the worst lane discipline of any states but at least in CA average speeds are more determined by crushing traffic at times rather than just unwillingness to go as is the case in OR and WA.

  • avatar
    mikeg216

    It really is different in Ohio now that the rural speed limits are 70mph, keep it within ten of the limit and you are good to go.

  • avatar
    DCicch

    “Volk”. Nouns are capitalized in German

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