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  • Speed and MPG

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    I hear it all the time how everyone is driving at the speed limit or faster on the interstates. Then throw a snide comment about my driving here in Idaho. Most people don't even have a clue about what Idaho highways are like or the road conditions we face out here. Let me get this out first. Most all speed limits in Idaho are 45-65 MPH period. The only places where the speed exceeds this is the two interstate highways (I84 and I90) that pass through the state. So for me to get to I90 to just drive fast its 4 hours 10 minute drive or if I went south to I84 its 2 hours and 12 minutes just so I can drive faster than 65 MPH. So the whole idea of driving fast is not happening in this part of the state of Idaho. As for the state of Idaho, there is no minimum speed limit in the state. But... If you holding up more than 3 vehicles you must yield to traffic. If you think this is slow, try city speed limits of 25 MPH and residential of 15 MPH and its radar enforced.



    Another factor that everyone discounts is game animals crossing the highway. This occurs quite often and more times out of ten either causes vehicle damage or accident with oncoming traffic trying to avoid the animals in the highway. There have been a few cases of death from game animal accidents. Some parts of Idaho are open range so that is another factor of hitting a cow is devastating to a small car let alone a semi-truck. As for my truck I've had one occurrence of striking a deer at lower speeds thankfully, I was traveling slower other than that I would have done serious damage.


    Landslides & Rocks

    Since the mountain is constantly on the move from either animals or weather you will have from time to time a rock or landslide dump out on the highway. So traveling at the speed limit isn't always a great idea when you round the next corner to meet head on with a landslide or boulder on the road. Being I do drive cautiously around canyons and steep terrain I've been able to avoid many rocks falls.


    (Idaho 55 south of Cascade, ID)


    The weather out here is very quick to change from one extreme to another. An old local saying is “If you don't like the weather wait 15 minutes or drive 15 miles.” For where I live it's about true. I can drive to Riggins, Idaho for work and be out of the snow and then turn around drive the 15 miles back home in be in foot deep snow when I pull in the driveway. Now with bad weather be it fog, snow or heavy rain you can be given a ticket for sliding off the pavement or losing control of your vehicle. So I'd advise slowing down in poor weather. Like below heavy fog, snow, and black ice is not something to drive fast on. As for my truck, it's never slid off the pavement.


    (US95 north of New Meadows, Idaho)



    (US95 north of New Meadows, Idaho)


    I've been volunteering with Search & Rescue with Idaho County and Salmon River Rural Fire Department for many years now. I've seen many highway accidents with deaths and severe injuries. After being to a few of this kind of call out you tend to slow down giving you more buffer room for avoiding accidents. So I tend to drive slower than posted speed limits typically on average about 55-60 MPH. As for most vehicle accidents I've been to I've seen more accidents involving excessive speed.


    (US95 north of Riggins, Idaho)


    As for towing my trailers I will not drive fast than 55-60 MPH. All ST tires are rated for 65 MPH maximum speed. There is no sense in running the trailer tire at redline speed or faster to just have a blowout. To this day 28 years of driving I've never experienced a sudden blow out on a vehicle or trailer.


    Claims of high MPG at high rate of speed

    I've got guys all the time to claim 20's MPG at 70-80 MPH speeds. Most of these I call BS on these claims. First off if your capable of hitting those kinds of MPG numbers at those at that speeds then at a lower speed you should be hitting the ball out of the park. More times out of ten the owner has oversize tires or changed wheel sizes and has an odometer that is way out of whack. If your going to post a claim of high MPG numbers I highly suggest you get an accurate odometer like a GPS and figure your MPG's from GPS distance and not your erred odometer. Most people that I challenge with this disappear because their numbers are typically way lower or there method of calculating MPG was erred.

    Like all my reports of MPG numbers are fully logged from 22k miles to current. I've got a full spreadsheet all mathed out and even in graph form. As for correction of odometer for my truck is exactly 0.5 MPH off so I've got both my GPS and ScanGauge II that give corrected odometer as well as the ScanGauge II giving correct MPG numbers. With an odometer, off by 0.5 MPH, you can be off roughly 20-30 miles in a tank of fuel this roughly translates to roughly 1 MPG error.

    Idaho Highways

    As you'll see here Idaho has very few Interstate highways and majority of 2 lane highways. Like said above all 2 lane highways out here range from 45-65 MPH. Now as for the Interstates they have been upgrade to 80 MPH. The blue dot is approximate location of where I live. It's roughly 2.5 hour drive to reach I84 and about 4 hours to reach I90 from where I live. So high speed travel is not really possible here.


    So, Please keep it to yourself when you going to post snide comments about how I drive in Idaho.

    Note: All photos are from right here in Idaho on Idaho highways or from Idaho vehicle owners.

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