Why does the car register a 140mph if it's against the law?

@JenInTN (27565)
United States
January 22, 2012 9:05am CST
My daughter asked me this Friday when we were on our way to her dad's and I couldn't to save the life of me think of an acceptable answer. She was very matter of fact about it too..lol. She began by asking me about speed limits and what they usually ranged in. I didn't think much about the questions at first because it won't be long before she is preparing to drive..she's very excited about that. Then she leans over and asks if my car will do the 140mph...then she asks Why? If it's against the law to go that fast..why can the car do it? I thought..hmm..she is a smart cookie..lol..I never really thought about it. So..should I go into the politics of money made from tickets? Should I tell her there are some cars modified to race? How in the world am I going to answer her question? What do you think the reason is?
7 people like this
35 responses
@smacksman (6074)
22 Jan 12
Well, because the car makers don't make a car just for your country - they also make them for export. In many other countries you can go as fast as you like on some open roads and motorways. You can then explain to your child the benefits of exports, foreign trade, currency markets and international banking! Maybe then she will be interested in banking and grow up and get to earn a million in bonuses every year and be able to keep you in your old age to the manner to which you are accustomed! Worth a try, anyway. haha
2 people like this
@JenInTN (27565)
• United States
22 Jan 12
It would be naive for me to assume my country is the only place they made the cars for. I guess I figured there were speed limits most everywhere though. So what are the speed limits where you are? Where are there no speed limits at? I have heard that even here there are areas where there are no speed limits, but I have yet to see them. Thanks for responding!
1 person likes this
@Bluedoll (17063)
• Canada
22 Jan 12
Hello there smacksman and Jen, I think Germany had the auto-bond or a highway where any speed is allowed. Not sure about that now though? This must drive insurance companies nuts unless insurance isn't require everywhere either? I'm not sure. Maybe in Australia back country? Some cars that are being sold now I notice can go very fast. Makes you wonder where they can.
1 person likes this
@smacksman (6074)
22 Jan 12
Most countries have limits in built up areas but when you get on the open road then there is no limit. Other countries I've been to have an official limit that is only enforced when the police are running out of money. In Africa I once drove 103 miles in 50 minutes. Sure shortens the journey on a long run.
1 person likes this
@Lakota12 (42684)
• United States
22 Jan 12
uyeah I would tell here about tickets if going over the speed limit also about racer cars well really all the above. ya cant do it in Tenn as no reallay flat straight road to open a car up to see if it goes that fast. BUt if ya lived out west with a straight road with nothing in sight for 50 miles ya might can open one up. I did my 77 grand PRix hit the 160 that was on it and then faster what a thrill but just gant do that in Tenn.
2 people like this
@JenInTN (27565)
• United States
22 Jan 12
Yes..there are far too many curves and mountains here for that..lol. I have put the pedal to the metal a few times but it can't stay there long enough to reach 140..lol. I won't be sharing that with her though..I don't want to give her any ideas. I think I might break out the political stocks with her. After all...she was intelligent enough to ask it; she will understand the money thing too.
1 person likes this
@Lakota12 (42684)
• United States
22 Jan 12
lol yup way to many curves and hills never know for sure whats around the next curve. Naw keep it to yourself for aq lot of years.
1 person likes this
@Lakota12 (42684)
• United States
26 Jan 12
Well I had to find a place to write you so it was here lolol I get the emails to see posts but withthe names with###### arounbd them I cant get to the post to respond others haveing the same problem I have wrote Mylot about it so hopefully it will be fixed soon just letting you know why I aint answering your posts
@Bluedoll (17063)
• Canada
22 Jan 12
The answer to this question is our governor might have one. We certainly all want to drive safe dear and not endanger anyone; the answer for young people perhaps. But when we are all alone and lucky enough to get to a place that is safe where we can open it up all the way to see what the thing will do ... not that I have mind you ... As I understand the logic of it all, if you get a good mr mechanic to beef up the motor to go faster and put the car on say the salt flats, after a certain speed because of the air pressures, the back window will blow out. So the moral here is to consider, there are a few things to think about besides looking at that needle. A gauge will show a range. Something we can relate to is our home cooking stoves. They are made to go hotter but if you are not in a real big hurry and/or don’t want your grandmothers recipe to come out looking like burnt surprise, so better knock it down a tad under macho 1.
2 people like this
@JenInTN (27565)
• United States
22 Jan 12
Yes...burnt surprise would be no tribute to the recipe. I have always thought of the higher heat for cleaning purposes...maybe the car engine needs a good cleaning too.
@Bluedoll (17063)
• Canada
22 Jan 12
car - charger
Well later on, I was sure thinkin about this here discussion and looked out me winda and what I did I see but Jen goin about 140 on her own land which was not again no law but she couldn’t get stopped in time and ended up goin over the crik to cousin Billyray’s, now that can be serious see...
@JenInTN (27565)
• United States
23 Jan 12
That could be us Bluedoll!
@kaylachan (4776)
• Daytona Beach, Florida
23 Jan 12
I honestly think you should be open and honest with her about it. If she's going to be driving soon, then she has to be aware of everything. So not knowing something to be honest isn't helping her to learn. She's smart and at least she wants to be very well informed. You have to gtive her credit for that. Most kids rarely take something as serious as driving seriously enough to be asking those questions. There are many reasons that cars can go that fast. One of which is as you said, modified for racing, but those cars aren't street-legal. Another reason varies on where you live. Different states, countries and areas have different speed limits and speed limit ranges. In most urbon cities it is against the law to go past the posteed speed limit, 35- 40 is usually common inside city limits and 70 is normal for the interstate. This is what is typically tought in most areas. However, there are exceptions to this rule. If your traveling say through the desert, then it is actally illigal not to go under 100. This is because the slower you go the more opportunity for sand and junk to get in your engine. Mind you the adverage car isn't designed for desert travel, but our country has some, and there are other countries where that's all it is. Mind you it's rare, but there are places where you are expected to drive that fast. Your engine might not like it, but then again most people don't live in desert country. I only know this because I asked my husband the same questions. I will never have a liance,due to my poor vision. But, I wondered how things work, and why. George told me, and that's when I found out about speed limits and things like that. Otherwise I'd be like um.... but I was told.
2 people like this
@JenInTN (27565)
• United States
23 Jan 12
Oh yes..I agree...I certainly want to answer her questions properly. I had not thought about the desert and I didn't know you weren't supposed to go under a hundred. It makes sense though with the sand and debris. Thanks for sharing!
1 person likes this
@Hatley (164629)
• Garden Grove, California
23 Jan 12
hi JenInTn here on our freeways some places has a scary speed limit of 80 this I really hate,what if you are buzzing along at 80 and something happens in front of you bam how can you stop in time and I hate it when I take the little bob tailed access bus to my doctors appts and he gets up to 75 or more as the bus is short like some school buses and it goes up and down in the air at high speed like a cork bobing on a fast tide. it feels really scary too.I know we have never had an accident but still it makes me uneasy. I guess you can tell I am not a driver at all .lol.
@thesids (22358)
• Bhubaneswar, India
22 Jan 12
Hi JenInTN Quite a good question. Of course, the answer can range from anything serious to hilarious. On lighter notes, I would say - they want the doors to make money open(go beyond the limits pay the tickets - and if you are trapped severely... then it serves like a community service paying to many - right from the clerks to the lawyers) Another one... The makers of the cars just need a number to end their milometer counts and so they have provided these numbers there. If you drive that fast... your car ends up more in the garage and repair centers than on the roads
• Canada
22 Jan 12
Good morning..dear "thesids!" Just thot I would let you know, like a hibernating bear (in spring) I have rolled out of my Igloo (ice hut) in hopes of seeing warmer weather...but just like the "ground hog"..have decided it's time to hibernate some more, as it's toooo dang cold here! I have submitted a some-what serious answer below...but like your's better!
@JenInTN (27565)
• United States
22 Jan 12
There was a lot of room to mess with her on this one for sure. She wouldn't be very surprised if I did..LOL.
1 person likes this
• India
23 Jan 12
its a very smart question by your daughter. unanswerable question :D
2 people like this
@JenInTN (27565)
• United States
23 Jan 12
There have been a lot of great answers here for me to give her. She keeps me thinking for sure. I had never really considered the speedometer but she is curious about everything. Especially since she is hoping to drive soon..lol. Thanks for stopping in and welcome to Mylot!
@maximax8 (28490)
• United Kingdom
22 Jan 12
In my home country a car it at the maximum allowed to go at 70 miles per hour. That is the maximum permitted speed on a motorway. Usually the speed is up to 30 miles hour like in a built up area. A car is able to go much faster than 100 kilometers per hour like 140 miles per hour but it shouldn't be tried out. Your daughter is very smart to see a car can go much faster than it is allowed to. A police car, fire engine or ambulance can as fast as they need to due to accidents happening. The speeding tickets do make money but a driver can get points of their driving license. Car races at a track do happen. You should explain your car is ordinary so it can only go up to the maximum speed allowed. You could detail to your daughter which cars are allowed to go faster than normal traffic.
2 people like this
@JenInTN (27565)
• United States
23 Jan 12
That is about the same here with the speed limits. They also raise out insurance premiums if we get tickets here too. Thanks for responding!
@derek_a (10902)
22 Jan 12
Some people like to use their cars on race tracks and I think that is why the speedo goes that high. My car's speedo registers 140, but I know it wouldn't do it, because according to the handbook the top speed is 115.. But I wouldn't want to do that either. OK, maybe as a kid, but not these days. I prefer a more peaceful existence. _Derek
2 people like this
@JenInTN (27565)
• United States
23 Jan 12
I might open it up on a deserted highway if I knew I wouldn't get in trouble, but the speeding tickets here can be very expensive...not to mention they raise your insurance premiums too.
@missybear (11396)
• United States
22 Jan 12
Good Question but I also don't have an answer exept that in Germany you can drive that fast.
2 people like this
@JenInTN (27565)
• United States
22 Jan 12
I think it would be awesome to be able to just drive whatever speed you wanted. Thanks for responding.
@LadyMarissa (12161)
• United States
22 Jan 12
It's ALL about selling cars to jocks who believe that their manhood is tied to how fast their car will go. Silly??? YES!!! They know they will NEVER go that fast, but their fantasy is how it will feel when they do!!!
@JenInTN (27565)
• United States
22 Jan 12
I'll have to tell her that too.
1 person likes this
@applefreak (3131)
• Singapore
23 Jan 12
firstly, she will have to understand that everyone's ability is different. speed limits are created because not everyone can drive very well. some can take a corner at 60mph while most take it at 30mph. if there is no speed limits, i am sure the accident rate will go so much higher. not everyone knows their own limit and they will only realise it when they are involved in an accident. a car is capable of going at a much higher speed because there are places with much higher speed limits. or better, no speed limit whatsoever. also, i am sure all of us have been in a situation where we have to get to a place five minutes ago. imagine our cars can only do 60mpph, we'd probably be late for whatever it may be...
1 person likes this
@JenInTN (27565)
• United States
23 Jan 12
Well...when you look at it like that...lol. I am always afraid of getting a ticket when I speed...even when I am running behind. I got one on Valentine's day last year and it cost me quite a bit of money...plus i had to go to a day of driving school to keep it off my record so my insurance wouldn't go up. You can only do that here once every 5 years though. After that one time...it's money money money..lol. Thanks for responding
1 person likes this
• Singapore
23 Jan 12
i have driven as fast as i could, without a care for the speed limit, only once. that was when the hospital called and asked me to be there as fast as possible. my mother was critical and i did everything i could to get to the hospital. not even ten tickets would deter me. thankfully my mother pulled through. i guess i would have been really angry if cars can only go 60mph or 90mph...
@JenInTN (27565)
• United States
24 Jan 12
I'm glad to hear you mom pulled through and you were able to get there. I would be mad too if it were one of my family and the car would only go 50 or so.
1 person likes this
@veganbliss (3901)
• Adelaide, Australia
22 Jan 12
Hi Jen. Congratulations on reaching the "today's top" list with this one! They tend to make cars "one type fits all" - that's all countries, all roads, all laws, all purposes. Our Holden factory, pretty much next-door to where I live, exports police cars to the US currently. We also make them to suit the Northern Territory's unrestricted speed limits. That's one aspect - it makes your car cheasper to buy & run & insure & maintain due to mass production. The other aspect you can "feel good" about is that you have in your car an engine capable of high speeds, but you are running it probably at less than half its capability most of the time. This means it'll last longer, perform better at the top end, have less chance of breaking down under high temperature (because every component in the car is purpose designed to withstand high temperatures as well as vibration as well as high currents where electronics is at its most unreliable under extremes of all of these at once). So even when you're really "pushing the envelope" as far as local laws go, you can be rest assured that your car will be "running cool" compared to what it's capable of.
1 person likes this
@JenInTN (27565)
• United States
23 Jan 12
Thanks! Great points! I will certainly be passing that info on to her. I hadn't thought about the engine life and the capacity compared to use. Awesome...thanks!
• Adelaide, Australia
19 Feb 12
Awesome! Thank you so much... thirty nine responders & you awarded me the BR? I just heard the news... your President was copping so much flack for subsidising General Motors (in Michigan?) & it turns out that they posted record profits just now & are employing more people than they ever did! The idea of building vehicles bigger & better than what local laws allow goes for e-bikes as well. I was reading a recent article on it down here where the electric motor is rated for use at 1000W, but local laws limit the power output to 200W. Apparently, we can now buy a conversion kit for about $1200 that can transform our old treadly into an electric assisted bike with in-wheel motor! I've got my eye on the motorbike-style ebikes soon to come out of America - they look & feel like a real motorbike!
@SomeCowgirl (32270)
• United States
22 Jan 12
Hmm I've often wondered that myself. Why does it go that fast? I guess for modding the car for racing, or for emergencies, but no emergency should ever be big enough to make the car go that fast, ya know. I've gone that fast, not with me driving but a friend, and well it was really only 120 mph that we went, and it was scary.
1 person likes this
@jillhill (37383)
• United States
22 Jan 12
That would be very scary for me too! I like going the speed limit...and not pressing the issue! LOL
23 Jan 12
It does make you wonder but I did read somewhere that an engine is most efficient when it is running at 50% of its maximum speed and of course there are some parts of the world where speed limits don't count so you could not sell your cars there if they could only do 70 mph
1 person likes this
@JenInTN (27565)
• United States
23 Jan 12
Nice answer. There was a couple of other people that mentioned maximum speed specs and engine efficiency. It makes alot of sense. Thanks for responding!
@sylvia13 (1851)
• Nelson Bay, Australia
23 Jan 12
I live in Austria now, where they have kilometres instead of miles. If one were to translate 140 mph to kilometres kph, the answer would be 224 kph, which is very fast indeed! The normal speed limit on the highway is 130 kph and people only dare to exceed the limit by some 10 kph, as fines would be great if one were caught!
1 person likes this
@JenInTN (27565)
• United States
23 Jan 12
We can usually get away with 5 mph over here and not worry too much....unless it is a school zone and then everyone better be walking the line..lol. Thanks for responding!
@veejay19 (3592)
• India
23 Jan 12
Cars are provided with high speeds but that does not mean that one should drive at that speed all the time.In cities there is a restriction on speeding and certain limits are given.This is because there is heavy traffic and speeding can result in serious car accidents.However outside the city and usually on highways one can increase the speed and travel at a faster rate.There are lanes dedicated to certain speeds on which one can travel at either a high speed or at a lower speed.Even within city limits there are special lanes for fast moving traffic and for slow moving traffic.There are lanes for two wheelers, four wheelers and also for buses and trucks.One can get penalised for travelling on the wrong lane.
1 person likes this
@JenInTN (27565)
• United States
23 Jan 12
We have lanes like that too. Slow and fast. Trucks must stay in. That doesn't always mean that everyone follows the rules there though. We can drive faster on interstates and highways too. I just hate it when you are in a 50 mph speed zone that suddenly changes to a 30. We call that a speed trap. There is usually an officer there waiting for the speed limit to be broken. Thanks for the response.
@carolscash (9500)
• United States
23 Jan 12
I have often thought the same thing. I don't understand why they have cars that go that fast as passenger cars if they dont want us to drive that fast.
1 person likes this
@JenInTN (27565)
• United States
23 Jan 12
That is the key word...passenger cars. I think there are cars that should be made for speed if that's what they want them for, and then cars that are made to cruise around. There were a couple of good points that I hadn't thought about though that might answer her question. Thanks for responding.
@millertime (1398)
• United States
23 Jan 12
That's an interesting question. The silly answer is, it's so if you ever want to take your car over to Germany and drive it on the Autobahn, you'll be covered. I remember back a ways when they were making the cars with speedometers that only went up to like 85 or so. They looked kind of weird though and I suspect it's one of the reasons they changed them back. When gauges in a vehicle are set up, they usually set them so all the needles are pointing in a similar direction when they are in the "normal" range. That's so you can check them for normal with a quick glance, instead of actually having to read the graduations on the gauge. You actually do read the numbers on the speedo though, and that's why it's usually the biggest gauge, but they still look more normal when they aren't pegged all the way to the top of the scale. Most U.S. cars are set up so the gauges all read normal in the upright or 10 o'clock to 2 o'clock range. A lot of speedometers are 120-140 mph which would put the 60-70 mph cruising speed in the middle area of the range. The speedometers with higher ranges like 160 or 180 or more, are usually reserved for the sportier cars that can approach that speed. I know on some of the older cars, the speedometers had more error and sometimes the higher they got on the scale, the bigger the error was, so you didn't want a huge error in the readout at highway speeds. I don't know if that's the reason they built them that way then or not but I think the ones they have today are much more accurate. Anyway, those are some logical reasons for it.
1 person likes this
@JenInTN (27565)
• United States
24 Jan 12
Heyya millertime! It makes sense that the comfortable way of looking at the speedometer is center located. I have has a couple of responses that have mentioned Germany and the fact that they don't have the same attention to speed as I am accustomed to here..lol. I would like to open it up in a place like that but since they are used to the speed, I would probably get run off to the side Thanks for responding!
@Hatley (164629)
• Garden Grove, California
23 Jan 12
hi jenintn my theory is that they make all speedometers in one or two factories and they make them for passenger cars, vans and truck, and race cars so to save money they only make the one kind, the kind that goes to 140 mph. most companies in the US are adroit at cutting corners thats why a lot of modern stuff is not built as well as in past years. lol lol thats my theory any way. lol lol Your daughter really is a smart cookie indeed.so modern cars are not meant to be driven at that speed but its there on the speedometerlol.
1 person likes this
@JenInTN (27565)
• United States
23 Jan 12
Good theory! It was mentioned that parts are made in bulk and sent out to different factories for their use. I could see that for sure. Yes..that girl of mine keeps me on my toes.
@jillhill (37383)
• United States
22 Jan 12
I am sure if you asked someone who actually took the car up to this speed they would probably say....Because I can! Yup.....maybe with some people it's a selling point....my son when he first got his motorcycle brought it up to top speed even though it was scary for several reasons like getting a ticket etc.....I am not sure why they do it....but maybe just because then can! LOL
1 person likes this
@JenInTN (27565)
• United States
23 Jan 12
Maybe it is because they can There are a lot of consumers that look for that speed thing in cars. I am just happy if it gets me safely where I need to go..lol.