The City of Santa Rosa must have made a good deal on signs that read, "Speed Limit 40." Maybe they just found a pile of them in a back room somewhere, because suddenly they're popping up all over my neighborhood (the part of my neighborhood that's inside the city limits, anyway). It's fine. I can go 40 (miles per hour, that is), or whatever, but there's an oddity here.
One of the roads that's now posted as a 40-mph zone was until the day before yesterday a 30-mph zone. That didn't stop anyone from going 40 or 45. In fact, it's one of the few stretches where I regularly broke my self-imposed rule never to go more than five miles an hour over the speed limit in town. Since I didn't catch up with anyone ahead of me, and no one caught me from behind, I think that means that 45 was the de facto speed limit on that road.
My rule for deserted country roads and divided highways is ten miles an hour over the speed limit. It's safe, and it keeps me in the flow of traffic. I've never been stopped or ticketed. Well, not for speeding anyway.
The other area where I've noticed the new 40-mph signs is on the part of my very own street that's just inside the city limits. That part of the road has always been posted at 45 mph, and for the most part traffic flowed at about that rate. You'd occasionally find someone who wanted to go 50, but it was a rarity. Something to write about in one's diary.
Now, I don't believe you can go backwards like that. I don't think you can take a stretch of 45-mph roadway, do nothing to it except lower the speed limit, and expect the people who drive it every day to pay attention. There's no more reason now than there ever was to go as slow as 40. I personally find it an invasion of— something. Or a dereliction, or possibly an affront.
So to recap (and I realize this is even worse than the turkey story): In some places they've raised the speed limit, and in other places they've lowered it. People will still go just as fast or slow as they ever did. In my case, I'll now go closer to the posted limit in the area where it was raised and a little faster in the area where it was lowered.