Driving from State College to Roaring Spring everyday and then driving home several weekends, I have been logging thousands and thousands of miles and hours upon hours upon hours of time on the road. With all that time, you’re bound to analyze, and maybe over-analyze certain things. It even brings back weird memories, like the time I saw a 9 1/2 mph speed limit sign.

And this random thought got me thinking… And after lots of thought, I came to the conclusion that our speed limit system is a little bizarre, for lack of a better word.

I find it hysterical that very few people actually follow this law of the road. We, in general, drive 5, 10, or sometimes more mph over the limit, keeping our eyes open for cops who hide alongside the road, attempting to catch those surpassing the allowed speed.

I would always find myself surprised when watching a pursuit on TV, how we would send 4 or 5 cops in pursuit of one speeding car. So instead of 1 dangerous driver on the road, we would have 5 or 6 speeding drivers on the road? This doesn’t make sense.

Safety is the primary reason for instituting the speed limit. They are intended to give suggestions for roads, to inform riders of the safe speeds which they can travel. They also should be enforced as a way of keeping the safety of others on the roads at the forefront. But from the looks of it, I would say we’ve lost sight of the motivation of the law. We’ve forgotten, drivers and enforcers alike, that the motivation for creating the speed limit was to prevent crashes, and ultimately fatalities.

I’m no exemption from this. I’ve found myself driving faster and faster this summer, as I’ve grown frustrated with the amount of time I spend on the road.

And no, I’m not actually going to talk about how we shouldn’t speed. I think it’s an important subject, but I’d much rather look at the greater issue. We have a moral code that’s inscribed within us that we are to live by to be safe and not harm others. A code that tells us, consciously or subconsciously, what’s wrong and what’s right. 

And this moral code consists of things like:

-Don’t Lie
-Help Others in Danger
-Don’t Steal
-Save a Life if You Can
-Don’t Envy
-And many, many more…

So I equated speed limits to moral codes. And, I set a goal for myself. A mission to drive from home to State College, a 3 hour trip, at the speed limit.

And, I almost succeeded, failing on a few occasions. At the times I found myself speeding, I evaluated the root of it and here’s what I’ve found after a ride that took only 20 extra minutes and probably ticked off a couple drivers…

1) It’s harder to follow the speed limit on a two-lane highway, because you feel the added pressure of others opinions behind me. Watching a 20-car line in my rear-view mirror on 322 going into State College definitely made me want to speed, but unfortunately for those drivers, I held to the limit.

2) When you’ve established a habit of speeding, if you’re not consciously trying to change it, it will just happen. One minute I was driving 65. The next, I was passing cars who were going the speed limit, because I had forgotten my desire to break the habit.

3) Limits can seem, well… limiting. They can come across as a “fun-reducer” or an unnecessary hassle. We feel the urge to break them because we feel like we would be missing out on valuable time if we abide them.

4) We try to justify ourselves. “Well everyone else is doing it.” Or, “I’m still a safe driver.” Or, “I’m in a hurry.” We hear these lies that convince us to push and exceed what we’re told not to do.

5) When we enforce a law, or judge someone for their immoral decision, we fail to recognize the deeper need. Cops are pulling people over for speeding, and demanding a ticket in compensation for the act. I really don’t think that safety comes into play on all occasions.

So what to take from this…

If we’re concerned with others’ opinions about our decisions to do the right things, realize that it’s not our problem how they respond. Sure, we might be affected by it, but the bigger problem if they respond inappropriately, resides within them.

If we have bad habits, we have to be conscious all the time to combat it. Recognizing the trigger or cue for the habit and the “benefit” received from the act can help to break it.

Laws and rules can seem restricting, but in fact they’re quite freeing. I’ve heard many people talk about legislation as well as religion and faith as being restrictive. I can’t say that 100% of legislation has the right motivations, but I can say that for the Bible. The law in the Bible is given to us as guidelines for living a fulfilled, happy, and Christ-centered life. We’re told to not lie, steal, lust, harm, or slander because God doesn’t want us to damage our relationships and lead a life enslaved to these damaging habits. It’s motivation is 100% spot on.

Watch out for the lies your told. Many things will encourage you to take the easier road of committing the illegal or immoral act. Fight it, and stop it at the root.

And lastly, when someone else is struggling with an immoral habit, look out for their well-being and really try to help them end this cycle. They can do serious damage to themselves and those they love if they continue. Don’t judge them for their decision; try to provide help.

So I challenge you next drive to go the speed limit. I used the extra time on my drive to really consider what I have struggled with. And it was the best drive I’ve had in a while. If you do drive the speed limit already, think about why you do. Is safety really your motivation? And the greater question… Are we concerned for the well-being of our friends, family, and selves the motivation for following our moral code? What habits have us pushing the limit, and when will it finally catch up with us if we don’t break it?

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