Know the Road with the CHP: Is going with the flow of traffic safer than maintaining the speed limit?

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- An ABC30 viewer wrote in the following question: when driving on the freeway, is going with the flow of traffic (though it is way above the speed limit and cars are close) considered safer than maintaining the speed limit?

"We get that question a lot," said Sgt. Brian Pennings with the California Highway Patrol. "The answer is no. Regardless of how fast traffic is going... you can't go above that speed limit."

"We have these rules and we have these enforcements not because of your ability to drive or how awesome your car may or may not be... it has everything to do with your physical inability to stop," he said.

Pennings gave the following example: if you're traveling at 55 MPH and the car in front of you comes to a complete and sudden stop, it will take you three-quarters of a second to perceive and three-quarters of a second to react. By the time you come to a stop, Pennings says you'll have traveled the length of a football field (and if you were driving 65 MPH, it would be 140 yards).

"That is why speed is so important," he said. "You have to drive at a speed and a distance where you can perceive and react to anything that presents itself in front of you. Because if you can't, more than likely it's going to be your fault."

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