Hooked on speed — 21 Comments

  1. Warning: This may not be true, as I think I read it somewhere 20 years ago and I can’t be arsed to Google it again right now so don’t ignore your speedo!

    I believe car speedometers are deliberately designed to over-read slightly to avoid any situation where the driver may claim that they were at one speed and then plod, insurance company, or whoever, says otherwise.

    Back in the day, I had a couple of cars that over-read by around 7 or 8 mph when at 70 (verified with Sat Nav as you did) but as I can now afford German technology it seems my Audi only over-reads by about 1 mph. It seems they are still erring on the side of caution though.

    Anyway, as the saying goes, your mileage may vary 🙂


    • Welcome Dave!  I think I heard the same.  I am assuming that those roadside speed displays are accurate [they certainly all seem to tally with Roger] and that speed cameras and speed radars are all similarly calibrated so I’m happy enough to use my SatNav.  It has the added advantage of beeping as I said, which is very handy if I’m in an area where I know there are frequently traps.

      Does anyone remember back in the fifties, there were vans with huge speedometer dials on the back inviting drivers to check and calibrate their speedometers?  Or is it just a false memory?

  2. I use Google Maps for my Sat Nav. When it is set to mph, it has a calm male voice. However, my car is completely metric and for some bizarre reason, when I switch Google Maps to km/h it has an American woman who cannot pronounce English place names and who gets cross if I decide to use discretion in following her directions.

    • Roger has a very calm male voice [extremely calm for someone who lives on a satellite?] and copes well with English Irish and French names.  The only word he is incapable of pronouncing is “road” which is strange.  He sticks a glottal stop in the middle as if he has a hiccup.

  3. I have given up on the satnav. It was useful for a while finding some alternative routes – and to be fair still is helpful when driving alone, sans human navigator and map book, to an unknown address. More significantly however was its behaviour when deviating slightly from its planned route. A minor deviation, like a trip to the motorway services, triggers a rant from what sounds like a terminally hormonal woman demanding I turn around immediately and retrace my errant route then turn, usually left. I have enough nagging in my life without adding more.

    • Mine has an apparent habit of picking routes at random, or selecting roads that may be the shortest distance if I don’t mind driving through someone’s farmyard.  Generally he gets a bit annoyed when I ignore him but I’m used to it.  I just wish he would learn from his mistakes.  For example there are two roads out of the village.  The lower road has a good surface and I can comfortably keep above the speed limit on it.  The upper road is narrow, has hills, junctions and very sharp bends but is about ten yards shorter.  He always insists I take the upper road!

  4. Don’t get me started on Satanic Navs; “You have reached your destination”…only if your destination was a soggy beet field in Deliverance County *hear them banjos*. And the PMT hissy fit when I refuse to, quite unreasonably, “turn left” through some house that has only stood there since 1798…

    The sound stays OFF on my sat nav, after a ‘friend’ lent me their’s (cos it had “Undead Updates” or something) and I discovered it was voiced by Steven Fry (an improvement on the previous ‘voice’- Terry Wogan I admit). After several camp “this is all going swimmingly” it almost did…go swimming, out the window and into the North Sea.

    That said, I use the Sat Nav as a speedo too but then I drive a French car (a Citroen ZX diesel)so old the temperature gauge is marked in °Ré and I could never get my head around pied du roi….

  5. Oh and Grandad, count yourself lucky and think yourself blessed..nay smiled upon by the Gods of Fate & Chance that it was a ‘Thank you’ and not….

    *quelle horreur*


    Cos there are some …

  6. I also use the satnav, in silent mode, for the accurate speed reading. My subaru reads 77 when “Roger” says 70mph. Weirdly, the odometer readings are pretty accurate though.

  7. “Mine has an apparent habit of picking routes at random, or selecting roads that may be the shortest distance if I don’t mind driving through someone’s farmyard.”

    Well, I’d any time take the farmyard over the barbed-wire fenced field packed full of meter-high snow my satnav once asked (too polite – rather: yelled at me, and repeatedly at that!) to drive into. 😉

    • My best experience was in France.  There was a road across a viaduct and Roger persisted in demanding I take a left turn onto a road that ran under the viaduct about fifty feet below.  He is obviously two dimensional?

  8. The one in our village shows green if at/below the limit and red if over. Fair enough. It doesn’t give you a ticket.

    The one down the road a bit shows red if above & orange at/below. The orange strikes me as just mean, prod-nosed, “we didn’t catch you this time but just wait we’re watching you”. So of course I never speed up for it 😉

  9. They put one of those signs on the main street where I live and it’s given birth to a new late night amusement for the local petrol-heads. The sign has two digits and the name of the game is to try and get up to 100 before passing the sign in an attempt to cause the sign to malfunction.

  10. New Zealand roads are festooned with ‘speed cameras’. As the government is fond of telling: ‘Tis in the best interests of safety’. Of course, it’s not about revenue garnering. That would just be cynical and silly, wouldn’t it?

  11. The comments have been as entertaining as the post itself. Well done all.

    You’ve also given me yet another reason not to invest in a SatNav.

  12. I live at the end of a 300-yard long, narrow, private driveway, emblazoned with the large words ‘Private Drive’ on its 10ft stone gateposts.  Around once or twice a day, but often more, some delivery-dick turns up at my house looking perplexed, anxiously fingering his technology.

    I usually offer three pieces of advice: “Turn off your friggin Sat-Nav”, “Turn on your friggin vacant brain-cell” and “Read the friggin sign”.   They’re always seeking the same nearby road because the infernal device tells them to ‘take the next left’, so they do, regardless of that being a completely irrational step.

    I’m thinking of adding a new sign to the gate-posts, “£100 Penalty for unauthorised access” – wonder if they’ll read that friggin sign?   It’ll help pay for all the tarmac they’re wearing out.

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