Increase National Highway speed limit to 140 Kmph: Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari

Union Transport Nitin Gadkari, in a recent press interaction, asked for the speed limit on National Highways to be raised to 140 Kmph. The current speed limit on most National Highways across India varies between 8o t0 100 Kmph while some expressways allow speeds of up to 120 Kmph. Mr. Gadkari’s proposal to make the 140 Kmph mark as the new speed limit on National Highways comes as a surprise of sorts given the fact that the Madras High Court ordered reducing the speed limit to 80 Kmph, from 120 Kmph. Mr. Gadkari did add that the Supreme Court needs to be convinced about raising the speed limit to 140 kmph, which indicates that he is aware of the legal challenge that’s likely to arise if the speed limit is raised to 140 Kmph.

Increase National Highway speed limit to 140 Kmph: Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari

Recently, Minister Gadkari was seen experiencing a newly constructed stretch of the Mumbai-Delhi expressway at speeds in excess of 140 Kmph in his Kia Carnival  MPV. While raising speed limits on expressways and national highways can greatly reduce travel time, higher speed limits pose a variety of safety challenges. Even access controlled highways/expressways of India are not truly access controlled in most parts, which means that wildlife, stray animals and slower traffic often find themselves sharing these roads with much faster traffic. Also, slower moving traffic act like stationary obstacles to vehicles travelling at speeds over 120 Kmph.

Always stick to the speed limit

Speeding is one of the biggest causes of accidents on Indian roads, where over 300 people die each day. When people drive over the speed limit, they put themselves and other road users at danger due to two major reasons. 1. Ability to control their own vehicles gets reduced as speed increases. 2. Roads are designed for a certain maximum speed. Exceeding the speed limit means that the road surface may not be conducive to safety in terms of quick direction changes, braking, etc. Speed limits are designed keeping various factors in mind including other, slower moving traffic. So, obeying the speed limit religiously is the first step towards ensuring road safety.

If necessary, drive below the speed limit

Increase National Highway speed limit to 140 Kmph: Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari

Assuming that Minister Nitin Gadkari’s proposal goes through and the speed limit for cars is raised to 1440 Kmph, it’s not mandatory that all cars need to travel at 140 Kmph. There may be drivers who are simply not comfortable at maintaining such speeds. Also, the cars that many people own may not be very stable at a speed of 140 Kmph.

In such circumstances, driving below the speed limit, at a speed that is comfortable for the driver and the vehicle, is totally justified. One just needs to make sure that she/he occupies the slow lane (left-most lane) on the highway, and not hog the middle (meant for faster vehicles sticking to the speed limit) and fast lanes (right-most lane), which is meant for overtaking. Keeping the vehicle in good condition while hitting the highway is also very essential.