Expat Magazine

Blast From the Past: Electronic Advisory Speed Signs During Rush Hour

By Clogsandtulips @clogsandtulips

I'm off on vacation until September 6th. But while I'm taking a break, that doesn't mean you get to too! To keep your little expat minds occupied, here are some past posts I thought you might enjoy. See you next week!
Driving Rant: Electronic Advisory Speed Signs During Rush Hour originally posted Oct 24, 2009
The other morning, I made the drive to my husband's parents' home in Vassen, just outside of Apeldoorn.
I left early to avoid traffic and was actually pretty successful in the attempt. There were only a few places along the A28 that I got stuck in a bit of a backlog, but nothing that cost me more than a few minutes.
But there was one underlying factor in each of those instances that brings me to today's Driving Rant: Electronic Advisory Speed Signs.
In the Netherlands, there are three types of speed signs:
Blast From the Past: Electronic Advisory Speed Signs During Rush Hour
maximum speed (maximumsnelheid),
Blast From the Past: Electronic Advisory Speed Signs During Rush Hour
advisory speed (adviessnelheid)
Blast From the Past: Electronic Advisory Speed Signs During Rush Hour
and electronic maximum speed boards (maximumsnelheid op een elektronisch verkeersbord).
This rant concerns the last of these. They appear on highways along with the maximumsnelheid bord.
Elektronisch borden are not always lit but, when they are, they cancel out the speed on the maximumsnelheid bord.
Some instances that cause these boards to be lit are rush hour, when there has been an accident, and when the weather causes inclement road conditions.
The last few times I’ve encountered one of these for the purpose of controlling rush hour traffic, the road was perfectly clear and traffic was flowing smoothly before the electronic board appeared.
As soon as I saw the board up ahead – before I could even read the new speed limit – traffic stopped dead. I did my best not to lose my mind as my foot moved constantly on and off the brake.
Finally, the last electronic board appeared in the distance. Each vehicle put the gas pedal to the floor as they passed under this final board, and the traffic magically cleared.
I realize that what I have here is another chicken/egg case. Which came first? Is there traffic because of the electronic speed limit boards? Or do these boards get lit up because there is traffic?
Personally, I think it is the former.
Law demands that people obey these new speed limits posted on the electronic boards. So when drivers approach them, they do as they are told and decrease their speed. This means that everyone behind them must do the same to avoid collision. What you end up with is a traffic jam where there wasn’t one just a few seconds ago.
The bright side? On most highways, the speed limit is 120 km/hr and even after 9 months of driving in the Netherlands it still feels like I’m the cool kid whizzing down the highway and breaking the rules!
Other driving rants:
Passing your rijbewijs exam
Theorie Examen

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