The state of Maine has raised its top speed limit to 75, but the new figure only applies to a 110-mile stretch of highway way up north (or downeast, whichever you prefer). That means it will probably affect about three drivers a week, because there are parts of Maine—huge parts of Maine, actually, which is a surprisingly large state—that are as empty as much of Alaska.
And now I’ve learned how we can all get the speed limits raised: just drive faster! Yes, that’s apparently how it works:
Transportation Department spokesman Mark Latti said the department bases its limits on the speed at which 85 percent of motorists travel, and highway surveys showed that percentage were going 74-75 mph along the northern I-95 stretch.
Traffic studies show that people travel the speed they feel most comfortable going, no matter what the posted limit is, Willette noted.
And now I think I’ll present one of my favorite driving/highway songs—not that it has all that much to do with this post, but because I just feel like it:
And in case that wasn’t deep enough for you, listen to Waits live, singing the same song about 25 years later. It’s been a rough 25 (and how does this man continue to have a voice at all, considering the abuse his takes?):
And this description of Waits’s voice, by critic Daniel Durchholz, is pretty funny, if somewhat understated:
[Waits's voice sounds] like it was soaked in a vat of bourbon, left hanging in the smokehouse for a few months, and then taken outside and run over with a car.
I’d say it actually sounds like it was left hanging in the smokehouse for a decade, and run over by a Mack truck. But that’s just me.