Ask RACQ: Why do speedometers go so high?

On Facebook this week, we were asked by a member why car speedometers reach so high and it’s a good question. When most speed limits top out at 100km/h, why do speedometers measure speeds up to or even beyond 200km/h?

Answer: Well, it’s likely a mix of regulation and marketing!

Australian Design Rules require the range of speeds displayed on a speedometer to be sufficiently wide enough to include the maximum speed of this type of vehicle, as stated by the manufacturer.

So, if a car has the potential to reach speeds close to 200km/h, then the speedo must reflect that.

However, it could also have a bit to do with good old fashion marketing – the aspiration that your car could go 200km/h if you wanted to and of course if the law allowed it. The consumer is seduced into the possibility of possessing the power, without the manufacturer explicitly promising the car can perform those speeds.

Then of course, there are the countries with unlimited speed limits, or places with higher speed zones of 130 km/h like stretches of the Northern Territory. Local drivers could argue the need for ambitious limits on their speedometers, as they are legally allowed to drive at those speeds.

Even though very few of us will actually plant the pedal to the medal and test the limits, there will always be sound reason for drivers to obey the law, drive safely and adapt their speed to the road conditions and the posted speed limit.

Whether your car can reach 200km/h or not, remember in Queensland the maximum speed limit is for most roads 100km/h. If you go over the speed limit you are not only risking your life but the lives of other road users, it’s just not worth it.

Got a question? Let us know on Facebook!