Eric Olson explains the phenomenon to readers of DeKalb's Daily Chronicle.
After driving long enough on a regular basis, people tend to develop a kind of intuition about what the speed limit should be in an area just by surveying how many lanes there are, what kind of pavement there is, how many stoplights there are, whether the road is in the country or in town.
What intrigues him is the proposal by Sycamore authorities to reduce the speed limit on a stretch of road that's signed for 45 yet winds around in such a way as to appear more safe at 40 or so.  What's more commonly the case in Illinois is roads that provide visual cues to go faster.  Such roads, which perhaps might better be described as stroads, have speed limits that appear to be too low.
That stretch of Bethany Road, between Peace Road and DeKalb Avenue, always gets me.  The speed limit is 35 mph, but with the four lanes of traffic and the straight course of the roadway, it always seems like 40 or 45 mph is more appropriate.

I’m sure there’s some good reason for it being slower – I know there’s a day care in the area – but if I’m going faster that’s because that’s how fast I feel as if I should be going. Usually, I’ll notice myself passing other vehicles and then I’ll remember.
Yes. That's why Illinois drivers are so notorious as speeders in Wisconsin. The visual cues that accompany 35 mph north of the Cheddar Curtain tend to connote 45 mph in Corruptistan.

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