Once GPS is built into every car manufactured, along with a constantly displayed speed limit – which is bound to happen sooner or later – we can instate variable speed limits. Since you can drive perfectly safe above 50mph on most 3-lane highways it would make sense to increase the legal speed limit during offpeak times when there’s no congestion, and decrease it when congestion is high and there’s less time/space for reacting to accidents or any reckless driving.
In addition to a decreasing the speed limit during peak times in order to decrease traffic jams and minor accidents, you can dynamically adjust the speed limit based on locally available weather conditions, so that if there’s major lack of visibility or slippery conditions the speed limit would be lowered depending on the intensity of the conditions.
At this point the limit becomes more of a recommendation.
This entire idea is a result of my 6am drive this morning which was just as congested as it would’ve been at 8am =(. I was wondering about the benefits of waking up even earlier, but was dismayed by the fact that even though there would be less cars, I would still have to be breaking the law if I want my commute to be shorter, even though the road is empty and straight.