I don’t think drivers pay any attention to the posted speed limit any more.
I’ve noticed in my travels that when the speed limit changes, from say 65 MPH to 55 MPH, most drivers don’t bother to slow down at all. This would be a trifling issue if these drivers were obeying the speed limit, but in most cases they are exceeding the posted limit by at least 10 miles per hour. So when the speed limit drops from 65 to 50 MPH around Worcester, MA, these drivers who were doing 75 MPH are now exceeding the limit by 25 MPH.
This makes for some exceedingly stressful driving for those few of us who obey the law and never (really, I mean it) exceed the speed limit.
For example, imagine you’re driving along in a Miata at 50 MPH. The top’s down. Vintage Tom Waits playing on the stereo. Suddenly, an 18 wheeled monstrosity comes barrelling down on you from behind at 70 to 75 MPH! In England, these things are aptly called Juggernauts. What makes this so frightening is the driver will slam on his compression brakes – drowning out even Tom’s gravelly voice and rattling your fillings – because maybe he couldn’t see you? maybe he’s just an asshole and wants to scare you? Whatever the reason, it makes me wish I had a rear-firing missile launcher built into the Miata. But then I’d have even less trunk space.