High-speed car chases are a common sight on television and in the movies, but they don't always paint an accurate picture of how fast vehicles are designed to go. In fact, most automobiles in the U.S. feature speedometers that measure up to speeds that far surpass what the car can handle. While the overwhelming majority of cars on the road don't have the power to get much farther than 110 miles per hour, speedometers lead drivers to believe they can reach much greater speeds and may even encourage going too fast.
One reason for the high display speeds is the desire for drivers to believe they are operating a sporty, powerful car - even if they don't intend to ever reach those top speeds, The Associated Press reports. It could also be because many manufacturers use the same tools for the measurement in foreign countries and the U.S., and places like China or Germany require that the speedometer show higher numbers.
However, some people believe that the discrepancy is dangerous and could lead to fast driving, accidents, auto repair and injuries.
"To have a car register any more than the maximum speed limit is really a statement by the company: Drive faster. It's OK," Joan Claybrook, a former federal auto safety regulator, told the news source. "It's encouraging people to violate the law."