The issue of speed on our roads has vexed drivers possibly more than any other. The proliferation of speed cameras seems to many to be about money rather than road safety. The authorities say otherwise, as would be expected. Just a few years ago this topic blew up in the face of a senior police officer who suggested, out loud where people could hear him, that experienced drivers should be allowed to travel as fast as they want to.
A Good Idea?
He proposed that we should abolish speed limits on motorways and other major roads and also take down the signs. Instead, he suggested that all villages and built up areas would be 30mph. Needless to say the furore this occasioned caused the poor fellow to back track faster than a hiker who encounters a bear.
He was forced to state that he acknowledged that speed is regarded as a contributory factor in determining the outcome of accidents; the faster we drive the worse those outcomes will be. In fact, what he really meant was that drivers should be given the opportunity to show that they could be sensible and drive according to the conditions. It’s a fair point, but a contentious one and more recently the subject has pretty much been dropped. Seventy is here to stay.
On the one hand then we have the school of thought that we should increase the speed limits on motorways, and on the other we are told that speed is largely responsible for accidents. To an extent this is true but not always necessarily so: it is inappropriate speed that may cause accidents coupled with people’s inability to drive properly for the prevailing conditions and, more topically, the increase in in-car distractions.
It’s an unfortunate fact that the male 18 to 25 age group are, and always have been, on the receiving end of the big statistic numbers when it comes to accidents and fatalities. This is the gung-ho nature of youth and it has always been so; it’s just that these days the roads are much more congested. Clearly there is a need for greater driving education from the outset of learning because the driving test is just that; education, subsequently backed-up by experience.
Education, Education, Education
In fact, the erring policeman was not entirely out of order. He was trying to suggest an idea and he expressed it poorly. Most sensible people, if left to their own devices, can drive perfectly safely and do not need to be perpetually nannied or bossed about. What complicates the issue is that young drivers lack experience and older drivers become lazy. The modern cars we all drive are safer now than they have ever been but they can’t protect us against our own distracted complacency.
The faster a car is going the less time the driver has to react. The dangers of speed are directly related to the prevailing conditions. If it is raining then stopping distances increase, for example. Knowledge of how a vehicle works, coupled with an awareness of surroundings and an ability not to be distracted by all the features of the car are key. Speed cannot always be blamed because some fool is sending a text while on the go.
Waiting For Compromise
Will a compromise ever be found? Probably not. Obviously speed must be controlled in built-up areas and villages but is there anything wrong with an 80mph speed on, say, a dry lightly used motorway whilst trusting the driver to moderate responses if the prevailing conditions change. One thing is for sure, greater emphasis needs to be put on motorist education. Possibly young drivers should have a probationary period in low-powered cars and so on as has been previously suggested. Older drivers need to buck their ideas up and pay attention. Sadly, views are as conflicting and confused as ever. Perhaps it is time to sort it out once and for all.
When it comes to cars though there is one area that needs no sorting out and that is the excellent selection of quality used vehicles
available here on the eCars247 listings. They are all fully AA inspected
and ready to get everyone, be they new or experienced drivers, safely back on the road.