Friday, 30 September 2011

Speed

The final thing that caught my attention before I feel asleep (I always fall asleep when the news is on) was a proposal to raise the speed limit on the motorways to 80mph.
Hurrah!  About time too!
Dont' don't get me wrong, I'm not a petrol head by any means.  Driving is a chore that I do because I have to.  I have no problems with adhering to speed limits, they are there for a purpose.  I have no problem with speed cameras.  They were not invented to make money but to catch people who speed.  If you don't speed you won't have to pay anything.  For too long people ignored speed limits simply because it was not possible to catch the culprits who drove too fast.  I would rather have a camera than a speed hump any day!  I only have a little car and it hates speed humps.
But motorways are roads designed for free flowing, relatively fast moving traffic (except the M25).  Despite the fact that the impression is that all our motorways are clogged up from dawn to dusk with too much traffic, the truth is most of them are relatively free of congestion.  Lots of traffic, yes, but not congestion.  The traffic is moving freely and a huge majority of it is going faster than the current 70 mph limit.
I don't think there will be a sudden rush of people driving at 90 (no pun intended) if the limit is raised to 80.
People will drive at the speed they are comfortable with.
Will people to safe at 80?  I think so.  One prediction was that deaths would rise to something like 130 per year if the speed limit was increased.  Not wishing to sound heartless, but this is nothing when you consider the death-rate from smoking  and other life-style related diseases is in the tens of thousands every year.
What is needed to keep people safe on the motorway is some intensive training for drivers.  We have 3 lane motorways but how often do you see the nearside lane completely empty while drivers tootle along in the middle lane, forcing others to use the outside lane to overtake?
New drivers are allowed on a motorway without any training.  This should be changed.  Training on motorways should be made compulsory with a test to be included on the driving licence.  Until that happens there should be regular TV commercials telling people how to drive on motorways.  These have been shown before but I can't remember the last time I saw one.
Cars today are set up to go from 0-60 in seconds.  The speedometers on most cars show 100 mph plus so why restrict them to 70 on our fastest roads?
  

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