Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Motorway Madness

It’s interesting listening to the debate (or should I say arrant speculation) on the causes of the tragic M5 pile up last Friday. As a daily motorway driver, I dread listening to the usual blinkered safety campaigners who use these unfortunate occasions to push their generic “speed kills” message and call for a reduction in the speed limit.

Can I just say for the record that speed doesn’t kill. Bad driving kills. Inappropriate use of speed kills. Inexperienced driving kills. On the one hand, our motorways are the safest roads on which to drive – you don’t have oncoming traffic, they are designed to be driven at high speeds on flat surfaces and they have at least three lanes and a hard shoulder. However, it is entirely wrong that a newly-qualified driver can pass their test and immediately find themselves legally able to drive on a motorway, having never driven on one before. There should be a motorway element to the test and involves both use of speed and exposure to poor conditions, whether it be congestion, darkness, fog, rain, snow or ice.

I have driven beyond the speed limit on a motorway. I have also driven well below it. The decision to use speed is one a driver must make according to the conditions and they need to be trained in order to exert their judgement accordingly. The sooner that the DVLA started taking advice and guidance from the police in techniques such as limit point driving and forgot some of their invented technical gibberish the better. That way, we might actually move away from being a nation of tailgaters, something that would immediately reduce the number of accidents.

Rant over.