Many drivers believe that slow driving is safe regardless of traffic or road conditions however recent figures from the Department of Transport show that road accident casualties due to drivers doing excessively slow speeds have increased by a third in 2017 to 175 injuries and two fatalities.
The AA warns that “driving like a snail can be every bit as dangerous as driving too fast”. They say that perhaps part of the problem may be the record number of elderly drivers on the roads. Almost 5 million 70 with more than 100,000 over 90.
Driving excessively slowly can cause confusion to other drivers and possibly force erratic manoeuvres through frustration. It can also slow traffic down and help create cases of road rage which, of course cannot be condoned under any circumstances.
A poll by Hyundai has revealed that someone driving too slowly is the 7th most common reason why drivers swear when behind the wheel and that nearly one third of respondents have had a near miss caused by a slow driver. 60% of drivers say that their stress levels rise when stuck behind a vehicle being driven too slowly and that about a half are tempted to overtake.
The Police could charge a slow driver with the offences of inconsiderate or Careless driving which could carry a heavy fine and penalty points. Inconsiderate driving is when a motorist drives in a manner that inconveniences others whether that results in an accident or not.
What speed should you drive at on various roads with differing speed limits? This is a matter of correct judgement and experience taking the actual speed limit into account.
Maximum speed limits are posted for all public highways, therefore, can it not be assumed that, under most normal circumstances, it is physically safe to drive at or near that speed limit?
Of course, there will be circumstances when this is not the case, hence correct judgement applies. If we find ourselves driving at 25 mph on a road with a clear speed limit of 40 mph shouldn’t we ask ourselves why we have purposely adopted that action? If there are no traffic or safety issues on the road then why aren’t we driving at between 35 and 40mph, as an example.
We must be accountable for our actions on the road so that we are considerate to other motorists at all times and this includes the maximum and minimum speeds that we choose to drive at.
Congleton and Macclesfield, IAM Roadsmart.