Speed Awareness Surprises

My initial reaction to the speeding fine letter sent to mum’s in March, shortly after returning from the family gathering at Northmoor House in February, was probably to be expected.

Annoyance mostly.

At myself for driving at 35mph in a 30mph limit. Admittedly though, it was directed more at the serious looking copper I remembered pointing his speed gun menacingly at me as I drove past him with mum and Barry in the car.

Many conversations since with people have centred around the ‘injustice’ of it. For goodness sake it was ‘only’ 5 mph above the speed limit! On a country road just outside a small village. Why don’t they pick on the crazy drivers who flash past me gently meandering down the motorway at 60mph, while they’re going like the clappers at what looks astonishingly like 90mph? Surely that’s far more dangerous?!

I bet a few of you reading have had similar experiences?

It’s mum’s car, so I initially had the added annoyance of having to send the form back and admit my guilt so they could re-send the form. It happened when we were in NZ which made it worse – as I’d asked my sister to send me the form so I could sort it, only to discover it had to be signed and sent back by mum! Fortunately the post to NZ from UK and vice versa is generally less than one week so we managed it within the imposed time restraints.

I got to choose either three points on my license, and the effect that would most likely have on our car insurance. Plus a £100 fine.

OR …

Take a ‘Speed Awareness’ course instead. And pay £85.

For those living on land, with easy access to a car, this sounds simple. For me it was a little complex. However, I decided to chose this option to reduce the short and long term costs involved, but also because I was intrigued to learn more about the implications of what I thought must be only a minor misdemeanour.

True, the words “I bet they’re making a fortune out of this!” were uttered on a few occasions in relation to how many drivers ‘they’ (they being the police force of course!) must ‘catch’ going over the 30mph limit.

Many eye openers later …

True it was a faff to get to Worcester for the TTC speed awareness course.

True I was still quoting the ‘making a fortune’ statement as we queued up to sign in (24 of us yesterday afternoon).

True it was cheaper to choose the course than the points and fine.

But boy, there were a surprising number of snippets of information to what I’d thought I’d known, or actually had no idea about!

Like the increase in impact severity (i.e. chance of killing someone) from 30 to 35mph, the location most accidents happen (rural, urban or motorway – what do you think?), which of the three types of road has the highest percentage of fatalities, and concerningly speed limits in certain places and for different vehicles.

And I learnt another acronym that’s far too frequently used – SMIDSY.

Sorry Mate I Didn’t See You.” 🙁

I’d already been much more mindful driving since receiving the notice – now I’ll be more informed too. I reckon every driver in UK would benefit from this course.

Thank goodness we don’t have to drive on the roads too often. Give me a maximum of 4 mph on the cut any day …

4 thoughts on “Speed Awareness Surprises

  1. When we changed our car recently it came with a speed limiter, something I’d not had before. I have it set to 30mph (well, actually 31, because our speedo over reads by 2mph and that still gives me a margin of error) and I switch it on every time I enter a 30 zone. From the way traffic doesn’t automatically bunch behind me and keeps its distance I think a lot of other people must use one too.
    It can be set to other speeds to cope with 20, 40, etc limits but as I haven’t mastered the art of altering it without taking my eyes off the road I leave it on 30 and am just extra careful where the limit is different.
    As for the “making a fortune” argument just think of the money that would be saved by councils and police not having to enforce things like speed and parking restrictions (although best not to talk about “parking restrictions” on the cut, perhaps?)

    • Sounds like a wonderful thing to have Jim. I find sticking to 30mph means I frequently have irritated impatient people attempting to speed me up. If I can I pull over and let them past so they can hurry along and get there two minutes quicker!
      Absolutely agree money would be saved if drivers were more considerate and mindful. To be fair though, the number of fatalities has decreased significantly over the past 5 decades apparently, due to the change in the drink driving culture for one. Still a way to go though.

      • Of course a lot of the decrease in fatalities over that length of time has been due to improved safety design of cars (air bags, better side protection, crumple zones etc) that mean that more people survive accidents. Better enforcement of speed limits (cameras) is also a factor.
        I recently saw some statistics for 2011 (I think) which said that of 1,901 factalities amongst road users just 7 were coach or bus passengers (and I imagine most of those would be coach users). Quite an impressive record given there are over 4 BILLION bus passenger journeys per year in England alone.

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