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Motorway Training

These incidents are now always referred to as 'collisions' rather than 'accidents', and the reason for this is there is always blame. On a wet night for instance, stopping distances are hugely increased, not to mention your reaction time considering the poor light and probably tiredness after a busy day. Very few people would ever actually think about this before entering the motorway let alone act upon it. Mix into this a touch of fog, rain, and possibly smoke drifting from a nearby fireworks display, disaster is never far away.

We all need to be more aware, perhaps educated, about appropriate speeds for the conditions we choose to drive in. We need to lose the attitude of 'it won't happen to me' and think 'what if it did'. On the 5th of November a number of adverse conditions all at once made the M5 a risk at the usual national speed limits. Someone, probably a few, carried on driving far too fast until it was too late. Even now a few days on I find people's behaviour on the motorway incredible. High speeds even in rain, tailgating, poor understanding of motorway rules and generally a lot of aggression. And Why? The majority of motorway users, even in dry conditions, will be travelling far too close to the vehicle in front to be able to stop if they had to brake heavily.

I have lost count of the number of times for instance a lorry has come up behind me to just a few metres away, at 60mph or more. Even whilst I have vehicles in front of me so couldn't possibly go any faster anyway. And more to the point, why should I? I see it happen to others even more so. And the behaviour, not just lorries, doesn't change with the conditions. Are people just not thinking or do they not care?

Education from the moment we pass our tests needs to be improved with either the Pass Plus scheme or motorway lessons made compulsory. This though I doubt will change many attitudes or behaviours once the lessons are over. The general feeling is you drive one way whilst you are learning, then another way in the Real World. A speed awareness course also needs to be included with graphic photographs of what can happen. I recently conducted a Pass Plus lesson on the M25 and straight away the driver was tailgating the car in front! Even upon explaining the theory behind these dangers and them backing off a bit, within minutes it was the same story, my advice had been forgotten and the tailgating continued. I might add here it was also raining. The ignorance is unbelievable.

The Government needs to make some unpopular decisions, including bringing in more variable speed limits like we see on motorways at times of high congestion, when its raining and generally when the weather is poor. They need to scrap the 80mph speed limit change and invest in more visible traffic Police to properly uphold the traffic laws. Without these changes, we will see more of these collisions in the future as driving attitudes wont change overnight.