Driving slowly is one of the most important things drivers can do to protect themselves and others. That means staying well within limits, slowing down to 20 mph around homes, schools/shops, slowing right down for bends, brows and bad weather.
It’s essential to slow down because it gives us more time to react to people/animals or hazards around you, and avoid hitting someone or something. Slowing down helps make our roads and communities safer, greener, nicer places, and can mean the difference between life and death in an emergency.
Limits are limits, not targets
Stay well under limits, rather than hovering around them. Look out for signs, including temporary limits, and obey them, regularly, glancing at your speedo. Know which limits are usually in place on different roads and if unsure, err on the side of caution and slow down. It will help you stay safe and avoid fines and penalty points.
Remember the two-second gap (four in the wet) rule, when driving on the road, and watch your braking, its bad driving to be heavy braking all the time.
GO 20 in towns and villages
Sometimes the speed limit is too fast for safety. The UK’s default limit in built-up areas is 30 mph, however we are professional advance drivers, who drop their speed down to 20 mph. Why? Because we want to make our streets and communities safer, greener and more pleasant places.
GO slow on rural roads
Rural roads are often bendy and narrow with poor visibility and hidden junctions. Even if you know the road well, you never know what’s around the corner. The majority of driver and passenger deaths happen on rural roads, often due to drivers taking bends too fast, overtaking, or not being to react to unexpected hazards.
That’s why slowing down on rural roads is crucial. The derestriction limit (60 mph for cars) is generally far too fast for safety – so stay well beneath this and slow right down for bends, brows, dips and junctions, and in bad weather. You should be able to come to a stop within the space you can see.
Slowing down on rural roads also helps people to enjoy the countryside, and people in rural communities to get about, by being able to cycle, walk and horse-ride without being endangered.
Go slow in bad weather
Slowing down or even avoid driving in bad weather, can help us and others around us to stay safe in bad weather. Driving in wet or icy conditions significantly increases you stopping distance, while fog and mist make it far harder to react to hazards.
Overtaking on single carriageways is incredibly risky and should be avoided. It is impossible to accurately judge the speed of approaching traffic, or the length of empty road in front of you, and when overtaking this can be fatal. The gap between you and oncoming traffic disappears surprisingly fast. If you and an oncoming vehicle are both driving at 60 mph, the gap between you is closing at 120 mph, or 60 metres a second. So a small error of judgement can easily result in multiple deaths.
That’s why it isn’t worth the risk. Often overtaking makes little difference to your arrival time, but could mean you and someone else never arriving at all. So never overtake on single carriageways unless absolutely essential, such as because you need to pass a stationery or extremely slow moving vehicle. Only then do so if certain there’s enough space to get past without speeding and with no risk of something coming the other way. Otherwise just hang back and relax.
Full of excuses!
Some drivers us all sorts of excuses for speeding:
- they don’t notice their speed creeping up,
- they feel pressured by other drivers,
- they’re in a rush, or think they can handle it because of their fast reaction times
- good brakes
The fact is, slowing down is essential to safe driving, not matter who you are or what you’re driving. Studies have proven the link between speed and safety:
- reducing average speeds leads to fewer crashes and casualties.
The laws of physics mean that going even a bit faster makes a big difference to your stopping distance and therefore your ability to react and stop. For example,
- increasing your speed by 25%, from 40 mph to 50 mph
- increases your stopping distance by 47%, from 36 m to 53 m.
In short, slowing down is vital to safety, especially in protecting our most vulnerable road users like children, and enabling people to walk and cycle without fearing for their lives.
Don’t just take my work, what does the law say?
Don’t be silly look at the highway code, where is your highway code, what version, download the latest onto your tablet, phone, computer!!
You must not drive faster than the speed limit for the type of road and your type of vehicle. The speed limit is the absolute maximum – it doesn’t mean it’s safe to drive at the speed in all conditions.
A speed limit of 30 miles per hour (mph) or 48 kilometres per hour (km/h) usually applies, unless you see signs showing otherwise.
National speed limits
Observed the national speed limits
Locally set speed limits
Local councils can set their own speed limits in certain areas, and these must be clearly signed.
- 20 mph zone in a built-up area near a school
- 50 mph (rather than 60 mph) limit on a stretch of road with sharp bends.
Ask yourself what’s at stake if you’re caught committing a traffic offence. Which of these aspects are most important to you?
- I want to avoid getting penalty points on my driving licence
- I want to avoid being fined
- I want to avoid the effects of a traffic offence on my car insurance premium or my job
- I want to avoid being involved in a collision.
Think about these consequences the next time your find yourself about to break the rules of the road.
Variable speed limits
Variable speed limits on ‘smart’ motorways are primarily there to smooth traffic flow, reduce congestion and make journeys more reliable.
Cut your speed, make the pledge SLOW DOWN!