Speeding motorist survey

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Speeding motorist survey

Post by Admin on Mon Nov 01, 2010 11:49 am

Research out today from Brake and Direct Line Motor Insurance finds that six in ten drivers (61%) admit driving at dangerously high speeds (80mph+) on motorways, with one in four (23%) doing so at least once a week – increasing risks and contributing to congestion.

Vehicles travelling at 80mph or more take far longer to stop and will hit harder in a collision. Evidence also shows that driving above the speed limit on motorways leads to increased differential speeds, affecting ‘flow’ and causing congestion[1].

The survey of 942 drivers also revealed that more than half of drivers (54%) are failing to leave a big enough gap (by counting two seconds) between them and the vehicle in front when driving on motorways – leaving them insufficient braking space in a crisis. One in four (22%) admitted to breaking the two second rule at least weekly.

Many drivers believe motorways are safer than other roads because there are fewer hazards such as pedestrians and cyclists. However, although fewer crashes happen on motorways because of the way these roads are designed, motorway crashes are more likely to result in multiple deaths and serious injuries because of the high speeds involved.

If a driver crashes on a motorway, there is a 40% greater chance it will result in death or serious injury than a crash on other types of road. One in five fatal crashes on motorways involves four or more vehicles[2].

Recently released casualty figures show that there were 132 deaths and 858 serious injuries on Britain’s motorways in 2009 – that’s nearly three people killed or suffering serious injury on motorways every day[3].

Exceeding the 70mph speed limit means braking distances increase dramatically, lessening your chance of being able to stop in time in an emergency. In dry weather:

•At 60mph, it would take you 73 metres or 16 car lengths to come to a complete stop
•At 70mph, it’s 96 metres or 21 car lengths
•At 80mph, it’s 122 metres or 27 car lengths[4]
Drivers often speed because they are in a rush. However, speeding can slow down traffic overall by causing congestion. Driving at 80mph means an increased differential between the speed of trucks and coaches (limited to 56mph and 60mph respectively) and other traffic, affecting ‘flow’. It also means an increased differential between the fastest drivers and the most cautious drivers. This may contribute to ‘bunching’, contributing to congestion and leading to drivers driving too close to one another, heightening crash risk.

And with every crash on the motorway comes a tailback which can lead to further crashes, especially if drivers are travelling at high speed, which makes it harder for them to stop in time behind queuing traffic.

Julie Townsend, Brake’s campaigns director, said: “You might think you’re saving time, but if you speed on motorways you contribute to congestion, and increase your risk of a catastrophic crash. For every mph you drive faster, you dramatically increase your stopping distance, impeding your ability to stop in a crisis. We have all experienced jams caused by motorway crashes, and we often try to bury the thought of the horrors that have occurred. Addressing motorway speeding is vital if we hope to tackle these violent deaths and life-shattering injuries. It’s time we all acknowledged that speeding is not without its consequences – and committed to sticking to limits on motorways.”

Andy Goldby, Director of Motor Underwriting at Direct Line, said: “It may be very tempting for drivers to put their foot down on the motorway, however, as the findings from our research shows, they need to cut their speed and increase the distance between themselves and the vehicle in front. Many drivers admit to speeding as they are in a rush to get to their destination, but speeding can end up causing traffic congestion! So by simply planning their journey, driving at a consistent speed within the limit and giving themselves plenty of time, drivers can reduce both the risk of being late or not getting there at all.”

For interviews with Brake call 01484 550067 or email news@brake.org.ukThis e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .
Advice to drivers

At high speeds you have less time to react. Never exceed the speed limit on a motorway – the faster you travel, the longer it takes to stop and the harder you will hit. Always keep at least two seconds from the vehicle in front, four in wet weather and ten or more in icy conditions. Change lanes only when absolutely necessary and as little as possible, thinking carefully about the speed of traffic and space around you.

Call to policy makers

•Motorway speed limits need to be better enforced to ensure that drivers stick to them. That means greater investment in average speed cameras and more traffic police to enforce the law.
•Variable speed limits should be used wherever beneficial to maintain traffic flow and avoid ‘bunching’ which can be hazardous.
•Crash emergency response plans should always prioritise safety. The greatest concern must always be the rescue of crash victims and the safety of drivers stuck behind the crash site or passing on the opposite side.
About the survey

The report is based on a survey of drivers and riders carried out by Brake volunteers in 2009, at a range of locations across the UK. Every effort was made to ensure that a wide variety of people responded. Brake thanks all volunteers who helped conduct the survey and collate the results.


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