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Road safetyWednesday 29th July 2009
Road safety is always a hot topic - recently the government have been proposing reducing the national speed limit to 50mph (sign the petition if you disagree).

A recent episode of Fifth Gear pointed out that reducing down to 50mph increases the odds of survival in an accident by 50%. Now these are large numbers.

They also highlighted the horrific lack of knowledge of the basic road rules in the general public.

I was further horrified when I test drove a small car the other day, which had a valid MOT. The breaks were clearly shot to bits. No only could you feel this through the peddle, an emergency stop just resulted in a gradual reduction of speed. A quick glance at the breaks highlighted the issue - the disks were physically worn away and the pads had long gone.

The owner just said he had got used to them!!

They had just brought in a new theory test when I learnt (late on) to drive. There were lots of useless questions, but the law of averages meant that you could easily pass by fluke.

Instead of testing over a wide range of knowledge, maybe a more gradual but thorough testing should be done. If you want to drive a small car around town - then you need to know the road-signs etc. If you want to go on the motorway, you need to know X, and if you want a bigger/faster car (more momentum) you need to know Y.

Going fast doesn't kill - it's the inability to de-accelerate the 1.5 ton of metal that kills. The reports of Germany having lower deaths than the UK with their speed-unlimited stretches of motorway should be a testament to that.

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