One of my classic car papers had an article on the latest idea for a trial period 60mph speed limit in an attempt to cut pollution and they asked for readers opinions on the subject but the email address didn’t work and I thought as I had written my opinion I thought I would share it here.
SPEED LIMITS. You asked for our opinions!
All speed limits are wrong for you can never have a speed limit that is right for all the different road conditions, day and night 365 days a year.
I rather favour driving to the road conditions, fast when it’s safe and slow when it’s not, for example a deserted motorway on a summers evening or a built-up area when passing a school when the pupils are leaving on a snow-covered road in winter.
The 30mph speed limit was introduced in 1935, this in an age when cars had drum brakes operated by cables and I can tell you from experience of driving my 1935 Austin Seven they would take considerably longer to stop than a modern cars equipped with ABS.
Strange, then that we have cars able to stop so much quicker and yet in plenty of built up areas we now have speed limits of 20mph, the logic of that I find hard to understand.
The speed one can achieve nowadays is generally regulated by the volume of traffic, we don’t actually need overhead cameras on gantries to tell us we have to go slowly on the M25, at least from my experience whenever I use it, I find myself in a moving traffic jam.
I can remember when the 70mph limit was first trialled by The Minister of Transport Barbara Castle who strangely enough was unable to drive herself in December 1965 for four months before it became permanent in July 1967.
I wasn’t driving myself until May 1968 and I seem to recollect the 70mph limit wasn’t strictly adhered to, for should you venture into the outside lane of a motorway in those days you would be well advised to keep a sharp eye on your rear view mirror for faster cars coming from behind flashing their lights to alert you to the speed difference and as a polite way of requesting you remove yourself from the path of their vehicle.
A lesson which might be well learned by some of today’s drivers who seem never to use their rear view mirror and seem unable to notice a police car with headlights and blue lights flashing even when they are right behind them.
Well that’s enough nostalgia from me about the good old days, so in answer to your question; no, I do not want to see a 60mph limit trialled under the pretext that it will make a major difference to world pollution, for we all know it won’t.
Sorry to have gone on so long but it’s quite strange to think that sometime in the future when we are forced to have electric cars and the lights have gone out all over the country, there may be young people nostalgic for the old days, the internal combustion engine and reasonable speed limits.
I liked the signs in NZ that stated that speed limits were not targets.
Having lived on a main road with a speed limit of 30 mph through our village and totally ignored, because the road was straight, drivers were often doing 80 mph plus. One car was run off the road by joy riders and the driver of the vehicle died, together with her unborn child.
Whilst I can appreciate frustrations and impatience getting behind someone who is dawdling or doesn’t know where they are going, let alone know what the indicator switch is for, common sense and road courtesy seems to be lacking in many drivers. As for electric cars, I can see a lot being left on the roadside having run out of go-juice. Just my opinion Joe.
I think it will be quite amusing if the Police ever have electric cars, I have a picture in my mind of the Police having patrolled the motorway then parking up waiting for wrongdoers when a call comes that robbers are just about to pass at a great rate of knots.
The Police give chase flooring the accelerator on their electric car which as we all know uses the battery at a phenomenal rate.
Some five miles down the road we see a stationary Police car and the dejected officers kicking the tyres in anger.
Ah, the joys of the internal combustion engine.
I think this example describes your comment of running out of juice, the worrying aspect of that might be that they do it rather too suddenly in front of other traffic with very little warning, I tend to extend my braking distance when behind an electric car just to be on the safe side!
don’t blame you!!!
I have a friend who once admitted that she never used her wing mirrors, saying that she didn’t need them because she had a rearview mirror! I was gobsmacked, especially as her husband used to be a driving instructor.
Talking of speed limits and how quickly one can stop a car, you should apply for one of the speeding courses, you’d enjoy it, I did. They actually are an eye-opener. I was caught by a speed camera on a road I didn’t know very well, and l hadn’t noticed the limit had changed from 60 to 30. Having realised too late I slowed down but not quick enough and was doing 37 at the moment the camera caught me.
Hi Sue, I had a feeling you had read my post on being “nicked for speeding!” https://thediaryofacountrybumpkin.com/2020/08/17/ive-just-been-nicked-for-speeding-im-mad-as-hell/
The result of this was an on line course which I was expecting to be a quiz and box ticking exercise but no, it turned out to be a zoom conference which was a most stressful experience.
Firstly I had to purchase a camera for my computer, then luckily I set it up with the aid of a young person, still unsure on the morning of the test whether the sound would work.
Unfortunately it was on a Saturday morning, a day my wife and I usually reserve for lounging about in bed reading or watching television, I was not happy.
As I felt I had been “done up like a kipper” in the first place by being nicked, this experience was not a patch on my usual rather relaxing Saturday morning.
My camera only showed a head shot so I decided not to change out of my night shirt and made a cup of tea and waited for my punishment to start.
I was first on the scene as all older people are and fairly relieved that the sound and picture were both working so chatted through gritted teeth to the woman who was taking us through the course while waiting for the other eight people to join us.
Had any of us had problems with our cameras or the internet and failed to complete the course we would have had to pay £45.00 to do it again, this on top of the original £90.00 we had already paid, “money for old rope” is an expression that springs to mind.
We were questioned by virtue of various images as to what the speed limit might be in various locations, the usual trick ones like, “it may look like it should be faster but the street lighting makes it 30mph.”
Later a right hand bend was presented with a 40mph speed limit sign in view and questioned as to what speed should we be doing, most said 40mph but I suggested perhaps 10 to 15mph, perhaps slower, which as the picture was of a snow covered lane with limited visibility road the corner was the correct answer.
Eventually our ordeal was over and we all passed and were allowed on our way so I resumed my place in bed and continued my more relaxing Saturday morning, still I am glad to say with no points on my licence, so not a completely wasted morning.
I must say thank you to SueW who reads my blog and commented on a post I had put up about temporary 60mph speed limits, the result of which was this reply which has become so long it will be posted on my blog as a post in its own right!
You are so right, of course I read your post I had forgotten. Kind of worrying that my memory is getting so bad! 🙂 I enjoyed the course, interestingly, my son-in-law did it on the same day but not with me. I cant imagine a zoom meeting would be anything like the real thing, the discussions we had were interesting. Thank you, Joe
The sad thing is virtually everyone speeds, hardly anyone sticks religiously to the speed limit, it’s quite hard to do if you are busy looking where you’re going. I’d rather concentrate on looking where I’m going than looking at my speedometer any day.
Everything hinges on drivers using common sense and the understanding of cause and effect.
The sooner we hand responsibility back to drivers, the better. Far too much dependence on other to tell them what to do – causes the brain ability to shrink…