Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Speed is good

Maybe it was a seconds inattention by a motorist, maybe it was another reason, but we have seen that even on England's fine motorways, you are never safe from being involved in a horrendous accident.

We in Melbourne are certainly not immune from spectacular and multiple fatality crashes either.

My only experience of English motorways was driving on the M6, the motorway north to Glasgow, for a few hours, return from Carlisle to Preston. I can't imagine there could be safer roads in the world than the M6.

English motorists treat motorways and fellow motorists with respect and they are a pleasure to drive on at the 70mph (112km/h) limit where you sit in the middle lane and rarely need to change lanes. Of course this all falls apart once off the motorway where English politeness kicks in and everyone tries to give way to everyone else, resulting in very slow traffic movement. My advice to Australians contemplating driving in England is to forget their Australian ways and go with the much more relaxed English manner of driving.

But when reading a report of the Somerset multi vehicle pile up, I noticed that England is about to increase the motorway speed limit to 80mph (129km/h). Oh, that is not great timing.

On the face of it, it seems much more dangerous to travel what is nearly 30km/h faster than we do on our highways and most freeways. Certainly if something goes wrong, it is going to have a much worse result at the higher speed.

I would argue that it is less likely for there to be crashes at the higher speed. Who hasn't driven on a highly engineered Australian freeway at 100km/h and wondered why you can't go faster and then a high level of boredom overcomes you. Even our few freeways that have 110 limits can get boring. I will go for 120 limits on our country freeways, and 110 on many of the rest and see what the crash statistics show up.

12 comments:

  1. That was one horrific crash. I read reports that fog, coupled with smoke from fireworks turned it into blackness that you couldn't see into or out of. Ugh.

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  2. Seems like it Fen. There will be more to tell no doubt.

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  3. Drivers in OZ can't handle the speed limits they've got now let alone increasing them. If its boring at 110 km/h at 120 km/h its not going to make much difference :-).

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  4. Windsmoke, 140 then?

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  5. The main traffic hazard at 110 kph is the grey nomads insisting on going btw 70-80 without any regard for who's behind them!!

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  6. Terrible hazard Red. I believe that is illegal in Victoria, but I have never heard of anyone being prosecuted. If the vehicle or vehicle and van, or the driver is not up to doing at least 100, they should not be on a freeway.

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  7. I drove up and down British motor ways for years and had no problem whatsover.

    But I travelled on the German autobahns once or twice, and did not want to do that again. They drive at speeds I have never seen before, and don't care to see again. Scary.

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  8. Hels, I think their autobahns are quite old too, and perhaps don't have the latest road engineering.

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  9. Also people need to keep left if not overtaking. Nothing worse than someone sitting right on the speed limit and hogging the right hand lane causing a massive blockage.

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  10. Indeed they should Ben. In England, slow cars sit in the left lane, cars at 70mph in the middle lane and the right is for overtaking or people speeding above the limit.

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  11. The standard driving in Australia, certainly in Victoria, is so poor that in order to save the population from themselves and their ridiculously over-powered cars, the only solution I can see is to reduce the limit to about 50kmh.

    Unless Australians start to learn how to move off effectively when the lights turn green, stop when the lights turn red and move left when not overtaking in order to allow faster moving traffic to continue progress. Really, do people just not see the huge signs telling them to keep left?

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  12. Can't agree more about the standard of driving Mark. It seems half us would agree with what you say and the other half must be offenders. There was a time when people did move off when a light turned green. Now they are too busy fiddling with all sorts of things, the don't notice the green light until someone toots them.

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