Are they too slow, or are you too fast?

Having been somewhat under the weather this week, I’ve been a bit slow off the mark on making comment on a recent story about slow drivers. However, having seen an editorial piece in today’s Telegraph, that links this with another of my hobby horses – our impatient society – I couldn’t resist.

Apparently, the top gripe for those who drive, which is most of us, is slow drivers. Nobody asked me, so I suspect that claim will be based on one of those surveys where they asked a couple of dozen people and then using some clever sums, turn it in something that can be claimed as representative of all drivers – like I said, they didn’t ask me and I don’t agree.

Having come across relatively few genuinely slow drivers – 20 in a 30mph, or 40 in 60mph, I think there’s a completely different slant on this story. My question to those drivers who claim to see red when confronted with somebody driving too slowly is, what speed were YOU actually doing?

Over the years I’ve encountered many more drivers doing 40+ in a 30, or 50+ in a 40, than I have the opposite. On that basis, I have a strong suspicion that many of these unhappy drivers didn’t actually know what speed they were doing anyway. Alternatively, they felt that most speed limits, especially the lower ones, were too low for their taste and that drivers who observe them are a pain.

I find it particularly infuriating when I hear or read so called experts suggesting that ‘experienced’ drivers know best what their speed to drive at based on the road conditions and that it should be up to them to choose the right speed. This is one of the main arguments being used to resist the imposition of 20mph in residential streets – rubbish I say. It actually requires effort and concentration to drive well and it’s not just about what is happening inside the car. A genuinely good driver will consider what effect the noise of a speeding car has on those living in and around the street or road they are driving on and not just their own selfish wish to get from a to b as fast as possible.

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