Speed limits: We need to talk
As cars get safer, speed limits go down. Why can't we go faster when it's safe to do so?
It’s a sensitive subject, but it’s one that we need to talk about, Speed limits. it’s not an easy change to make because so many people blame speed on crashes, when in fact it's more about the use of speed, conditions and human error that cause collisions.
Let’s be clear to start off with, I have no qualms with the current speed limits around town, they are enforced for a reason. 30mph is a sensible and reasonable speed to be travelling with pedestrians and housing nearby.
But motorways need to be addressed, while the 70 mph limit has served us well for over half a century, we need to move on. Cars have advanced, we no longer drive Ford Anglias or Austin Metros with tyres you can fit a hand around.
I was driving a new VW Passat a few weeks ago and it's like sitting in your own private techno club. It bongs, pings and beeps at any little thing that it may think you are doing wrong, it thinks you are just a human, way inferior to the technology. The thing even pulls you back into lane if you don’t indicate. If it thinks you have fallen asleep, it will take back control and pull the car over so you don’t crash!
Sure, there would be a backlash from safety groups, these so-called ‘experts’ will tell you that driving at 90 would cause death, suffering and widespread starvation – probably.
In reality, modern family cars can sit at 120mph all day without a hitch, yet we restrict them to 70mph, It’s like giving Michael Phelps armbands.
But now is the safest time to make a speed increase thanks to Britain’s new ‘smart’ motorways. These change the speed limit (and annoy drivers) according to traffic conditions. There is no reason why smart motorways could not raise the speed limit when the motorway is quiet and conditions allow.
90mph would be a good speed to set as everything from superminis to SUVs feel perfectly happy and stable at this pace in the dry. The speed could then be restricted back down the 70 in the wet and 60 in heavy rain to make the changes even safer.
Smart motorways could be amazing, they could make the UK’s transport system faster and more efficient. Instead, they mean a trip down the M1 is a challenge of keeping to the ever-changing speed limits. Please, If you're going to restrict traffic to a painful 40mph, please let us go 90 when it is fully safe to do so.