Saturday, 8 April 2006

Speed limits gone mad?

On the M1 in Hertfordshire/Bedfordshire a 40mph limit came into force as work began on road widening. This is scheduled for the next 3 years. Driving at 39.9mph (!), my first experience on joining the M1 was to see 3 lanes of traffic behind me, all gradually but surely, catching me up and all destined to overtake me. I put my flashing warning lights on for a few seconds. That did the trick. For a moment or two. They all slowed down, and for a few seconds I actually thought all lanes would not be overtaking me. On the whole, most drivers seem to be resigned to this slower limit, especially now that speed camera notices have gone up.

At work they're going to bring in a 10mph speed limit. For the longest drive around the site, it'll take 5 minutes from the entrance to park up... and road rage behind those who keep to the speed limit. I don't know what the powers that be think they're doing with a ridiculous speed limit like that, and I'll bet the ones that dreamt the limit up drive at least twice that speed on site, themselves.

Speed cameras on one of my regular routes seem to give other drivers the feeling that they can drive at whatever speed they fancy elsewhere. They know where the cameras are, and slow down for them. Then speed up again when they've got through them. One guy accelerated around me doing probably 50 in a 30 limit this week.

The next day, in a 30 limit, another guy tried to go around me. Well, sorry, but I decided to turn right, so signalled and maneuvered. Nearly crashed into me, he did. Tsk tsk, shouldn't be driving so fast. Further down the route he undertook me on a 30mph dual carriageway. As I moved back to the inside lane he moved back to the inside lane to prevent me overtaking him, not that I had any intention of doing so, as he was already in excess of the speed limit.

It's speed limits that can cause road rage. There are times when a slow speed limit is inappropriate, and leads to silliness, and downright bad manners, not to mention plain childishness. And it's not usually the single incident which brings about bad behaviour on the roads, its the culmination of incidents.

Earlier this week, someone flashed me and stuck 2 fingers up when I was driving at 30 out of a small Herts village. I could see their mouth opening and shutting, in my rear view mirror, presumably as they shouted obscenities. I don't make the limits. I just keep to them. Tough if you're the one behind me, I just hope that one day a mobile speed trap will catch you.
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