RAC Cars News


Are Slow Drivers As Dangerous As Speeders?

By raccars Published

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A recent survey suggests that driving too slowly can be as dangerous to other road users as going too fast. Drivers who fail to respond to prevailing road conditions are accused of causing accidents, in the same way that speeding drivers do.

The survey concluded that there could be cause to introduce a minimum speed limit on faster roads, such as motorways and dual carriageways. Recent government regulations introduced to penalise so called 'middle lane hoggers' have gone some way towards encouraging motorists to drive to the prevailing conditions, but many of those fined fail to understand what they have done wrong and continue to believe that slower is safer, regardless of the circumstances.

The survey also questioned a number of professional drivers, including couriers, van and lorry drivers and taxi drivers on their experiences with slow drivers. Their responses suggested that slow drivers are a big concern, with professional drivers calling them a 'menace' and lacking in consideration for other road users. Incidents cited included HGV drivers being forced to pull out into the overtaking lane at 60mph on dual carriageways, to pass cars travelling at 30mph. The drivers claimed that this was not only dangerous but also contributed to traffic congestion, as their rigs hold up other traffic while they try to negotiate around the slower vehicles.

Research has shown that while driving too slowly is not at this stage an offence, danger is caused, as other drivers are encouraged to overtake or perform incautious manoeuvres to leave them behind. The irony is that slower drivers often consider themselves to be safer than faster drivers but there comes a point when careful can turn into overcompensation, and the risk of driving without due care.

Some of the professional drivers who took part in the survey recommended the introduction of a minimum speed limit, such as 45mph on a free flowing motorway. They believe this could help keep traffic moving smoothly and avoid mobile bottleneck situations, when there is a build up of vehicles trying to pass a driver who is travelling much slower than other road users. The technology already in place to monitor excessive speed could also be used to ensure motorists drive between two recommended speeds, a minimum and a maximum.

While it could be equally dangerous to encourage slower drivers to travel faster than their confidence and competence allows, there is also an argument that all road users should show awareness and consideration of traffic conditions and respond accordingly.

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