Monday, 29 November 2010

Sorry!

I attended the Speed Awareness Course recently. (see post dated 23rd October.) Eighteen of us, eleven male, seven female.) Three failed to turn up so they have three points on their licences that could have been avoided. It was held in a large conference centre. We waited in the foyer before the start. Others in various meetings drifted amongst us. I assume some of them knew why we were there. I don't know whether we looked like 'criminals' but we certainly felt so!
Eighteen people, mainly middle aged though the youngest was twenty five. (I think I was the eldest.) All guilty of speeding, not massively so as 'boy racers' seem to attend a different course; but all guilty of breaking the law nevertheless. (Was the psychology of it all the possibility that we at least were 'saveable?) Some, particularly the ladies were quite overawed by it all, showing symptoms of embarrassment, even shame. A show of hands suggested our main reason for attending was to avoid penalty points, note, not necessarily to learn new skills. The course was run by one individual, an ex-policeman, ex-teacher. The course was very intensive, illustrated with visual aids, delivered not without humour and lasted a massive four hours; not an easy proposition for anyone, least of all those whose classroom experience has been non existent for many years.
I think it is fair to say most of us harboured feelings of being hard done by in various degrees. I have received three speeding tickets in ten or so years. The term serial offender springs to mind! I would have previously argued: once on a deserted road at midnight, plus thought it was a forty, not a thirty limit; once outside a deserted school on a Saturday; once on a remote road in the country, never saw a sign. All present, to a greater or lesser degree committed similar offences. In other words, NOBODY DELIBERATELY broke the speed limit.
The value or otherwise of this course can only be measured by two things. What we retain in our minds after the initial 'lectures' are long gone. Plus whether our future driving behaviour, attitude and experience changes. At my age particularly long term retention is not easy. So what is likely to be remembered longest?
One, no road is dangerous in itself, it depends on the behaviour of the people on it.
Two, the speed limit is 30mph unless stated otherwise. (Often the reason for a 30mph limit is a history of accidents etc.)
Three, where speed limits are signed, this is a MAXIMUM speed, not an obligatory speed.
Four, there is no such thing as a 'quiet' road or time, only a 'quieter' time or road.
Five, the main source of serious accidents, often resulting in death is not the motorways as you might have thought. (On motorways no-one might be turning right or overtaking as on urban roads.)
Much of the course concerning types of signs etc I have forgotten only days after the course. And several points are also worth mentioning. Our collective knowledge of the modern highway code was appalling. There is much to be said for everyone attending this course periodically, say every five years; no one could fail to benefit. A hand out of the points covered would have been useful and after all, we did pay seventy pounds each for our 'sins'. Enjoy is the wrong word for this type of experience. I still think authorities don't always get it right concerning limits. (See video of Swarkstone Bridge, a local landmark, limit, maximum 40mph, in my view ridiculously high. Co-incidentally this week there is an ongoing inquest concerning a death on this bridge earlier this year. But remember, and I reiterate, it is a MAXIMUM speed limit, not an obligatory speed we must maintain. ) But the thing that I personally will remember most from the course is this. The damage to a person or person at speeds over 35mph, rather than at 30mph to 35mph was horrifically memorable. I hope no policeman has to knock on a door to tell a mother her child is not coming home due to my driving. The main message from our afternoon together was 'Yes, speed does kill.'

32 comments:

Gill - That British Woman said...

I'm not sure if we have that type of thing over here. It's a good thing I think.

What a shame three people couldn't be bothered to turn up...those type of people are just silly.

Gill in Canada

Valerie said...

A female colleague attended one of those courses and she came back with all sorts of information for the rest of us. The general lack of knowledge (?) of the highway code is apparent where I live, where general driving standards are appalling. I had a mishap last year, on a 30 road, when a schoolboy dashed out in front of me to see his mates ont he other side of the road. That I didn't hit him can only be credited to good brakes and for once obeying the speed limit. The driver behind me wasn't so fortunate, she had to pay the bill!

Nota Bene said...

Yes...I have heard similar things from others who have been on these courses...and I agree we would all benefit from attending once every five years. My habitial criminality seems to be not stopping at traffic lights. I always protest my innocence belieiving I wouldn't do such a thing, until presented with the phot evidence...

slommler said...

Well good on you for attending this class. I have to admit that I tend to go over the speed limit on the freeway near my home. Mainly due to the people going 90 MPH zooming past me. Out of self defense I speed!!! Ha! But I will try now to behave myself and slow down to 70MPH and hope my doors aren't blown off in the process!
Hugs
SueAnn

the fly in the web said...

I know you were obliged to attend..but you did get something out of it.
The information about speed and resulting harm is what sticks with me...

Gaston Studio said...

Kudos for taking the course Ken!

Hadriana's Treasures said...

Well done for doing the course Ken! You are absolutely right about the things you say and we should probably all slow down.

I agree - I'd go on a refresher course willingly every so often! :)

Happy Frog and I said...

I'm impressed that not only did you take the course but you got so much out of it. Just goes to show these courses can do some good.

Meggie said...

I have enjoyed my visit to your blog. Thankyou for visiting mine.
I confess, I do tend to get impatient with GOMs & GOWs who persist in driving at leat 20ks under the limit. Here in OZ we have kilometers rather than miles, -hence the term Ks.
Having no speeding crimes to my name, I can only say, sheepishly, my one crime was 'Choking an Intersection'. No one I know has ever done that!

Fickle Cattle said...

We should have these in the Philippines. We have the worst drivers in the world.

http://ficklecattle.blogspot.com/

Gina said...

Hi Ken,

Thanks for visiting my blog and taking time to comment. If you want a good cake recipe for coeliacs I posted a link to one for carrot cake last week. I've enjoyed reading back through some of your recent posts. I think your idea of a refresher course for all drivers every five years or so is excellent. My knowledge of the highway code is very rusty to say the least.

Lakeland Jo said...

I went to this course a couple of years ago admittedly to avoid points.I learnt a lot- I was surprised and some of what I did learn was in the list you have given us. Since then I have been a much slower driver- and yes- our group's highway code knowledge was dire too

An English Shepherd said...

Sounds like a useful course :-)

Anita said...

In Virginia, I think we call it Traffic School. I've never had to go, but many others who I know have.
Don't know how I've avoided a ticket in my 37 years of driving!
Gotten a couple of warnings though.
As I've gotten "older" I try to be more aware of how I drive. I'm trying to slow down, trying not to do other things in the car while driving; basically anything that can cause me to be distracted - because, yes, people can get killed by bad driving.
Thanks for blogging about it.

Grumpy Old Ken said...

Gill
Perhaps they couldn't face saying 'I was wrong'.

Grumpy Old Ken said...

Valerie
All very true. There but for the grace of God springs to mind, but your sensible driving means a child is that bit safer.

Grumpy Old Ken said...

Nota Bene
Nobody's perfect! We dont mean to break the law.

Grumpy Old Ken said...

slommler
i cant imagine driving where you are. as they say here 'the best of British.'

Grumpy Old Ken said...

fly in the web
Interesting, if only cars regulated the speed for us.

Grumpy Old Ken said...

Gaston Studio
Thanks!

Grumpy Old Ken said...

Hadriana's treasures
Hhanks, your neck of the woods has its hairy roads as well!

Grumpy Old Ken said...

Happy Frog and I
Thanks,It would have been difficult not to gain something out of it.

Grumpy Old Ken said...

Meggie
Ah, the impatience of youth! Lovely to hear what problems other face. GOM indeed!

Grumpy Old Ken said...

Meggie
Just looked up your profile! Ups!
You are obviously still with it, unlike us grumpy old men!

Grumpy Old Ken said...

Fickle Cattle.
Thanks for visiting. sounds lively where you live!

Grumpy Old Ken said...

Gina
Thanks for the cake recipe and thanks for calling.Must get a new copy of the Highway Code.

Grumpy Old Ken said...

Lakeland Jo
You, speeding, never! Can you get above twenty in your area? Winter perhaps.

Grumpy Old Ken said...

An English Shepherd.
I bet you are too young or too sensible to break the law!

Grumpy Old Ken said...

Anita
My you have done well. I'v had 3 speeding, 1 due care and attention and 2 parking in fifty years!

Gaston Studio said...

Ken, something terribly wrong with your link for your new post!

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