Spike in crashes that were caused by slow driv­ers

Wales On Sunday - - NEWS -

THE num­ber of ca­su­al­ties from crashes caused by slow driv­ers in­creased by al­most a third last year, fig­ures show.

Press As­so­ci­a­tion anal­y­sis of Depart­ment for Trans­port data shows 175 peo­ple were in­jured and two were killed in such ac­ci­dents on Bri­tain’s roads in 2017.

This rep­re­sents a 31% in­crease in to­tal ca­su­al­ties from the pre­vi­ous 12 months. The fig­ures take into ac­count crashes when some­one is driv­ing too slow for the con­di­tions or a slow mov­ing ve­hi­cle was a con­trib­u­tory fac­tor.

AA pres­i­dent Ed­mund King warned “driv­ing like a snail can be as dan­ger­ous as driv­ing like a chee­tah”.

Too many mo­tor­way users hog the mid­dle lane and drive “far be­low the speed limit” which can lead to un­der­tak­ing, tail­gat­ing, con­ges­tion and road rage, he said.

Mr King re­vealed he of­ten sees mo­torists slow down and hes­i­tate when join­ing a mo­tor­way rather than match­ing their speed to fit into the traf­fic flow.

“I was in a queue of five cars join­ing the M3 re­cently when the lead driver was driv­ing at ap­prox­i­mately 25 mph,” he added. “It was in­cred­i­bly dan­ger­ous.”

A poll of 2,000 UK driv­ers com­mis­sioned by car­maker Hyundai ear­lier this year found “some­one driv­ing too slowly in front of you” is the sev­enth most com­mon rea­son mo­torists swear when be­hind the wheel.

Min­i­mum speeds are rare on UK roads, but do ex­ist in some high-risk lo­ca­tions such as tun­nels. These are dis­played by a round blue sign with a white num­ber.

Driv­ing too slowly on any road can re­sult in the mo­torist be­ing pe­nalised for care­less driv­ing, which nor­mally car­ries a £100 fine and three points on a li­cence. If a case goes to court the max­i­mum penalty is £5,000, up to nine points on a li­cence and dis­qual­i­fi­ca­tion from driv­ing.

Re­search by Aus­tralia’s Queens­land Univer­sity of Tech­nol­ogy pub­lished last year which found that the risk of an ac­ci­dent can be in­creased by mo­torists who slow down when they use their mo­bile phone.

The study in­di­cated that this is due to nose-to-tail crashes, con­ges­tion and frus­trated driv­ers per­form­ing ag­gres­sive over­tak­ing ma­noeu­vres.

A DfT spokesman said: “Care­less driv­ing in­clud­ing driv­ing too slowly is an of­fence and any­one caught faces pros­e­cu­tion.”

Neil Greig, di­rec­tor of pol­icy and re­search at mo­tor­ing cam­paign or­gan­i­sa­tion IAM Road­s­mart, said: “Slow driv­ers are just one ex­tra hazard any good driver must deal with.

“By us­ing the key ad­vanced driv­ing skills of ob­ser­va­tion, an­tic­i­pa­tion and pa­tience, any­one should be able to cope with a hes­i­tant or tardy per­son on the road.

“If you run into the rear of some­one then it’s most likely in­sur­ers will see it as your fault.”

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