Speeding may risk driver safety as many ‘underestimate’ dangers during lockdown

Speeding offences have doubled in parts of the UK as the Metropolitan Police admits drivers exceeding the speed limit have become their biggest road safety challenge in London. Offences have been recorded by police officers across the country since the lockdown was implemented at the end of March as drivers take advantage of the quiet roads. 


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However, road safety experts at Thatchams have warned the “dangers” are still real despite traffic levels falling. 

The experts have urged drivers to resist the temptation to speed because of added road risks such as reduced reaction times and an increased chance of suffering a crash.

Matthew Avery, Director of Research at Thatcham Research said: “It’s much easier for drivers to underestimate their speed when the roads are empty and there are fewer cars to measure their own speed against.”

“Although quieter roads might seem less risky, the dangers are still very real.

READ MORE: Speeding has increased under coronavirus lockdown

“Pedestrians and cyclists are out in greater number, and they too might be walking or riding less defensively than they would usually, because of the reduction in traffic.”

Thatcham warns travelling at high speeds could cause drivers to misjudge the road which could see many underestimate bends, parked cars or other road risks.

Travelling at speed is also likely to reduce your reaction times which will give motorists less time to deal with possible road hazards. 

Vehicles can travel as far as 96 metres while travelling at 70mph which will make it difficult to react to immediate danger. 

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Thatcham warns quieter roads could lull drivers into a false sense of security where they may not fully concentrate. 

Drivers may be lulled into this autopilot mode which could make it harder to act decisively if there is any upcoming danger. 

Thatcham also warns going just a tiny bit after can have a devastating impact for yourself and other road users, 

Hitting pedestrians at 30mph gives them an 80 percent chance of survival, while 40mph gives them just a 10 percent chance of survival. 


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Thatcham Research also warns how having an accident during lockdown would put added pressure on the NHS in a crucial time. 

Any damage picked up due to an accident may not be repaired straight away as many garages have closed to protect the safety of staff and customers. 

Greater Manchester Police has confirmed its traffic cameras have clocked over 6,000 drivers for speeding offences since the UK lockdown began. 

Metropolitan Police have seen the average speed increase across roads which has forced the team to launch a new Road Crimes squad to deal with the issue. 

One London driver was clocked traveling a  whopping 134mph in the capital as traffic levels dramatically fell. 

The issue is widespread with police forces across the UK declaring that many were using public roads like “race tracks” since the measures were introduced. 

Driving laws are still in place during the lockdown and motorost could still be hit with fines and penalties. 

Those caught travelling above the speed limit are likely to be hot with a £100 fine and three penalty points on a driving licence. 

In some severe cases, officers may issue a charge of dangerous driving which can see costs rise to £5,000 if a case goes to court. 

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