Britain has a proud boast that it has some of the best road safety in the world. The fun in driving has been taken away by stringent speed campaigns and hundreds of speed cameras acting like big brother making sure your driving misdemeanours go punished. The driving test, something that used to be non existent until 1935, has changed many times in recent years. The simple test requiring a half hour drive incorporating a few manoeuvres like parallel parking or reversing around the corner, and then answering a few questions on the highway code have long gone. Now, you have a test on your eyesight, a test on your knowledge of the highway code, a test on your hazard perception, a test of what does what under the bonnet, and then (and only then) a test actually out on the street driving the real thing.
Say you pass all these tests, then you get your pass certificate, and that same hour you can drive for the first time on a 3 or 4 lane high speed motorway perfectly legally, without ever experiencing it before. The UK might have reduced the numbers of deaths in recent years by cutting down on speeding, but this week a death was highlighted to me by my best mate Adrian. Adrian lives near Port Talbot, the poor sod. One evening he was driving home along the M4, and suddenly in front of him was a Ford Escort driving towards him. He managed to just get out the way, only for it to hit the car (a Volvo 440) directly behind him. The driver of the Escort had taken a wrong turning further up the motorway, and then in a truly stupendous move, turned around and driven back towards the junction he'd got wrong. He didn't know he wasn't supposed to. Now, if he was doing the speed limit of 70 mph, and the other driver was doing the same, Volvo or otherwise, I doubt anyone would have survived very easily. Unfortunately the driver of the Volvo didn't. Another death for the government to proclaim was down to speeding or whatever, whereas the reality is the driver of the Escort's ignorance is what caused the death. When are the DSA going to implement testing on motorways? The law says learners aren't allowed on motorways, and this is why they can't be tested. The new driver can take an advanced lesson after passing the test voluntarily, but how many do? Maybe the law needs to be changed so that some quiet motorways allow learner drivers on them or maybe main motorways at quieter times, and then they can be tested on the same roads.
However they do it, they need to do it soon.
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