Apparently raising the motorway speed limit to 80mph will get us to meetings quicker, improve the output of the country and save the economy, at least that’s what Transport Secretary Philip Hammond seems to be claiming. Is that your experience of motorway driving because it’s not mine.
What are the key features of my typical motorway journey? Well firstly most drivers are already doing 80mph, and more, regardless of our current speed limit and there seems to be little enthusiasm for slowing them down.
Secondly, there’s the "middle lane moron" – you know the ones, they’re doing 71mph in the middle lane whilst the inside lane is totally clear. Traffic is having to weave around them slowing everyone down. Again, never seen anyone pulled over for this though clearly it could come under "driving without due care or attention".
Finally, road works. These used to be the scourge of a drive along the motorway but I actually find then rather relaxing now. The imposition of an 50mph average speed limit, policed by "in/out" cameras, means that traffic all slows and filters through remarkably quickly.
All of which makes me think the unthinkable, should all of our motorway network be policed in this way? At every junction or at periodic bridges should cameras track us and measure our average speed? Would we all then just cruise calmly along like happens at the road words? There’s a slot of studies which say that smooth, rather than "fast" driving is what a road needs, which is one reason why variable speed limits force everyone to slow down when traffic is heavy as things then happen more smoothly (getting real technical here 😉 ).