If you are anything like me then when my letter arrived from Kent Police to say the speed camera on Valley Drive had caught me going 37mph in a 30mph limit area I groaned. ‘What? That’s only 2 mph over!’ I yelled at the piece of paper. (Some counties allow a 10% + 2mph, so 30mph zone would be 33+2=35mph)
To top the injustice, I happened to get that fine on the very day Everything Was Going Wrong.
I had my parents coming for lunch bringing the girls back after a few days down at the caravan. My morning was to be a busy one but I was well organised, I needed to shop, fill the car with petrol and get back in time to get lunch on the table. Normally this would be easy BUT as I leapt out of my car at the petrol pump with just my debit card in my hand to pay for the fuel, my car locked me out – I had taken the keys out of the ignition and left them on the passenger seat for safe keeping. That was the first domino falling on a series of others throughout that day.
A couple of weeks later the letter arrived and I realised that day had proven to be even worse.
The letter offers a couple of options for first time offenders, pay £100 fine and accept 3 points on your license or pay £87 and complete a National Speed Awareness Course.
I begrudgingly chose the latter moaning about wasting my time and of course the money.
Today I am returned from my National Speed Awareness Course and I have to say it wasn’t that bad at all.
I had to be there at 8.15, it was raining and the roads were completely blocked up so I screeched (last) into the room just in time before the 8.30am cut off. I sat down in a room of about 20 offenders of all ages, both sexes and various walks of life and we listened to John and Dave take turns in running through the presentation.
The presentation is very well thought out and you are invited to participate in joint activities with the people at your table.
I have learnt loads, for example, ‘Only two miles above the speed limit.’ can actually mean life or death to a person you hit. I didn’t know that the major stopping part of slamming on the brakes comes at the final bit of the car screeching to a halt, therefore it takes the car longer to break at a higher speed plus it will travel further.
Travelling at 30 mph you will brake in time and come to a halt before hitting the person/car in front of you
Travelling at 35 mph you will hit that person/car at 18mph and cause a lot of damage.
Travelling at 40 mph you will hit that person or car at 26 mph and will most likely kill or cause life changing injuries.
Did you know road facts
- Speed is one of the main factors in fatal road accidents
- In 2013, 3,064 people were killed or seriously injured in crashes where speed was a factor
- The risk of death is approximately four times higher when a pedestrian is hit at 40mph than at 30mph
- Fatal accidents are four times as likely on rural “A” roads as urban “A” roads
- Each camera placed on the roadside is an exact spot where someone has lost their life from a driving related accident.
How can I tell what the speed limit is?
The easiest and quickest way is to look for street lights along the road, if there are lights then the speed limit will be 30 mph unless there are signs stating otherwise. if there are no street lights then the road will be a national speed limit unless signs dictate differently.
SLOW written on the road
Another interesting fact I came away with was seeing SLOW written on the road as you drive along, often on a red blanket to make it stand out more and accompanied by signs with hi vis surrounds on them. the letters stand for
S – Speed
L – Low
O – Observe
W – Warnings
The course invites you to look at yourself and the decisions you take on the road. I went over the speed limit as I was having a bad day, got distracted and decided to take the chance that I wouldn’t be caught.
How can I change this in future?
It’s so simple, you just have to slow down and respect the rules.
Why should I?
There are three levels of luck in this particular process.
- You get away with it but are likely to do the same again another time.
- You get caught and are invited to a NSAC if it’s a first time. You can only attend one course in three years, should you get caught again within that 3 year bracket you’ll be charged £100 and given 3 points minimum – it could be more depending on the speed you were at.
- You could seriously hurt someone or worse kill them.