• Junction 25, M5: There but for the Grace of God drive we.


    Doubtless many British Gazette will be familiar with British motorway driving and many will be familiar to a greater or lesser extent with the stretch of M5 where this terrible accident occurred in the evening of Friday 4th November, 2011.

    Above, is a video report of the crash courtesy of ITN. Our apologies for the reporter using the foreign measurements. She should of course have said a quarter mile or 440 yards.

    The newscasters have correctly made reference to the fact that this tragedy is atypical of today’s experience and that road deaths have decline rapidly over the past three decades.

    This has been due not to better driving but better car design. Below are examples. Below left is a 1972 Ford Cortina Mk3 and below right, a present day Ford Mondeo, the car’s descendant.There is no doubt that the Mondeo with its ABS brakes, improved road-holding and crash protection technology is a far safer vehicle.

    The police are investigating the cause of the crash but preliminary reports suggest that it would appear to be a combination of driver distraction due to a local fireworks display combined with a fog bank drifting onto that low lying stretch of the motorway. Every driver knows that one MUST slow down when driving through fog. Doubtless, British Gazette readers will have been on the motorway in fog and have experienced drivers speeding past them in lanes two and three. It is possible however that the drivers involved in Friday’s tragedy will have being slowing down as they entered the fog bank. The police investigation will tell.

    What the British Gazette can comment sensibly on is ROSPA’s call for the government to abandon its plan to raise the motorway speed limit from 70mph to 80mph.

    ROSPA, aka, Royal Society of Pains in the Arse, are wholly wrong about this. Whether the motorway speed limit is 70 or 80, when there is fog there is no way that drivers should be driving anything near 70mph, let alone 80mph! The maximum speed limit is for excellent conditions only!

    Another feature of the tragedy was the fireball. Doubtless the barmy fantasist, our dearly beloved Secretary of State for Climate Change, Mr Chris Huhne – who has experience of driving above the speed limit – will identify the flammable nature of the fuel most road vehicles use as a contributory factor and come up with the idea that this is the justification to replace petrol and diesel vehicles with electric ones!

    This fool has already suggested that the new 80mph speed limit be reserved for electric (battery powered) cars only! Clearly this man is an idiot for were any person so foolish to drive such vehicle at 80mph – assuming that such a vehicle could actually reach 80mph – they would present a danger to other road users as the batteries would be drained very quickly and the vehicle would come to a halt, thus presenting a danger to oncoming traffic!

    The British Gazette would wish to suggest that motor manufacturers consider installing “explo-safe” fuel tanks in new cars. These have been developed over the years in racing and rally cars.

    • It is an undisputed fact that motorways are the safest roads to drive on.
      In creasing the speed limit to eighty, is logical when a Robin Reliant, and yes, one has flashed past me, can comfortably cruise at seventy.

      Most road accidents occur on narrow roads, which explains why many local authorities are busily narrowing wide roads by sticking obstructions equally spaced along the centre lines, making overtaking impossible.

      It would seem to me that when they closed mental homes in favour of, ‘Care in the Community’, many former patients are now employed by local council highways departments and ROSPA.

    • It has long surprised me that whereas Airline pilots have operating limits related to visibility, Mr Average Motorist has none. No training is demanded before we can hammer along our roads at ridiculous speeds in any level of visibility.

      Why, if it is unsafe (as I believe it to be) to accelerate an airplane along a runway ….one which is:
      1. Straight.
      2. Well lit.
      3. Known to be free of other traffic.
      is it considered safe for someone with a driving licence to travel along the highways?

      NB: The pilot is always a professional person who has undergone training for this situation and is periodically refreshed and re tested in such operations… Whereas….

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