SpeedChoice – not such a bad choice after all

Bub is a very careful driver

I was caught speeding a couple of months back in a 30mph zone. Wasn’t really concentrating and was rushing, usual story. To be honest I’ve become a bit cavalier in my driving, certainly not as careful as I was in the early days.

I was fortunate enough to be offered the opportunity to attend a Speed Choice speed awareness course, rather than get points on my license. So of course I said yes (who wouldn’t??) The course took place yesterday and was a really interesting experience. I’d not exactly been looking forward to it – after all who wants to spend three hours with other ‘offenders’ being lectured on your poor driving? However in reality it wasn’t anything like as bad as I’d expected.

Those leading the course were good speakers and the course content was thankfully not patronising or condescending. The people attending were from all walks of life and were a real mixed bunch, which again made it quite interesting. I’d thought that it might contain lots of horrific information on the impact of crashes, but actually they were very sensitive about this and weren’t out to shame or guilt trip us (well, not too much!) There were some really interesting facts I picked up which did make me pause for thought. For instance knowing that going just a few mph quicker makes a disproportionately big impact on the outcome of any collision. Or that British drivers have a one in 200 chance of being killed in a road crash. However it was mainly the opportunity to consider my driving, and to reflect on how much slacker I’ve become, that I found invaluable. I’m definitely going to try to amend my bad habits, not just on speeding but on other aspects of driving and concentration. To my shame when I was caught speeding I had Bub in the back of the car and the thought of anything happening, especially to him, is just awful. And for it to happen because of any negligence on my part would be even worse.

I’ve previously been pretty sceptical of this kind of thing and thought they were meaningless. The same goes for the driving Theory Test which I had to take when learning to drive. However I was pretty shocked today when we discussed speed limits. Very basic information about the national speed limit and what it is in a built up area, single carriageway, dual carriageway and motorway. I learned this information for my driving test and use it daily when I drive. But at least 50% of the people on the course didn’t know. They didn’t know basic speed limit information!!?! Now that is shocking to me. Now these are people who had been caught speeding in a 30mph zone so perhaps a slightly skewed sample. But this still implies that there must be thousands of drivers out there unaware of the basics. The absolute basics! So now I’m totally converted to the Theory Test (which I suspect the majority on the course hadn’t had to take) and to these awareness courses too. Clearly there are many out there who need a reminder of this information and many too like me who need to be reminded to use it!

If you have stumbled upon this page because you have been asked to come to one of these sessions I hope this has reassured you that it’s nothing to worry about. It’s pretty interesting actually. And it might perhaps be a lifesaver. And if you’ve been on one and want to share your thoughts in the comments, please do!


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2 Responses to “SpeedChoice – not such a bad choice after all”

  1. Memories Dad Says:

    Great post. I recently attended one of these courses and learnt a huge amount. The lady who ran it told an awful story of her husband who knocked over and killed a young boy. The boy ran out and the driver stood no chance of stopping. But the sobering thought was that HAD he been speeding (he wasn’t) it WOULD have been at least partly his fault. I’ve been careful ever since!

    • jenmum Says:

      Thanks for the comment. It’s a horrible thought and I know I’d feel dreadful if anything happened, my fault or not, and I had been speeding or not paying attention. Certainly gave me pause for thought.

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