As a lot of my driving posts are rambling accounts of this and that it occurred to me to read them. Now I know that regular bloggers and people like journalists and such know the value of the post writing edit but I’m not a journo nor am I a serial blogger so this technique of writing is not ingrown or natural. Hence this new blog which includes a lot of already written pieces patched together.
So speed then hmmmmm……
Well I know that when you start to drive you “feel the need for speed” which is why a lot of young people are now being targeted by insurance companies to have a “black box” to determine if they drive outside of a set of parameters. These being set by whom? Some individual who has years and millions of miles of experience? No probably not. It is more likely that they will be set by some “speed kills” adherent or possibly even a committee of “experts”! As anyone who has ever set off to sea knows you can’t drive or sail or fly by committee. One person has to be in charge and that is the person at the controls.
Now I don’t want anyone thinking that I know better than them but I do so there. No honestly you need to find your limits and those of the vehicle you are driving and there is only one way to achieve this feat and that is by actually doing it. No other option is available, you must know how you react and think and you must know how each movement you make reflects in the vehicles response.
So by trying to go faster you can find the limits of both yourself and your car/van/lorry/motorbike or bicycle. That is not to say just get in or on and go blast the countryside away. How silly would I be to propose that?
But think on this; if you take a vehicle and go round and round a race track enough times you can keep going faster and faster until you or the car cannot manage to stay in control. Then you can go back and change a few things like line into corner, braking point, turn in point or ultimate speed until you achieve balance and the fastest lap time. Now change the vehicle and you have to start all over again with one massive but. You already have learnt or taught yourself how not to over-react which means a part of the re-launch does not need to be re-learnt.
This is how experience (that word again) is built and for any new driver the need for speed has to be tempered by the need to know what speed means and you only get that if you constantly test yourself. I still do this even though I long ago stopped needing to go the fastest because on roads the fastest is not necessarily the quickest. To explain, if you try and go 50mph in a 30 mph limit you will be forever slowing down behind drivers doing 30 and if you test this out for yourself over a given journey you can soon see all you are really doing is using fuel to gain mere seconds.
I used to drive from Margate to Bracknell every fortnight. Starting at around 5:30 am I would easily hit 95mph from the start of the A299 dual carriageway right through to the M2 at Faversham. Trying to keep up to that speed or close to it when you are on a two lane Mway means you keep coming up on HGV’s overtaking at 58mph, the resultant slowing and speeding up again uses more fuel than doing 70mph because you catch up with less slow moving folks and you lose less speed anyway and don’t accelerate for as long. So on to the A 249 to head south and pick up the M20 now on three lanes again but having now the extra traffic heading towards London at around 6:30 then you get onto the M26 and back to two lanes again and more slow moving trucks as they are now beginning their daily routines so I guess an average speed for that 6 mile or so would be around 65 mph and this is where you can check out the time gain. I’ll come back to that but to continue the journey, join the M25 at J5 and now for the fun time. This is where you really learn about motorway driving. If the motorway is moving you will find lots of people trying to go the fastest they can in the outside lane but on the M25 it probably isn’t as the weight of traffic keeps it slowing down and speeding up so you will probably get better average speed in the middle lane and from there you can drive in the correct lane when not overtaking i.e. the nearside lane. To be honest as you are going faster than the 3rd or now even the 4th lane you are technically undertaking, a manoeuvre absolutely decried by police chiefs who haven’t learnt a thing since they left the advanced driving course they went on when they joined the police. But it isn’t your job to police the roads and you cannot be held responsible for all the idiots who are hogging the outside lanes and going slower than you and let’s be fair here, it has only got worse since the introduction of 4th lanes. Now we have the police with the ability to pull over drivers in the wrong lane and giving them a spot fine, only marginally different than pulling them over and suggesting they take driving lessons with the added bonus of inflating treasury funds, we might see this changing but I seriously doubt it until driving is not allowed on motorways until you have passed an additional test