Education, not legislation the key to road safety – along with good servicing

EDITOR – My sympathy goes to the family and relatives of the recent accident victim at Willingham Woods.

When a road traffic accident results in a death it’s easy to roll out ‘quick fixes’ such as “reduce the speed limit along this section to 40mph”.

I will state now it is perfectly safe to use the A631 in a modern, well-maintained motor car at 60mph when road and traffic conditions allow.

To introduce a blanket ‘one size fits all’ solution of 40mph as suggested by the letter in your column doesn’t address the cause of such a tragedy.

It would, in my view, lead to more people becoming frustrated and stressed on this section of road.

In some cases this would increase the hazard by individuals performing ‘ambitious overtaking’ manoeuvres to pass a snake of five-10 vehicles, either leading to catastrophic head-on accidents or causing accidents from suddenly swerving and pushing back onto the correct side of the carriageway.

People do accept the need for reduced speed limits where there are villages, built-up areas or very narrow roads.

When we get behind the wheel of a motor car or use a bike we all accept a degree of risk.

We mitigate that risk with our behaviour on the road and the condition we keep our vehicle in.

Road traffic laws, speed limits and enforcement are there to encourage correct behaviour.

Even though cars are many times safer than our parents drove, if you drive into a tree at Willingham Woods at 40mph because your steering breaks or you’ve no tread on your budget tyre you are still likely to die or be severely injured.

If you want to end all road deaths then ban cars or re-introduce the ‘man with the red flag’.

It’s a chilling thought, but if we are to use cars we accept there will be some accidents and some of these will be fatal.

Inappropriate speed, poor road surfaces, poor driving skills and increasingly poorly-maintained vehicles are the leading factors in accidents.

A carte blanche of dropping of the speed limit to 40mph as the letter suggests will lead the frustrated driver to attempt to overtake to make up time further down the road.

Re-education of the motorist is needed. We remember the snow in 2010 and many wondered why so many people couldn’t drive in some of the conditions.

To be fair, a lot of drivers under 30 had probably never experienced that amount of snow in their driving career.

Perhaps it’s time to bring back the public information films on the correct driving style for conditions and, equally, the importance of maintaining your tyres, brakes, steering and suspension etc.

Fatal accidents in Lincolnshire have more than halved since 1999 and it’s not because we all drive nowadays at 40mph throughout the county.

It’s a complex problem, but we motorists can do our bit by keeping our vehicles well maintained and driving to the conditions.

Andy Sullivan

Youngs Garage