It was a few moments of inattention somewhere on the A1 in Lincolnshire that led me to be in a meeting room in a Marriott hotel beside the A10 in Hertfordshire on a wet Monday afternoon with a group of strangers.  We were all ‘moderate’ law breakers, caught doing above the prescribed speed limit; at high enough a speed to have registered on the roadside enforcement equipment, but not high enough to warrant immediate prosecution, and with, at least in my case, no major history of repeat offending.

Given our moderate levels of disobedience of speed limits, instead of prosecution, we were offered the opportunity to go to The National Speed Awareness Course.

Before going, I was more irritated at my own stupidity for having been caught, as I’ve always been rather smug about my clean driving licence than worried about what the afternoon would entail. But as I was driving there, I did begin to wonder what element of punishment was about to be meted out to me.  I should have been reassured by the choice of location- a reasonably well appointed hotel, rather than a grey municipal building.

The psychology is interesting.  Take people who have probably been driving for ages and who have been caught doing something they shouldn’t have,  treat them reasonably well, present them with some thought provoking statistics about speed, stopping distances death and injury, remind them of the details they’ve forgotten from the Highway Code, ask them a few questions, given them a mnemonic and let them go, hoping that some of them will obey the speed limit and drive with more concentration as they leave.

I learnt a few things I’m not sure I’ve ever known about, in the absence of any signs,how  to work out what the speed limit is on any given road; and that the best strategy when being aggressively tailgated is to create a longer space in front of your own vehicle if you can’t get out of the way.  So that’s one I’ll be trying the next time a white van tries to intimidate me ……. and I’ll be diligently obeying the speed limit.

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  1. A most sophisticated level of civilised society, I’m staggered. Never heard of anything like this here!
    Was interested in your comment, ” with, at least in my case, no major history of repeat offending.” That implies minor – so, spill the beans.


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