New Prime Minister, Liz Truss hints she could scrap motorway speed limits and pledges to ban smart motorways.
She said she is “prepared to look at” introducing a German-style system of smart motorways, where sections of many autobahns have no mandatory speed limits.
Graham Conway, Managing Director at Select Car Leasing, says he’d tentatively welcome an increase in motorway speed limits on certain sections of the highway – but has grave concerns about how it might be implemented.
He says: “While there’s an argument to say that some sections of the UK’s motorway network might justify a speed limit hike, a blanket 70mph lift has the potential to be absolutely catastrophic.
“There are many cars on the roads today that are not adept when travelling at increased speeds on motorways.
“You also have the issue that many motorists have actually deliberately slowed down on motorways in recent months in order to conserve fuel. You have to question whether motorists would want to increase their speed in the midst of a cost of living crisis.
“And then there’s the issue of tailgating.
“Despite the recent ‘Don’t be a Space Invader’ campaign launched by National Highways, tailgating remains an enormous problem in the UK. You can witness dangerous instances of tailgating almost every single time you get behind the wheel.
“The National Highways’ own stats suggest that tailgating is a factor in 1 in 8 crashes on the road network.
“And, in my view, lifting the motorway speed limit will only exacerbate endemic tailgating problems in the UK, particularly as you’ll have huge disparities in how fast vehicles are willing to travel.
“Cars that get too close to the car in front not only make the driver feel targeted and intimidated but they can also lead to severe collisions, as the tailgater won’t be able to react and stop in time if the car in front brakes suddenly.
“Any lifting of the motorway speed limit would need to be accompanied by a concerted national clampdown on tailgating offences, because, right now, the issue isn’t being addressed sufficiently.”
A recent Select Car Leasing survey showed that tailgating was the number one ‘fear’ among UK drivers when they get behind the wheel.
Almost a third of respondents (32%) to a national, independent survey said ‘drivers driving too close behind me’ was their biggest road-related fear.