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Drivers at fault

I would like to join J Grimwood and Terry Hudson in their opposition to Clive Wilkins-Oppler’s letter about Kent Highways and the state of Calcott Hill, Canterbury.

The term “accident black spot” has been around for years and this road has had its share of crashes. But the problem is not the road but the way motorists drive. You cannot blame speed alone. There are places where the legal speed limit of 60mph can be attained safely. But that speed in the wrong hands can prove fatal. The incidents along this road should not be referred to as “accidents”, they are avoidable crashes.

Terry Hudson refers to the driving test not preparing people for the real world and as a driving instructor and ex-traffic police officer I have to agree to a certain extent. The majority of driving lessons and the test itself are conducted in towns, and some dual carriageways. There is not enough emphasis on fast rural roads and the skills involved in overtaking safely. I believe safe overtaking is almost a lost art.

If the Government was brave enough to make post-test schemes like Pass Plus compulsory, all new drivers would have the opportunity to hone the extra skills needed to deal with these types of roads safely.

In the past there have been hysterical calls for Thornden Wood Road to be closed because it is ‘dangerous’. The road is not dangerous, it is narrow, has a few tight bends, and these bends have claimed a few cars in the past simply because the drivers behind the wheel failed to realise they should perhaps slow down a bit.

Making the speed limit lower over the whole road simply because of a bend or a hill is not the answer. People need to drive within their own limits and unfortunately young drivers particularly often have an inflated idea of their own abilities. Reducing the speed limit on the Herne Common Road from 60 to 50mph is not the answer. A crash at 50mph is going to be as devastating as one at 60mph.

People need to brush up on their skills and not be embarrassed to seek further training such as offered by the Institute of Advanced Motorists the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) or, in fact, any registered driving instructor.

Neil Bailey
Herne Bay Times, 9th Dec 2010

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