Since IAM RoadSmart moved from Chiswick to Welwyn Garden City, my return commute by car has gone from 60 miles … to 60 miles!
Yes exactly the same distance. But now travelling from my house in leafy Buckinghamshire to our new place of work takes me 50% less time. Driving to and from Chiswick would take often three hours a day, to Welwyn Garden City just one hour 45 minutes in total. That shows the effect of driving away from London in the morning and towards it in the evening – counter flow commuting has proved a big bonus for me.
However something that hasn’t changed is seeing such bad driving behaviour and poor vehicle maintenance on the roads. The numbers of those killed on UK roads have remained relatively static in recent years, hovering around 1,700 per year (1,732 in the year ending September 2015).
Experts wonder how to bring that figure down significantly, but when you see how experienced, and dare I say, arrogant drivers are acting – I’m not surprised these numbers aren’t falling.
With many commutes currently taking place in pitch darkness and bad weather, isn’t it obvious that people should get their broken headlights and tail lights fixed? That they indicate when changing lanes? That they put full headlights and tail lights on, not just day-running lights?
And I don’t understand how tailgating at motorway speeds can possibly benefit anyone. The driver in front will often just dig his heels in and refuse to move, while the driver behind gets angrier and plays a deadly game of chicken. For no better reason than to get to his destination two minutes earlier? Risking a serious accident by acting this way is hardly worth it.
This is before we even get onto the subject of talking and texting on smartphones. I’m just highlighting poor and basic driving behaviour by drivers often in their 30s, 40s and beyond.
It’s all very easy for drivers of this age (of which I am one) to lay all the blame on teenagers and the elderly. But it’s those ‘in the middle’ that need to take a long hard look at themselves, and admit they need to act in a far better way at the wheel if we are to bring down that figure of 1,732 people killed on the roads.
Don’t think it’s someone else’s problem. It’s everyone’s problem and everyone’s responsibility.
Rodney Kumar, IAM RoadSmart senior communications executive