Drivers want motorway speed limits to be cut in wet weather, according to new poll | Advice - Car News Aug 2021

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16:22 Friday 20 Aug 2021

Drivers think motorway speed limits should be lowered to boost road safety in wet weather, according to new research from the RAC.

Some 72 per cent of drivers say they would like to see the standard 70mph speed limit on motorways reduced in wet weather to improve road safety and encourage better driving habits.

More than 2000 drivers were surveyed by the RAC and a third (33 per cent) said the limit should be reduced to 60mph in the wet, while seven per cent think it should be cut to 65mph. Seventeen per cent of drivers would like an even lower limit of 55mph or even 50mph, while 14 per cent would like to see the limit cut but aren’t sure by how much.

France is currently the only European country to reduce speed limits during inclement weather, with the 130km/h (80mph) limit reduced to 110km/h (68mph).

Of the reasons given by drivers who advocate lower motorway speed limits in the wet, 78 per cent said they felt lower limits would encourage some drivers to slow down, while 72 per cent believed it might save lives, so is worth trying. Two-thirds (65 per cent) said slower speeds might improve visibility with less spray from moving vehicles, and half (53 per cent) felt it would reduce overall vehicle speeds, even if some people ignored the lower limit.

Over 800 people were killed or seriously injured on motorways in Great Britain in 2019, with around 30 per cent of these casualties (246) occurring when the road surface was damp, wet or flooded – a figure higher than four years earlier (208). Official figures also show that wet roads and drivers travelling too fast for the conditions were respectively the cause of some 259 and 242 motorway collisions in 2018.

Highway Code Rule 227 states that stopping distances in wet weather are at least double those required for stopping on dry roads. This means the typical stopping distance at 70mph in dry conditions of 96 metres (315 feet) is extended to at least 192 metres (630 feet) in the wet, the equivalent of 48 car lengths.

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