Slow drivers who trundle along well below the speed limit when conditions are safe should be given the same punishment as speeders, according to a new survey.
The research, undertaken by rental firm Flexed, showed that slowcoaches are one of the biggest sources of frustration for motorists, and have been deemed more dangerous than speeding drivers.
Unpredictable and risky behaviour
By not keeping pace with the conditions around them, the study says, slower drivers put other cars at risk, and they’re also likely to be more unpredictable in the way they navigate.
Other studies have also confirmed that slow drivers pose an increased risk on the roads, simply because they’re more likely to tempt other road users into risky manoeuvres.
In particular, lorry and truck drivers are the most frustrated, as their vehicles are less able to overtake quickly and take longer to regain speed when they have to brake for a slower car.
Mark Hall, from Flexed, said: “We’re not saying slow drivers are doing anything illegal and they probably count themselves as some of the safest drivers on the road. However, the fact is they are often over-compensating to the point of driving without due care.
“This is not a witch hunt against slower drivers, but we are suggesting drivers need to be aware of the conditions and drive to them according to whether the weather and road is good or bad.”
Figures released by the Department for Transport have shown that nearly a third of drivers in the country have had a ‘near miss’ with a car that was travelling too slowly for the conditions.
The data also shows that, on average, 143 accidents every year are caused directly by slow drivers, leading to calls for the introduction of minimum speed limits or even ‘slow’ speed cameras.
A separate study from Confused.com supported the notion that drivers want slow motorists penalised, with 15 per cent of drivers saying slowcoaches should have ‘dedicated times’ to be on the road.
Even more extreme, an additional five per cent of the 2,000 respondents to Confused’s survey said that slow drivers should be made to put special stickers on their cars to warn other motorists.
‘Should be treated as seriously as speeding’
Gareth Kloet, head of car insurance at Confused.com, said: “Slow drivers need to be taken as seriously as motorists caught speeding. Findings confirm they are a constant source of anxiety and responsible for a large amount of accidents each year.
“The government introduced speed cameras and now even a super-speed camera, so should also consider the same rigour to combat slow driving.”
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