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Archive for the ‘Careless Driving’ Category

How Middle Lane Hoggers Ruin The System of the Motorway

 

We’re surrounded by systems.  Our every day life relies on them.

 

These systems only work if everyone acknowledges them and follows them.  And we don’t respond well when someone breaks the rules and creates their own system.  Take queues for example – it takes a very brave man to jump a queue in England.  It’s a serious crime in most people’s eyes.

 

Motorway driving is similar.

 

It takes a ridiculously dangerous idea – thousands of cars travelling at high speed, usually while drivers simultaneously listen to music, talk on their phones, chat with passengers, eat, drink, or smoke – and creates a system that allows this to happen in relative safety.

 

It only works when people follow the rules.

 

Drive the right way.  Most – but not all – people manage this.

 

Limit distractions.

 

And stick to the speed limit.

 

This is the one people struggle with the most.  I see them all the time and I know you do too.  But there’s a reason the motorway speed limit is 70mph.  (It was trialled in 1965 and, as it reduced casualties by 20%, was made permanent.)  The speed limit itself actually isn’t important for this particular argument; the requirement is just that drivers stick to the speed limit.

 

Whether drivers are going excessively fast or slow, there are consequences for other drivers.  If you are driving at 100mph or faster, there will come a point where all motorway lanes are taken by vehicles driving slower than you.  Your skill as a driver and the level of attention you are paying to the road, together with road conditions and visibility will all affect how well you are able to brake before reaching the slower-moving vehicles.  If you don’t quite brake enough in time, you become the driver who is driving aggressively close to the car in front, forcing another driver to make a decision they shouldn’t have to.  Do they speed up and then get back into the 3rd lane (assuming there are 4), or ignore you?  If they’re having a bad day, or like a bit of drama, they might ignore you… they might even slow down just to annoy you even more.  Now, you have a road rage situation.

 

Or, maybe the driver is nervous, more easily intimidated, and they just want to get out of your way.  So they speed up, maybe going to a speed they are unconfident and unused to driving at, while you press along behind them, no doubt accelerating again now you can see that they are speeding up.

 

And then there are the slow ones.  The drivers who, despite not daring to go above 50mph, somehow find their way into the 2nd or 3rd lanes, causing mayhem for the vehicles around them.    These middle lane hoggers not only irritate the people stuck behind them, they create a risk of collision.  As you drive along the motorway at 70mph, you expect the other vehicles to do the same.  A slow-moving vehicle becomes close quickly as you approach it faster than you expected, again causing you to rely on your skills and concentration, and traffic levels, to allow you to either brake or move out into the next lane.

 

These drivers are typically under confident, and middle lane hoggers stay out there when they should arguably be in the 1st lane with HGVs and caravans precisely because they don’t like to have to keep overtaking these other vehicles and then pulling back in.  The second lane is safe, they think – the HGVs can stay in the 1st lane, they don’t have to move over to let cars weave in at junctions, and if anyone is being held up by their speed they can just hop into the 3rd lane.  It’s a flawed theory anyway, but add to that the frequent overtaking that HGVs and caravans do, and these huggers often end out in the 3rd lane driving at 50mph.  It’s a complete pain on a 4 lane motorway, but on a 3 lane motorway the cars following the speed limit are effectively boxed in behind a trio of sloths.  Cue anger, annoyance, aggressive driving, road rage, and increased risk.

 

This is why the system is there; it only works if it’s followed.

 

 

Worker Blames Tiredness For Careless Driving

A nightshift worker was followed by police officers for several miles when spotted driving erratically through Frome.

 

Officers stopped Steven John Watts after following him for several miles as he drove through Frome on March 31st.

 

Officers intended to do a breath test but after pulling the vehicle over, they could not smell any sign of alcohol at all on the defendant, who claimed he wasn’t drunk, just very tired and on his way to work.

 

They were told he had been kept awake by neighbors, who had builders working next door, which he also claimed was the cause of his tiredness.

 

Watts pleaded guilty to driving a MG ZR on the A361 at Frome well below the speed limit without due care or attention at Midnight.

 

He was told by magistrates that he should not have been driving at all when faced with his level of tiredness before fining him £65, endorsing his license with a total of three penalty points and ordering him to pay £35 costs along with a £20 victim surcharge.

 

The police officers spotted the yellow MG whilst patrolling the A361 Marsden Road, said Prosecutor Emma Chetland.

 

“They followed it and the vehicle drifted into the middle of the road on several occasions and turned off a roundabout towards the village of Tytherington,” she said.

 

“This was done without indication and it them moved across the central white line and continued to drift across the road and on one occasion it was on the wrong side of the road.

 

She also added, “It was driving at erratic speeds, suddenly accelerating and then slowing down and after one mile it approached a T junction and didn’t stop but turned right without looking.”

 

The court was told by Watts that he tried to get some sleep before his next shift after returning home from a night shift the previous day delivering newspapers.

 

Our Dangerous Driving Solicitor says that tiredness is not a defence to dangerous driving and may be an aggravating factor. The courts may consider that you started driving knowing that you were tool tired.  Having said that the court dealt with him very leniently imposing the minimum of 3 penalty points.

Lorry Driver Accused Of Causing Death Due To Careless Driving

A lorry driver denied causing death by careless driving when he accidentally ran over a drunk Polish bank clerk.

The 50 year old lorry driver, Peter Wallace, failed to see Rafal Kuzniar, as he stumbled across Victoria Embankment in central London on April 12th, last year.

Even though Mr Wallace’s passenger at the time, Grant Pike, tried to raise the alarm after spotting Mr Kuzniar, the collision happened quickly and the former bank clerk was thrown meters forward and he couldn’t be saved.

During court, prosecutors insisted Mr Wallace was not paying sufficient attention to his surroundings or what was going on ahead of him.

A jury of eight men and four women deliberated non-stop for a matter of three hours and fifteen minutes before finding the defendant not guilty of causing death by careless driving.

As the defendant was driving a 7.5 tonne flatbed scaffolder’s truck, it could of well been seen as unfair as Mr Wallace’s chances of stopping the heavy vehicle were very low, so it wouldn’t of mattered greatly if he did try to brake or not.

The death of Mr Kuzniar was described by Judge Nicholas Lorraine-Smith as ”very sad” as people knew very little about him.

We have a team of dedicated staff able to advise you if you are facing an allegation of Causing Death by Dangerous Driving. Call us on  01623 600645.

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