Speed and safety

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Sir,
I am drawn to reply to ‘Speed and Safety’ in Matters of Moment, March ’87 edition of Motor Sport.

Firstly l am in full sympathy with your views with regard to our national Speed Limits and I remember signing your petition to Downing Street before the permanent restriction. Sadly your comments on my writing in Motor do nothing to convince those at the Department of Transport that we have a case to abolish overall limits. It is nonsense to suggest that it is ‘hysteria associated with speed’ to check fluids, fan belts and pressures before driving and I strongly advise all to do so every day and not to rely upon the garage to do these simple checks.

My advice is to all drivers, not just to the most experienced, and blood sugar levels can drop considerably during long periods at the wheel; we all have a different ‘fatigue rate’. Personally I have driven for long periods at very high speed in both racing and rallying and when the adrenalin level is high, there is no problem, until you stop!

On the highway, accidents have occurred to bored drivers restricted to an unrealistic speed limit on a deserted clear motorway — In my view they need to be advised to stop every two hours, before they feel the necessity, where an experienced driver can sense when to stop to overcome enforced boredom.

I think you will agree a bored driver is a potential menace, particularly with an irresponsible attitude towards road safety. I make no apology for criticising a steering fault with a driver’s attitude clearly evident— I saw one the other day reading a book with the hand holding the wheel, while the other arm was across the passenger seat!

I am sure you will agree that it is far better to educate, rather than restrict speed unnecessarily. How are people to learn the proper use of speed if the mandatory limits are irrelevant to an intelligently applied sense of speed; some too fast, others too slow.

I most certainly am not hysterical with regard to speed, quite the contrary, I believe speed is perfectly safe in any performance car designed for it, in the proper place and the right time. Any driver using speed requires skill, self-discipline and a highly developed sense of responsibility towards others— a message that was sadly missing in your article about ‘Speed and Safety’.

John Lyon MD, High Performance Course Ltd.

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