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 Post subject: Defining 'too fast'
PostPosted: Mon Nov 12, 2007 03:58 
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The following took place in another thread:

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weepej wrote:
SafeSpeed wrote:
weepej wrote:
Or foster an environment where driving too fast is socially unacceptable


We're unlikely to manage that until we start working with a good definition of 'too fast'.


The highway code has a good one: -

The speed limit is the absolute maximum and does not mean it is safe to drive at that speed irrespective of conditions. Driving at speeds too fast for the road and traffic conditions is dangerous. You should always reduce your speed when

the road layout or condition presents hazards, such as bends
sharing the road with pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders, particularly children, and motorcyclists
weather conditions make it safer to do so
driving at night as it is more difficult to see other road users


Actually that's a very average definition.

The Safe Speed rule is way above that little lot in the importance hierarchy. Don't tell me it's gone from the Highway Code? I'll have to check.


That HC definition is shameful, actually.

The speed limit is the absolute maximum...

It's the legal maximum, sure, but no one believes it in a practical sense and the HC has blown its street cred in the first 7 words.

...and does not mean it is safe to drive at that speed irrespective of conditions. Driving at speeds too fast for the road and traffic conditions is dangerous.

Good, good, but how do we know if we're 'driving too fast for the road and traffic conditions'?

You should always reduce your speed when...

... the road layout or condition presents hazards, such as bends


I know what they mean, but this is nonsense. I might well accelerate going from a sharper bend to a shallower bend.

... sharing the road with pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders, particularly children, and motorcyclists

Always? Really? To pass a lone and stable cyclist on a quiet rural dual carriageway? I'd just pull out into L2 and pass without lifting.

... weather conditions make it safer to do so

I think that makes proper sense. We have incorporated the conditions and safety. Good.

... driving at night as it is more difficult to see other road users

Better tell PC Mark Milton who recorded 159mph at night. So that's just completely absurd as well.

So as far as defining 'too fast' is concerned the HC is absolutely hopeless.

So how would we define 'too fast'?

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Nov 12, 2007 13:21 
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Are you looking for something objective or subjective?

Do you want to be able to quantify it?

I know myself when I'm driving at a speed that I'm comfortable at, but that isn't dictated by anything or anyone that's not privvy to the state of of the car, me or the conditions I'm driving in.

I personally think that measuring this would involve far too many variables including some that are almost impossible to guage, for instance vehicular modifications, viscosity of contaminants on road surfaces level or driver alertness etc.

Maybe for a start it might be an idea to list all possible cotributary factors and take it from there.

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 Post subject: Re: Defining 'too fast'
PostPosted: Mon Nov 12, 2007 21:20 
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SafeSpeed wrote:
The following took place in another thread:

SafeSpeed wrote:
weepej wrote:
SafeSpeed wrote:
weepej wrote:
Or foster an environment where driving too fast is socially unacceptable


We're unlikely to manage that until we start working with a good definition of 'too fast'.


it would be interesting to see how this develops, i think 99.9% of posters agree that the limits are set to low, but no one has ever clarified what speed is appropriate, we just have "drive to the conditions", someone recently commented that someone doing 54mph in a 30 was a nutter yet no doubt others would say this was safe,

i always looked at drivers / speed limits as the worst driver scenario, maybe if drivers were say granted an exemption of say 10 / 15 mph over the limit if they had attended an IAM and say had their mot twice a year, ideally with a no upgrade for newly qualified drivers say for 5 years, but straight away you would get some snotty chav backed by their rich daddy would shout hey thats against my civil liberties

TIC on a recent holiday we were charged a baggage excess on the return trip, yes we were a bit over so just paid up, got on the plane there were about 15 empty seats FFS

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Nov 12, 2007 22:43 
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I think most of us would recognise (significantly) 'too fast' in a flash.

But how do we make that judgement?

What rules can we apply to help us make that judgement?

Can we create an objective definition of 'too fast'?

I'm still marshalling my thoughts on these quite difficult questions.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2007 00:22 
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Unfortunately I don't think you can, there are just too many variables. Speed limits are used to be set based on some external factors. Visibility, typical traffic levels, road quality, what the area is used for (ie. rural road vs pedestrianised town centre) and so on. There are then other external factors to take into account that the speed limit does not, such as the current weather and the amount of diesel that Arriva have placed onto that particular corner.

Even if you can somehow calculate that and come up with a number, it's still useless as there are the external factors, such as the competence and attitude of the driver, the capabilities and limitations of the car, the familiarity of the driver with the capabilities and limitations of the car.

So, you could put every model of car out there into a capability category, or give it a speed limit correction factor, eg Jeremy Clarkson's "why aren't Aston's allowed to go twice as fast" (refering to their ability to stop in half the time the HC says you could ever possibly stop in), which would completely destroy the car modification industry and still fail to take into account dumb modifications that actually make the car perform worse, and even then you still have the variable of how good the driver is!

Short of testing every driver in their own car and giving them a speed limit correction factor based on the results, it isn't going to be possible.

So we're back at the old Safe Speed argument of needing quality traffic police who can make a good judgement as to whether any one particular individual's actions are dangerous.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2007 22:07 
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Lum wrote:

So we're back at the old Safe Speed argument of needing quality traffic police who can make a good judgement as to whether any one particular individual's actions are dangerous.


is there any evidence that traf pol have decreased, i work with a few now all deployed onto ANPR with response cars deployed from central stations

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2007 23:42 
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I'm not sure ANPR counts, it doesn't get dangerous driving does it, just the specific conditions of no MOT/tax/insurance or a stolen car, and only until the criminal changes the plates


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2007 10:20 
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Going too fast... is to exceed the speed at which you can accurately predict the likely consequences of your actions

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2007 11:23 
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Interesting question. Surely it is central to 'safe speed' (and Safe Speed) philosophy that "too fast" cannot be defined in numerical terms. GOB's description is not bad but perhaps needs elaboration.

This is a bit rambling but may spark some other ideas.

In a totally hazard free environment, no speed, however high, can be described as too fast. However, no environment is ever totally hazard free. The consequence of higher speed is that more space is required to enable drivers to deal appropriately with hazards as they emerge or develop. Therefore, "too fast" can be described as the failure to respond to a hazard (including a potential and/or developing hazard) by reducing speed to the extent necessary to create sufficient space to negotiate the hazard safely and without inconveniencing or alarming other road users.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2007 11:32 
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Now we're cooking... :)

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2007 12:10 
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Observer wrote:
"Too fast" is the failure to respond to a hazard (including a potential and/or developing hazard) by reducing speed to the extent necessary to create sufficient space to negotiate the hazard safely and without inconveniencing or alarming other road users.


:clap1:

I was going for the ‘snappy’ approach, but it doesn’t work. Being able to accurately predict I’m going to crash, is still going too fast.
I like yours more, but I could edit my effort to read...

Going too fast... is to exceed the speed at which you can accurately predict the consequences of your actions will be safe

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2007 12:48 
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Can 'too fast' also be defined from an external perspective?

If your speed actually or potentially endangers another road user from their perspective.

If your speed is such that another road user is likely to fail to correctly allow for it? In other words will your speed surprise another road user?

On another tack is speed determined by an acceptable probability of outcome?

If we were able to accurately determine figures for 'chance of an accident' for outcomes of e.g. scare, minor car damage, injury to other, injury to self, severe injury, death, etc. would you even get any agreement? The 'emotionals' would demand zero chance and completely fail to realise this is impossible I suspect.

Sorry to be so negative - please feel free to argue me out of this idea.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2007 12:59 
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Grumpy Old Biker wrote:
Going too fast... is to exceed the speed at which you can accurately predict the likely consequences of your actions

Don't forget other road users, they too need to be able to predict what others are doing.

edit: Toltec, I didn't see what you posted before I submitted. Great minds...... :)


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2007 13:06 
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smeggy wrote:
Grumpy Old Biker wrote:
Going too fast... is to exceed the speed at which you can accurately predict the likely consequences of your actions

Don't forget other road users, they too need to be able to predict what others are doing.


Of course. I see 'the consequences' apply to all road users directly or indirectly affected by our actions

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2007 20:18 
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Lum wrote:
I'm not sure ANPR counts, it doesn't get dangerous driving does it, just the specific conditions of no MOT/tax/insurance or a stolen car, and only until the criminal changes the plates


wait until fred shouts yabba dabba dooo and they dont stop

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2007 21:21 
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camera operator wrote:
Lum wrote:
I'm not sure ANPR counts, it doesn't get dangerous driving does it, just the specific conditions of no MOT/tax/insurance or a stolen car, and only until the criminal changes the plates


wait until fred shouts yabba dabba dooo and they dont stop


I'm not quite sure what you are getting at here, but I assume you are referring to the fact that it needs a real policeman to pull over the ciminal that ANPR has spotted.

I have no issue with this, my issue is that ANPR only detects a certain subset of offences and that any serious criminal will have rendered their car invisible to ANPR very soon after acquiring it. It is not a difficult process as all you have to do is sit by a busy road and wait until a car similar to yours goes past (it helps if you have something common like a silver VW Golf TDI), note down the number, order a set of plates, stick them on your car and *BAM* ANPR is defeated.

Meanwhile the guy on his way to an MOT test gets pulled over and has to prove that he is genuinely en route to an MOT.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2007 21:55 
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Lum wrote:
It is not a difficult process as all you have to do is sit by a busy road and wait until a car similar to yours goes past (it helps if you have something common like a silver VW Golf TDI), note down the number, order a set of plates, stick them on your car and *BAM* ANPR is defeated.


Oh no, this is taken care of by the fact that all legitimate plate-makers require suitable proof of ownership before they'll make your plates! :roll:

Its another case of the law-abiding being legislated for, with no thought to the utter inconsequentiality for those who are breaking the law!


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2007 22:00 
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RobinXe wrote:
Oh no, this is taken care of by the fact that all legitimate plate-makers require suitable proof of ownership before they'll make your plates! :roll:

Its another case of the law-abiding being legislated for, with no thought to the utter inconsequentiality for those who are breaking the law!


Give me 35 quid and a number and I'll get you some plates.

I wont even be spending the money with criminals either. Most of the "show plates" companies are now based in Eire and will make you a plate to British standards that says whatever you like. Even halfords will make you a "driveway sign" numberplate.

If Eire is too far away for you, then there is This company, and this one, and this one and these others. They just come with a warning saying that you aren't allowed to use them on the road.

I have used the first company. My car is a Japanese import so I need a funny shaped numberplate (which is actually perfectly legal) and all the "legitimate" suppliers aren't allowed to do them any more.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2007 00:03 
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Sorry, forgot to add the [sarcasm][/sarcasm] tags :P


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2007 00:19 
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Here's another track for the 'too fast' idea that I've been considering today...

You know you're driving too fast when you're living on your nerves.

You know you're driving too fast when you react to events rather than predict and control them.

You know you're driving too fast when you feel the stress of it.

You know you're driving too fast when you exceed optimal arousal. (See: http://www.safespeed.org.uk/arousal.html )

By some magic my subconscious knows extremely well if I'm not driving at the right speed. 10mph too slow and it's nagging me to overtake or otherwise get on with it. 10mph too fast and it's making me feel stress.

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