Monthly Musing – April 2023 – A bit fast

“… and as horrible as it sounds, every one of you sitting here is an offender …”

Everyone in the room shifted uncomfortably in their seats – including me.

I was at a Motorway Awareness course, the alternative option to getting points on your driving licence for someone who breaks the speed limit on a motorway.  In my defence, it wasn’t clear what the speed limit was, and I was slowing down to try to work it out (and 3 other people on the course were there for the same reason), but I was still going faster than I should have been at the time.  “I hope I’m not going to get caught speeding for this,” I said to not so small daughter, who was in the car with me … and a week later, I was reading the letter to say that I had indeed been caught speeding.

So, what to do?  Get cross?  Well, I was cross as I felt it was unfair.  Argue my case?  Little point as the letter had a photograph of the offending vehicle and I couldn’t deny that it was my car.  Be grateful that I’d been going slowly enough to be offered the course instead of the points?  Yes, I was that.

We always have a choice how to react in any given situation.  Sometimes, there’s no time to stop and think and we follow well-worn patterns that may or may not have worked so well for us in the past.  At other times, we have the chance to take a breath and weigh up the options before we decide.  I could remain cross with the situation, telling anybody who would listen how unfair it was, how it wasn’t my fault, that there was nothing wrong with my driving – or I could agree that I’d been in a situation where I was going too fast when it wasn’t clear what the speed limit was and use the course as an opportunity to find out what to do in that situation (in case you’re interested, if there’s an apparent choice of two speed limits, always go for the lower one).  Looking around at the other course participants, it was quite easy to work out which of the viewpoints everybody had taken!

It’s been a long time since I took my driving test, and the Highway Code has been updated several times since then.  I’m sure there aren’t many of us who learnt to drive a few decades ago who would want to re-take our tests now – and so as much as we don’t want to go on these courses either, they are an opportunity to bring ourselves up to speed with the newer regulations.  Armed with a list of questions, I was ready for an afternoon of learning – and they gave us a brew too, so it wasn’t all bad! 🙂

Am I reformed road traffic offender?  Actually, I am.  I found the whole course really interesting; I know how smart motorways work now and I know that you really don’t get there any faster by breaking the speed limit (and how that affects stopping distances too – scary!).  I know the answers to my questions, and I know that as nice as everybody was, I don’t want to spend an afternoon at an awareness course again.  Whatever my “need for speed” in the future, I’ll make sure that it’s well within the limits!


The sun is shining through a tree onto a garden filled with greenery. The Winwick Mum logo is in the bottom right hand corner.



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2 Responses

  1. Kay Foster says:

    Thank you for this. I’m sure it wasn’t the easiest thing to talk about publicly. Driving on our overcrowded motorways is no joke these days and the smart motorways have made everything so much more complicated I’m not surprised even good and experienced drivers get confused and caught out. Thank heaven no more are to be built and the existing ones will hopefully be made safer with more refuge points. We live a few junctions south of you on the M6 with smart motorway north and south and it puts us off going anywhere.

    • winwickmum says:

      They talked a lot about the smart motorways during the day and the theory behind them is actually very good. I think part of the problem is that people don’t take any notice of what the signs say so they speed up and brake in between speed cameras which just causes a queue further behind them (it works in a wave motion) but until someone specifically told me that (as they did on Wednesday), I don’t think I had really thought about it. The few and far between refuges are not great, I definitely agree with that! xx

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