VR video explains speed limits are not targets

09.25 | 22 February | | 16 comments


Young drivers in Scotland are being encouraged to watch a new virtual reality video, designed to highlight the importance of driving at an ‘appropriate speed’.

The video, produced by FirstCar on behalf of Safety Cameras Scotland, has been filmed in 360° degrees to offer an immersive experience that ‘sets it apart’ from other road safety educational videos.

With a target audience of drivers aged 17-25 years, #SpeedCheck360 is being shared via social media – primarily YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.

The film opens with the presenter citing the Highway Code Rule 125 which states that drivers must drive at an appropriate speed.

The presenter then moves into the driver’s seat with the viewer effectively sat in the passenger seat.

The vehicle sets off on a journey along a variety of different roads with the driver explaining what the legal speed limit is for each road type, and then going on to suggest a considerably lower appropriate speed. He also explains how to calculate a safe stopping distance.

Safety Cameras Scotland says the key message is that the speed limit is not a target – it is the maximum speed drivers can travel at.


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    I will go with that, Bob. Interestingly, I put a comment in to draw out the unbelievers on those basic principles, but Nick obviously decided not to publish it, possibly for fear of being too confrontational. I have also, as a Training Officer for two RoADAR (as it was then) groups, had a lot of experience with ADIs, many of which just seem to want the advanced ticket to enhance their kudos. Also many in the mainstream are really not in the frame and believe that better driving skills are superfluous to reality. And this comes from professional driving instructors.


    Nigel ALBRIGHT
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    0

    Nigel I also have stories. I was talking to a retired ADI some time ago about safe stopping distances around town and he remarked that it’s easy to remember. The rule of being able to stop in the distance seen to be clear is simple. In town if the vehicle in front slows or stops and you can do the same then that is a safe distance. He taught thousands of students how to drive over decades.

    I didn’t argue with that conclusion but I am just glad that he is now retired. What if it’s endemic within the system that that is the safe distance and taught…. then we have some work on our hands in changing drivers understanding of safe space.


    Bob Craven, Lancs
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    +2

    It seems as though we have an unbeliever in our midst.


    Nigel ALBRIGHT
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    +1

    Very pertinent comment, David, but of course it is the general principle of not reversing from a minor situation into a major one. But it seems the DVLA with their uprated (sic!) driving test do not understand this principle by requiring ADIs to teach reversing out from parking spaces. With all the obstruction to view in modern vehicles, let alone in cold weather with all the windows iced up that has to be one big no-no. Apparently, if on test a candidate refused to do this manoeuvre on the basis of safety they would fail. And this coming from an organisation which banners, ‘Safe Driving for Life’. Excuse my cynical hat but, if the government department for driving standards can’t get it right what hope is there for the rest of the driver training fraternity?


    Nigel ALBRIGHT
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    0

    Spot on, Bob, but it is actually a little more than that. Police driving schools certainly used to recommend 3-4 seconds in a following distance, bearing in mind that the HC recommendation is 2 secs, minimum. I remember talking about this with a former Devizes instructor and he used to say to his pupils, ‘Whatever the circumstances can you pull the vehicle up undramatically’. And the key word is obviously, ‘undramatically’. Considering most travel at less than two seconds it’s not rocket science to say that most travel like the next crash waiting to happen. And that’s just in the following distance let alone general threat perception. But considering that around 30% of crashes are front to rear end shunts, then HC126 2 seconds MINIMUM would be a good starter.


    Nigel ALBRIGHT
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    0

    If there are organisations out there wanting to spend money on making a video, how about one which shows how hazardous it is to reverse out of driveways?


    David Weston, Corby
    Agree (3) | Disagree (1)
    +2

    I know that Nigel and Hugh are both talking about safe space ie stopping distances, the 2 second rule and the rule to always be able to stop in the distance seen to be clear in front (and on one’s own side of the road) but even in this video they have got it wrong. Again. It quite surprises me that so many training bodies fail to get it right.


    Bob Craven, Lancs
    Agree (3) | Disagree (1)
    +2

    Thanks, Hugh, noted. I was going by what was said in the comment. I don’t really have the time at this moment to trawl through videos. Good that they made the point. ‘When will the RS community in general start to understand what really does contribute to safety on the roads? When they get the handle on that one it will make a massive difference, will it not?


    Nigel ALBRIGHT
    Agree (3) | Disagree (1)
    +2

    The haven’t ignored it Nigel, it’s there from 3:00 to 3:30 and then again at 3:45. Safe stopping distance does not just refer to the distance from the vehicle in front – it is, as you say, also about what may suddenly appear within your stopping distance and for which, the smart driver trains him or herself to anticipate and expect the unexpected.


    Hugh Jones
    Agree (3) | Disagree (2)
    +1

    At last we may be seeing some sense in understanding about speed, but it needs rolling out on a wider format. This means that HMG (and particularly the DVLA) and the RS industry needs make it a key principle in their strategies. And it should be that ADIs strongly promote the concept. In relation to David Weston’s comments then even importantly ADIs need to get this idea firmly into their pupils and then you would not be in the situation where, post-test, they can’t be bothered to view the video. Whilst the video may pivot on HS125 it misses out on the next equally important part, HS126, about being able to stop in the distance you can see to be clear; the two are inter-related. So it is surprising they have focused on one, but not the other.

    Duncan’s argument may be intellectually interesting but it overlooks one important word, ‘if’; probably the biggest word in the English language. It’s the ‘what if’ that most people ignore and that’s how they get into trouble because they don’t see or antisipate the next horror coming, as per his comment, ‘because we can never be certain what is going to happen next’. It is always immensely sad when crashes happen and people get killed or seriously injured but, the greater sadness is that there are so may more out there waiting to happen. Most drivers seem to have a somewhat casual approach to their driving. As somebody once said, ‘casualness brings casualties’. Bring on the ‘if’.


    Nigel ALBRIGHT, Taunton
    Agree (3) | Disagree (2)
    +1

    Hugh, thanks for the “reminder”, but it doesn’t justify the existence of pointless “default” speed limits. As we all have to judge appropriate speed for every moment of every journey these speed limits add nothing to road safety and may even detract from it. I know of drivers who feel obliged to go faster than they feel comfortable with because they feel the limits create a level of expectation for the drivers behind them.


    Charles, England
    Agree (6) | Disagree (9)
    --3

    It is possible to always drive at an ‘appropriate’ speed, but only if the driver concerned can predict with 100% certainty what is going to happen next. Sadly though there isn’t a human being on the face of the planet that actually has that capability so we must assume that everybody’s speed of travel will always be ‘inappropriate’ should something unforseen happen.

    What does happen is that we humans are constantly making a trade-off between what is possibly going to happen next and what is probably going to happen next (the probability/possibility trade-off or PROPOSTO). If on a very rare occasion we happen to get this trade-off wrong and what we thought was going to be highly improbable turned out to be horrifyingly possible, then others will judge us (with all the benefits of 20/20 hindsight) as having travelled at an inappropriate speed.

    To be on the safe side then we must assume that all speeds (apart from zero mph) are inappropriate simply because we can never be certain what is going to happen next.


    Duncan MacKillop, Quinton
    Agree (11) | Disagree (3)
    +8

    Just a reminder to Charles and others, that the vast majority of our speed limits are applied by default, depending on the road type and character, as logistically, it would be impossible to do otherwise. That means all single c/way roads (whether country lanes or ‘A’ roads) are inevitably National Speed Limit (60); all dual c/ways and motorways are 70 and all urban street lit roads are 30, unless signs say otherwise (following a Local Speed Limit order made by LAs in certain circumstances). The authorities’ message is the same however: it is undesirable and appropriate that speeds do not exceed x mph on those particular roads, but too many people do not understand that concept, hence the need for videos like this to remind drivers that limits are not an instruction, nor a target, nor a safe speed nor an optimum speed. One thing is certain however, once over the particular limit, safety margins decrease rapidly, but that’s not to say that safety margins don’t have to be maintained when under the speed limit i.e. always maintaining appropriate speed (a reasonable balance between progress and safety margins i.e being able to stop comfortably). The appropriate speed typically corresponds to the average speed (plus or minus 10% roughly) and perhaps in an ideal world, all speed limits would reflect that for the benefit of those who can’t work it out for themselves, but as I say, logistically that is impossible.


    Hugh Jones
    Agree (10) | Disagree (5)
    +5

    Hugh,

    If I were a normal twenty five year old (of which I am albeit not “normal”), I wouldn’t want to watch this video. Nor would I watch a longer, yet more informative version of this video. I would have more important things to think about, like uhm, playing a computer game or tending to a kid or something.

    But notwithstanding of my opinions on velocity and the “speed limits are not targets” phrase, I agree it’s a good premise to build something from.

    Videos like these bring up an interesting dilemma – do you create them with a plot where nothing happens, no one walks out in front of you and you get to keep the nose of your vehicle undamaged (and as such, leave the viewer with the “nothing will ever happen to me ahah!!” mentality, or do you introduce in a sneaky plot twist where someone (a dummy) decides to “walk” straight out in front of a bus right where you’re least expecting it?

    But once again, is anyone going to watch it willingly??


    David Weston
    Agree (11) | Disagree (1)
    +10

    An excellent video clearly demonstrating that speed limits add nothing to road safety and even that they may be making roads more dangerous if drivers take them seriously.

    How do we defend having a 40mph limit posted on a road where police would have serious questions regarding a driver’s speed if they were driving at 39mph? What is the defence of a 60mph limit on a road where it isn’t safe to drive above 20-30mph? What is the justification for posting a 30mph speed limit on a town street where the appropriate speed is 10-20mph?

    If anyone disagrees with me, could you please explain what safety benefit the speed limits give in the examples in the video? Also why, if we always expect a driver to be able to use an appropriate speed for the conditions outside of their car, we post a speed limit which is inevitably above that safe speed?


    Charles, England
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    --5

    Excellent video but could perhaps have been longer to illustrate other scenarios. It should be given maximum publicity and even be used on speed awareness/driver improvement courses, if not already. An appropriate speed is the one that allows almost collision- proof defensive driving.


    Hugh Jones
    Agree (8) | Disagree (5)
    +3