Clock is ticking for slow drivers

12.04 | 21 July 2011 | | 27 comments

60% of motorists experience increased stress levels and heightened irritability when faced with a vehicle driving slower than the rest of the traffic, according to a survey carried out by

The survey also revealed that, in reaction to slow drivers, 45% of motorists risk overtaking. Additionally, says that research from the DfT showed that 143 accidents a year are caused by slow drivers.

According to, half of British motorists support the idea to introduce ‘slow speed cameras’ to the UK’s roads. As well as this, 37% of those surveyed backed the idea to impose a minimum speed limit on all of the UK’s roads, 26% saw the introduction of a slow lane as a solution to slow drivers, and 15% backed an approach to introduce dedicated times for slow drivers to be allowed on the road.

Gareth Kloet, head of car insurance at, says: “Slow drivers need to be taken as seriously as motorists caught speeding. Findings confirm they are a constant source of anxiety on UK roads and responsible for a large amount of accidents each year.

“We support the introduction of a programme of measures to eliminate this hazard as our research has highlighted that excessively slow driving is a real problem.

“The Government introduced speed cameras, and now even a super speed camera, so should also consider the same rigour to combat slow driving as it could make a difference and help reduce motorists putting themselves or others at risk.”

For more information contact James Duffy or Rob Haycocks on 0207 307 3100.


Comment on this story

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Report a reader comment

Order by Latest first | Oldest first | Highest rated | Lowest rated

    We all drive at slightly different speeds. That’s understandable. But if someone approaches in your rear view mirror, then obviously they are travelling faster than you.

    Find a safe place and pull over for ALL OF 5 seconds..let them pass! Or risk forcing them to overtake (far more dangerous) Don’t be inconsiderate to those who may have a busier day than you.

    Don’t make unnecessary journeys between 0700 and 1900.

    Don’t just ‘nip out’ for this or that, organise your life so you don’t use our over-burdened road infrastructure anymore than you have to.

    And for the life of me why on earth do we all insist on the same old 9 to 5 routine?? If all high street shops opened between 1200 and 2000 instead of 0900 to 1700, we would stagger traffic and allow quite times to be utilised better.

    Jim, UK
    Agree (6) | Disagree (0)

    What an amazing artical that has really soothed my pain of thinking ‘is it just me?’
    I have a 60 mile round trip of which 90% is single carrage way national speed limit. NOT ONE SINGLE DAY has gone by in which I dont get stuck behind drivers who drive at no more than 40 mph. It just seems that there is an epidemic of drivers who are simply incapable of driving at suitable speeds. Why should a trip that should take me 35-40 minutes to get to where I’m going SAFELY BY STICKING TO THE SPEED LIMITS take nearly an hour on most days because so many people are nowhere near them? And it is oh so true that these drivers will then INCREASE their speed when the road becomes a 30 zone simply because it’s straight.

    As for those claiming to save fuel, what utter rubbish! Try driving in top gear at somewhere between 55-60 mph and you will increase your miles per gallon. I get 60 mpg on average if given an open road but usually this drops to around 5 when being forced to drive at 40 in a lower gear.

    Couldn’t agree more that everyone should be made to take a test every 10 years at least and the police need to start getting very tough on those driving so slowly. Either these people’s cars are not road worthy or they are not capable. Either way they should not be on the road.

    Ross, Kent
    Agree (20) | Disagree (2)

    Slow drivers do annoy me, and I don’t mean learners, I have all the patience in the world for a learner especially as I have only been driving for less than a year, however these people who insist on doing 40mph in a 60mph national speed limit single carriage way road and then when the speed limit drops to 30mph they continue to do 40mph, I’m sorry but where is the logic in that? I call them one speed wagons and the irritate the life out of me and I have seen myself overtake when probably I shouldn’t which I hold my hands up and say it’s wrong, but why aren’t these people being penalised for it, why should I have to sit behind them crawling along, why should they be alowed to hinder my journey? We all have a right to be on the road and the speed limits are there for a reason, now understandably in a 60mph single carriage way sometimes there are bends and bad weather conditions and in these cases fair enough Drive slower as it’s safer but generally I will do 60mph as of this was not safe to do so then it wouldn’t be the speed limit, equally I do 30mph in a 30mph zone, so if your not doing at least a minimum of 50-55mph in a sixty then find another a road and stop being so selfish the road doesn’t belong to you

    Heather – Glasgow
    Agree (13) | Disagree (3)

    Having just spent bank holiday weekend driving 100s of miles through Wales slow drivers are a major problem. I’ve spent hours in mobile traffic jams caused by motorists rarely doing more than 30-40mph on country roads.

    Please: if you’re incapable of driving at a safe stopping speed on these type of roads, do the rest of us a favour: stop at home / catch a train; or simply be courteous and pull over to let the traffic jam past?

    Dr Rob, Chesterfield
    Agree (8) | Disagree (4)

    Is this article a joke? The number of fatalities from road accidents is apparently in the thousands per year. 143 accidents caused by slow drivers? Where is the reasoning to back this up, as your article implies it is the so called faster drivers who are unable to cope with the situation. If drivers feel anxiety and are unable to deal with everyday situations on the road, should they really be driving at all?

    What also happens when whole lanes of traffic become backed up for any reason? This just seems to be a poorly thought out and badly explained article. While it may be a few years old, it still came high in a recent search. Lane etiquette would be a better topic, as the often results in having to change lane multiple times to get past such obvious drivers.

    Sam, Taunton Somerset
    Agree (7) | Disagree (19)

    I have never read such nonsense. The problem these days is impatience and speed. People need to slow up and wise up. Nobody was killed by a stationary car but plenty are in the grave through speed and impatience.

    Howard Bull Northern Ireland
    Agree (13) | Disagree (23)

    Until the law changes, road speed limits are maxima, not norms or targets.

    JM, London
    Agree (4) | Disagree (9)

    I frequently get abuse from other drivers because I stick rigidly to the speed limits. In a built up area with a 30MPH speed limit I will do 30MPH. This causes other drivers to tailgate me, shake their heads at me and flash their headlights. I feel like I should start speeding just to reduce the stress caused by other drivers.

    Wally Middlesbrough
    Agree (9) | Disagree (1)

    I try and stick to the speed limits, weather permitting. My main gripe is people who are obviously scared to death of the motorway going dangerously slow, twice this week I’ve been behind a car crawling at 40mph. I do try and overtake if it’s safe but that’s not the point. People who drive at less than a lorry should be fined. Rule of thumb, if you’re nervous of speed stick to the back roads. Regarding learners, let us all not forget we were learners once, set the example, be patient and leave a good braking distance between you and them.

    Agree (7) | Disagree (2)

    I am currently learning to drive and my first (I hope) test is this month. My instructor is constantly telling me I should drive faster on 60mph roads. However, where I live, these roads are twisting with sharp bends. How on earth am I supposed to drive fast on these roads?

    Sharon Herts
    Agree (6) | Disagree (3)

    I generally drive at or near the limit, but judge it the road conditions. What I find is that many drivers will drive whatever speed they like irrespective of conditions. They may not be so much of a danger on Motorways/Dual Carriageways but on single carriageways they are extremely dangerous.

    The number of times I find a driver doing 45mph in a 60mph and then continue on at 45mph through a 30mph. The drivers behind me are more likely to tailgate as they have had to follow me at 45 and can see a gap opening in front as I slow to 30.

    I don’t see myself as a speed nazi and will get out the way as soon as it is safe. But the 45mph driver has aggravated this situation turning a speeding driver into an agitated speeding driver.

    Chris, East Sussex
    Agree (6) | Disagree (1)

    It seems to me that more and more people are attempting to save fuel. This is OK as long as its not to an extreme. 40mph on a dual carriageway that’s 70max is a little slow, but I see it every morning and it’s a bit frustrating as there seem to be more and more of them. It seems to me that it’s the same people who react very slowly to changing t/lights etc and almost seem to enjoy holding everybody up. Before you say, I am not a boy racer and 70mph is enough for me on the motorway.

    Phil, Benfleet
    Agree (4) | Disagree (1)

    I was bullied off of the road again this morning for sticking to the speed limit. It happens every day now nearly. The more the limits are lowered and the more rules there are, which are un-enforceable it seems, the worse the problem of bullying seems to get in my own experience that is.

    When all these rules and legislation are thought up does anyone think about the psychological impact on people. Safety is something to be taken seriously but too many rules I am wondering can actually make things worse. Better training perhaps? Regular refresher driving courses? Perhaps trying to work with the way people are. I do not know for sure the best answer but it could do with some more study.

    Certainly less nannying and flashy nagging LED signs. On some roads the speed limit changes so often it is hard to keep changing your speed and keep up with the limits. Sometimes I am finding increasingly I am not sure what the limit is as too much of my time is taken up just trying to look at the speedometer and there are so many other things to concentrate on when driving, not only the speed limit!

    Mike, Didcot
    Agree (3) | Disagree (3)

    I frequently encounter people trying to bully me into driving more quickly in the Glasgow area where I live and work.

    The fact is im often driving at that speed to protect my vehicle from damage on the appalling road surfaces and looking after my wallet, I often presume those people doing the bullying and driving quickly regardless are the fleet users in their leased Audi’s etc who don’t need to buy their own insurance or tyres or anything much else for that matter.

    I have to pay for damage to my vehicle so i’ll drive at a reasonable speed for the conditions and that’s it, if those conditions are very heavy potholes and cracked roads then 5-10 mph it is and those behind can just be patient.

    David, Glasgow
    Agree (5) | Disagree (11)

    The question is somewhat academic as by 2015 there will be a compulsory 20 mph speed limit in towns and built up areas, so we will all be travelling slower in an effort to reduce those pedestrians we all hit.

    On motorways and duel carriageways it is not abnormal to be slowed by heavies attempting to overtake each other at their maximum speed of 56/7 mph. This occurs very frequently and does cause many drivers to back up because the driver who would do 60 mph in the slow lane is now doing 60 mph in the fast lane, not wanting to be held up by the slower heavies. As a consequence he slows all the traffic down for miles behind him.

    We all know of the slow driver in the middle lane who refuses to follow normal traffic etiquette in that lane, refusing to return into the slow lane and therefore causing endless frustrations for all other motorway users.

    I personally have no objections to anyone driving in the slow lane but please if going to overtake add a couple more mph to your speed, get past and then return to your lane.

    We cannot have slow speed cameras, that’s just stupid but perhaps return to police enforcement officers or even civilian enforcement officers [that’s the way we are going and it would give some more employment to the unemployed].

    Bob Craven
    Agree (1) | Disagree (3)

    As a driving instructor, I encourage learners to reach a safe speed for the road conditions, and therefore frequently experience reckless and dangerous overtaking by road users who see speed limits as something to aimed for, and even exceeded regardlessly, in order to be in front of a vehicle displaying “L” plates, who is possibly achieving the speed limit.

    I recently experienced one of the most frightening driving experiences of my driving career. When having to drive on the motorway using a space saver wheel and restricted to 50 MPH. HGVs in particular drove excessively fast and far too close behind in what felt like an attempt to “move me on”, almost on occasion running into the back of me. Whatever happened to courtesy to others on the road? There’s plenty of room for safe overtaking, and if it’s unsafe, don’t do it.

    Anne, Cheshire
    Agree (5) | Disagree (1)

    In answer to Jim, well ‘yes’ they are learning and its not because we, the driving instructor, are holding them back. It’s about what is appropriate for the situation but sometimes encouraging as we are, a nervous pupil or one who is travelling above 30 for the first time may not respond or feel confident enough to go faster at that time. How else do learners get to improve their skills? Patience and courtesy from so called experienced and qulaified drivers is often at a premium.

    Dora Sheffield
    Agree (2) | Disagree (0)

    There is only one answer to all of the problems highlighted here and that is compulsory driver retraining every 10yrs, on renewal of licence. No need for tests, just proof of a driver refresher course with a suitably qualified driver trainer. This suggestion, however, would be too unpopular for the government to contemplate yet it is the one that would bring the best results!

    Jackie Willis, Dereham, Noroflk
    Agree (0) | Disagree (3)

    There’s often an element of drivers simply not knowing the speed limit. My pet hate local to me is a ring road that changes its limit at every roundabout…with limited signing to help drivers. Those of us who are alert and know the limit try to do 60 in the 60 zone but others haven’t noticed and crawl at 40. With better signing (just 1 or 2 more signs please local council?!) this would change, and the road rage associated would reduce.

    JS, up north
    Agree (1) | Disagree (1)

    I would suggest that 143 accidents are not caused by slow drivers but by those too impatient to wait or approach a bend/hill etc without being able to see well ahead.

    Andy, Warwick
    Agree (7) | Disagree (5)

    Some interesting points, but my general opinion would be a step backwards.

    Speeding only really became a problem once cars were able to go so fast.

    Back in the days when cars all went at the same speed (yes, it was the same sort of speed as a horse and cart, but still…) there was no such thing as speeders or slow drivers.

    I guess my point is – is EVERYONE drived at the speed indicated then there would be no slow drivers, and no speeding.

    However, yes I do realise the impossibility of my suggestion, but I still think it could work =)


    Tom, London
    Agree (1) | Disagree (1)

    Sometimes I wish I had a bumper sticker that reads “Don’t mind me I’m just trying to save fuel” to explain to others on the M25 why I’m cruising at 55-60 and not pelting along at 80+. I agree that sometimes an overtaking HGV can cause a delay and there are experiments with restricting them to the left lane, but it seems to me that so many people get impatient if they’re delayed for a few seconds. All they’re doing is rushing to join the next tail back.

    Guy Bradley, Hertfordshire
    Agree (2) | Disagree (7)

    I think HGVs should be restricted to lane 1 on motorways. When they overtake each other, and all other traffic if forced out into lane 3, this causes not only congestion, but has safety implications too.

    It can be very frustrating while driving on motorways to get stuck in waves of slow moving traffic, just because HGVs and other speed restricted vehicles are overtaking and blocking 2/3 lanes which effectively creates a rolling barrier travelling at 56mph!

    Adam, Hants
    Agree (4) | Disagree (0)

    I am constantly irritated by driving school cars which insist on driving at ten below ie 20 in a 30 limit. Don’t tell me they are learning cos they do 30 in a 40 zone.

    Agree (1) | Disagree (2)

    As an overweight and unfit cyclist I travel slower than virtually every other vehicle on the road. I am consistently appalled by drivers who feel they cannot under any circumstances be held up for a short time by me, and that they must overtake me, often in a dangerous manner.

    What is needed is not some method of eradicating slower road users, but a means of getting many drivers to understand that they are not ‘entitled’ to drive at any speed they wish to.

    Perhaps a return to the days when we had roads policing in this country might be a good idea?

    David, Suffolk
    Agree (1) | Disagree (2)

    I agree with John’s comment. In addition I experience an increasing amount of road bullying when I am keeping to the posted speed limit,this is intentionally putting stress on me.

    malcolm whitmore,loughborough
    Agree (0) | Disagree (1)

    Depends entirely on what your definition of a ‘slow driver’ is. As long as they are driving at or near the speed limit on small roads (e.g. in towns) this is not slow (despite some wanting to go at 40 in a 30) – however I regularly sit at 60 mph on a motorway or dual carriageway (where cars can overtake in a faster lane) as it is much more economical for me to drive my 4×4 at 60mph than it is at 70mph.

    John, West Sussex
    Agree (2) | Disagree (3)

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.