Nearly three-quarters of drivers would like to see the standard 70mph speed limit on motorways reduced in wet weather.
That’s according to a survey of 2,100 drivers, carried out by the RAC.
In total, 72% of respondents say they would like to see the speed reduction made to improve road safety and encourage better driving habits.
A third (33%) said the limit should be reduced to 60mph in the wet, while 7% think it should be cut to 65mph. An additional 17% would like an even lower limit of 55mph or 50mph.
The RAC understands France is currently the only country in Europe to have speed limits that are reduced during inclement weather, with the 130km/h (80mph) limit reduced to 110km/h (68mph).
While there are significantly more motorway fatalities in France, 806 people were killed or seriously injured on motorways in Great Britain in 2019, with around 30% of these casualties (246) occurring when the road surface was damp, wet or flooded – a figure higher than four years earlier (208).
Official figures also show that wet roads and drivers travelling too fast for the conditions were respectively the cause of some 259 and 242 motorway collisions in 2018.
Of the reasons given by drivers who advocate lower motorway speed limits in the wet, 78% said they felt lower limits would encourage some drivers to slow down, while 72% believe it might save lives.
Two-thirds (65%) said slower speeds might improve visibility with less spray from moving vehicles, and half (53%) felt it would reduce overall vehicle speeds, even if some people ignored the lower limit.
Among the fifth of drivers (21%) who are against the idea of a lower motorway speed limit in bad weather, a majority said it was because most drivers already adjust their speed to the conditions (54%), or because there would be difficulty in defining when the new limit should apply (60%).
Rod Dennis, RAC data insight spokesman, said: “Statistically, the UK has some of the safest motorways in Europe but it’s also the case that there hasn’t been a reduction in casualties of all severities on these roads since 2012, so perhaps there’s an argument for looking at different measures to help bring the number of casualties down.
“Overall, our research suggests drivers are broadly supportive of lower motorway speed limits in wet conditions, as is already the case in France.
“And while most drivers already adjust their speed when the weather turns unpleasant, figures show that ‘driving too fast for the conditions’ and ‘slippery roads’ are still among the top 10 reasons for motorway collisions and contribute to significant numbers of serious injuries and even deaths every year.
“The overall success of any scheme would of course depend on sufficient numbers of motorists reducing their speed, but even just a proportion reducing their speed in the wet would be likely to improve the safety of the UK’s motorways.”