Man on a mobility scooter and speed limits

There were reports in Brighton recently that a man had been spotted travelling along the A27 road on a mobility scooter. The police received several calls to report the incident: “A quick hunt located him, heading up the side of the A23 near Pyecombe somewhat cold and confused…He seems to have got lost around Brighton Station and ended up by the side of the dual carriageway past Patcham.”

Mobility scooters can travel at speeds of up to 8mph. You don’t need a license to drive one but you must be over 14 to use one. They are supposed to only be used on pavements at 4mph, but when no pavement is available you can drive at 8mph on the road. However it should go without saying it is inadvisable to venture to A roads where no pavement is available.

It is dangerous to drive on dual carriageways at a low speed, even if you feel unsafe going faster than you usually do during your driving lessons around central Brighton. Transport Department figures show 143 accidents a year are caused directly by slow drivers.

A 2011 report by insurance company Confused.com shows it is not necessarily the slow speed a driver is travelling at but the reaction driving well below the speed limit for no apparent reason can cause. “In reaction to these slow drivers, almost half (45%) of motorists risk overtaking, thus increasing the chances of an accident. Although minimum speed limits are enforced on some UK motorways, there are few preventative measures that are used widely.”

27% of drivers questioned said they would like a specific slow lane to be introduced in the UK in order to prevent slow drivers taking up lane space. Nearly a third of those questioned reported they had had a ‘near miss’ due to someone driving ahead at a slow speed and 6 out of 10 motorists said a slow driver causes them to feel close to losing their temper. Slow drivers also tempt their fellow motorists to ‘undertake’.

It isn’t illegal to undertake but it is usually unwise and even dangerous to do. When driving on the motorway it is likely most of the drivers have been on a long journey and might not be as alert as they would usually be. Therefore any unexpected manoeuvres could cause alarm.

If you find yourself driving at a low speed in a queue and have no desire to over take any of the drivers ahead, then leave enough space between you and the car ahead so any of the cars behind you can over take safely and work their way up the queue.

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