Watch your speed

says GEM

50mph speed limit sign

ROAD safety organisation GEM Motoring Assist is encouraging drivers to choose safe, legal speeds for all journeys.

Driving above the speed limit, or at speeds that are inappropriate for the conditions, brings extra risk, not just to the driver, but to anyone else who may be sharing the same road space at the time.

By ensuring you use legal speeds, you will avoid the increased risk - and cost - of being caught and fined, says GEM.

GEM road safety officer Neil Worth said: "The speeds we use are entirely our own choice. No one else controls the speed of the vehicles we drive. We can all therefore make the decision to drive at legal speeds, at the same time reaping the benefits: for our safety, for our frame of mind and for the environment, as well.

"Even modest reductions bring lower fuel costs and reduced emissions. Slowing down gives you more time to anticipate and plan when you're driving, as well as more time to react to hazards and to stop safely if necessary.

"Choosing to reduce the speeds you use will lower the stress you may well face on journeys. By leaving a bit earlier, you will be far less tempted into the sort of high-risk manoeuvres seen by some drivers as vital for clawing back precious seconds when they're late on journeys.

"We don't have any control over the traffic around us; we ARE the traffic. So there really is nothing to be gained from trying to go faster - and trying to make others go faster or forcing them out of the way."

GEM has issued the following tips for using speeds that are both legal and safe on your journeys:

1. Make sure you always know the speed limit for the stretch of road you're on.

2. If there are lamp posts, you should assume the limit is 30mph.

3. In residential areas, the best advice is to take it easy. Even if the limit is 30, you'll be reducing risk considerably by choosing 20, especially when there are likely to be children playing.

4. Ensure you check your speedometer frequently.

5. Give yourself plenty of time on journeys. Leaving early helps reduce stress.

6. Think ahead, scan ahead. Look for clues that a speed limit might be about to change.

7. Be particularly observant when leaving motorways or other fast roads, even if dropping down into a 40mph or 30mph may well feel very slow.

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