'Driving too slow isn't as dangerous as driving too fast'

YOUR SAY: It's been put to me that I'm misinformed and incorrect, and that driving "too slow is just as dangerous as too fast". It was argued that the Solomon curve proves it.

There's a valid argument that driving too slow in the right-hand lanes of motorways like the Ipswich or M1 motorways is just as dangerous. Nevertheless, the generalisation that driving too slow is dangerous is wrong for these reasons.

1. The road accident statistics don't support it.

2. The police who have to deal with the accidents and their consequences don't support it.

3. "Too slow" is an entirely subjective and as yet undefined term.

4. It's arguably only dangerous to impatient Xbox-type drivers who want to push other drivers by tailgating and/or abusing them.

5. The Solomon curve has been demonstrated to be methodologically and logically faulty.

Any comprehensive (rather than superficial) look at road accident statistics makes it clear there's nothing to argue about.

No one ever defines what they mean by "too slow" - they just assert it.

No Christmas, Easter, school, or public holiday ever starts with the police in the media imploring drivers to drive faster because it's safer.

It would be a challenge to find a police or emergency services person who would keep a straight face and say that they have never seen an example of Xbox-type driving on the roads.

As for the Solomon curve, it came out of research done in the 50s, published in the 60s, questioned in the 70s and 80s, and in the 90s and 2000s Solomon's method was shown to be faulty and his scope inadequate for drawing valid conclusions.

"Solomon's curve ... is a purely mathematical effect that says little about how the world works, like saying an object is heavy because it weighs more. (A) passenger, it has been suggested, could reduce a drivers fatality risk in a frontal collision by 7.5%." Vanderbilt, 2008. Traffic: Why we drive the way we do (and what it says about us).

Is anyone going to ask loved ones and friends to be our passengers just so our risk of being killed on the roads is less?

Of course not. Is anyone going to drive faster because they believe it's safer? Evidently yes. Are the police and emergency services people going to ask us to drive faster because it's safer? Not likely.

I rarely encounter traffic moving at or within the speed limit anywhere. It doesn't matter what the limit or place is, traffic usually moves 5-10kph over the limit.

Many who exhibit Xbox-type driving push everyone else on the road to do likewise and then get agro and/or abusive when they don't get their way.

So, those who want to argue that a particular driving attitude is correct and informed need to move on from superficial sources of information to those with validity and credibility.

The fact is that driving below the speed limit isn't just as dangerous as exceeding it - far from it.

DR ROBERT WHITE, Toowoomba


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