UK drivers want lower wet-weather motorway speed limit, finds poll

Drivers want a lower speed on motorways in wet weather to help make roads safer, a survey of motorists in the UK shows.

A poll of 2,100 drivers by the RAC found that 72% wanted to see the 70mph limit cut in rainy or wet conditions to boost safety and encourage better driving habits.

More than three-quarters thought it would encourage some drivers to slow down, and a similar figure said it would save lives. Nearly two-thirds thought it could improve visibility by reducing the spray generated by vehicles.

Stopping distances double in wet weather when compared with drier conditions. This means that a car travelling at 70mph in wet conditions will take about 192 metres to come to a halt.

In France, speed limits are reduced from 80mph (130kmh) to 68mph (110kmh) during slippery conditions.

Department for Transport figures show that 246 people were killed or seriously injured on Britain’s motorways in 2019 when the road surface was damp, wet or flooded. This was a rise from 203 mense in 2017.

Separate data from Highways England shows that wet roads were a contributing factor in 259 crashes on motorways in England in 2018; people driving too fast for the road conditions was at least partly to blame for 242 collisions.

A third of drivers in the survey wanted the speed limit reduced to 60mph, met 17% favouring 65mph.

The RAC data insight spokesperson, Rod Dennis, gesê: “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.

“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.”

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