My experience with the speed awareness course

My new year 2015 started with the dreaded letter from the west mercia police. I was caught speeding on the M-5 motorway on the New Year’s Day. I was apparently speeding on my way to Birmingham on a road works section. One of those “average speed” check cameras must have caught me speeding on the speed restricted zone.

The west mercia police gave me an option to take the speed awareness course instead of paying the £60 fine and 3 points in license. The course was priced at £95 and it was for 4 hours. I already had 3 points on my license. So I reluctantly decided to sign up for the speed awareness course.

What are they going to teach me new? After all, I know speeding is dangerous. I don’t do speeding everywhere. I know my limits. I only do speeding when the traffic is clear and on good roads. I am a law abiding and honest citizen. I don’t need a 4 hour lecture. This is just yet another way for the councils to make money. I hated speed cameras. Now, I hate them even more.

Day of the course
It was a miserable and snowy day in December. Luckily, the class was is in Newbury, Berkshire which was just 5 miles from my home. There were about 20 people and to my surprise majority of them were females. Most of them were grumpy, and they were anything but cheerful. Just like myself. Everyone was dreading a non-stop 4 hour power point lecture.

The instructors understood our mood (they must have seen 1000’s like us before) and promised that it won’t last that long and an early finish is on the cards as long as we follow certain rules. That kind of eased us to start with.

The powerpoint presentation
The powerpoint slides were anything but boring. It was instructive, informative and it was designed to be interactive. There were lot of interesting questions in between and we had to answer them by pressing the numbers on an interactive handheld device. The time flew by and before we realised it was 2 hours and our break time.

By then the mood of the attendees have completely changed and were more sociable during the coffee/tea break. We discussed a few questions from the course and were surprised that many of us got a few obvious things wrong. We were then looking forward for the next 2 hours, completely opposite of how we started.

The next 2 hours quickly flew by and it continued to be very interactive and informative. Finally the instructors showed us a reconstruction video of the 1991 M-4 accident near Hungerford junction. It was a multi vehicle crash that happened on a foggy day. There was an eerie silence and the classroom mood had dramatically changed. The video showed us how we take so many things granted when we drive and how a little innocuous thing could cause such havoc

What I learned from the course

  • Don’t ever go over 30 in 30 miles zone (speed cameras or not)
  • 35 on a 30 can increase the chances of accidental death by 50%
  • Many perfectly nice people are in jail, because of little careless driving
  • Fog is very dangerous in a motorway
  • Ensure plenty of space around you in motorway
  • Don’t ever get ruffled by tailgaters (don’t ever speed because of them)
  • Britain’s roads are the safest in Europe
  • Less accidents and deaths happen in Motorways
  • Village and country roads are where most accidental deaths happen

My advice for the future attendees:
It’s ok if they caught you off-guard while speeding. Nobody is accusing you of a grave crime. Accept you made a mistake and go to the course with an open mind. Don’t throw tantrums and be grumpy. You will learn a lot more than you think.

The £95 that you spend on this course could be your wisest investment ever.

Rajesh Velayuthasamy

Raj is the managing director at Integra. He lives in Berkshire, UK. He knows how to start a business, how to get a foothold, how to steer it steady and finally how to grow it big. He shares his experience via articles and videos. Feel free to get in touch with him to say hi or to ask any specific question.

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