Dropping limit is not always the answer
As this Farmers Branch fiasco is not going to go away, I would like to respond to two letters in last week’s Guardian.
Firstly, I would like to just put two points straight from the previous week’s article. Number one, I was not caught by the speed camera on Farmers Branch, although I have been caught by one in the past, and, secondly, describing me as an “experienced driver” was taken out of context.
What I said was that, apart from holding a car driving licence for nearly 50 years, I have also held a full PCV (bus/coach licence) for many years and therefore, because you are responsible for your passengers’ safety, as well as your own, you tend to be far more alert towards possible dangers and need to drive much more smoothly avoiding heavy braking etc,, plus you can see much more from the higher driving position than in a car.
This brings me to the first letter from Mike Hall.
You beat me to it with the suggestion of a traffic island at the junction of Farmers Branch and Blyth Road, it would create its own speed control, relieve traffic build up at commuter travelling times and be much safer.
The problem, at present, apart from the out-of-control vegetation, which was only cut down last week, is a car driver cannot see the other carriageways clearly.
You can, driving a bus/coach or a truck, where you are sat much higher, plus a long vehicle can have the rear stuck across part of the carriageway if he has had to stop in the centre of the junction due to another vehicle suddenly coming into view on Blyth Road. Whereas on an island he can complete his manoeuvre, because once on the island he has right of way.
Secondly, with regard to the letter from Phil, of Thievesdale Lane, who wanted to correct Mr Slade about there being no accidents on Farmers Branch, citing the coming together of a car and a lamppost in the early hours of January 1 , 2014. This, in fact, was not a traffic accident but a failed ‘take off’.
The car involved was not designed to fly.
However, It seems the driver of this one tried to get it airborne, he hit the kerb, which launched the car and he actually hit the lamppost about six feet from the bottom and then slid down it.
Although the car was a write off, apart from a face full of air bag and, I would think, some bruising, the driver was probably okay.
This incident was not because the road is an accident blackspot and nor would a speed limit of 30 or 40mph have made any difference – the conditions were clear, the road was dry.
I don’t think it would have gone into my neighbour’s garden because there is a trench and trees before the fence.
I take road safety very seriously, but just dropping the speed limit is not always the cure.
Bad driving causes accidents, not speed alone, but they are sometimes connected.
I just wish, before changing speed limits, altering road junctions etc., the highways’ department would consult professional drivers such as Eldiss’s in Pepper’s Yard, who use that junction on a regular basis instead of thinking they always know best, because sometimes they don’t.