Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

The question

Good drivers

Last week the Government announced that 55% of motorists break the speed limit. This week we ask: what makes a good driver?

Long strong shaft, heavy aerodynamic head and a good grip . . . sorry, thought we were talking about golf! Seriously though, the question implies there is a direct relationship between speed and whether a driver is good or bad. I am not sure if this is true. I do not believe Eddie Irvine would call himself a bad driver. The figure of 55% appears very low. Even my mother-in-law (when she speaks to me) sometimes breaks the speed limit. However, there is a big difference between doing 75-80mph on a clear motorway and doing 40mph in a 30mph zone beside a school. The law will always be too inflexible to consider this difference, so I think the answer to the question lies with the conscience of the driver who knows. Continued effective public awareness campaigns certainly have a place and focused police enforcement concentrating on 'hotspots' where it is known that speeding accidents occur will both make for better drivers.

Charlie Hutchison, group safety manager, Mivan


Gordon Cordner, project engineer, Manchester

Someone who drives at the appropriate speed, which allows them to be considerate to other road users, including pedestrians. Such a driver would therefore be someone who does not cause accidents or is unlikely to be involved in accidents.

To link the principal question to motorists breaking the speed limit appears to pre-judge the issue, as it takes away the duty of the driver to establish his comfort zone for driving in any situation. This is particularly troublesome where local authorities like Suffolk CC impose blanket speed restrictions which are seen to be inappropriate by the public. Perhaps this is what is reflected by 55% of motorists ignoring them.

Ian Wright, senior engineer (programmes and funding),

Planning and Transportation, Norfolk

A good driver is one who will stay sober to drive you home from the pub.

Steve Lister, engineer, Barnsley

A good motorist is one who is alert, considerate and patient.

Robert N Hunter, general manager, Scotland

Concentration, observation, an awareness of others and one's surroundings, an appreciation of driving conditions and their effects make a person a competent driver and in today's world of heavy traffic and 'road rage'. A lot of patience with other drivers and yourself. Knowledge of the Highway Code, all the laws associated with it and a strict adherence to them can make a competent driver, a legal driver, but they can also make a bad driver, a legal driver. Even driving legally can cause accidents.

Jamie Siggers, resident structural engineer, Cambridge

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Please note comments made online may also be published in the print edition of New Civil Engineer. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.