A9 average speed camera preparatory work starts today

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  • A9 average speed camera preparatory work starts today
  • Premier Icon Northwind
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    molgrips – Member

    In theory…..

    It definitely works. If only on me! But overtaking and general bellendry always seems to reduce before the dual sections.

    There will always be some ahole wanting past. Seen it many times, queue of traffic and, said ahole, gunning it past as many cars a possible , always causes a sharp intake of breath waiting on the inevitable, usually driver going other direction flashing headlight and taking avoiding actions. It always seems to be innocent parties that come of worst.

    Sooner it’s dualled the better.

    ernie_lynch
    Member

    There will always be some ahole wanting past. Seen it many times, queue of traffic and, said ahole, gunning it past as many cars a possible

    Is that cause you’re in a rally team ?

    what_tyres
    Member

    Another A9 daily commuter here. There is a lot of self righteous twaddle being written which bears no resemblance to the actuality of driving on the road.
    I waste 80mins of each day driving to and from work on the A9. I see spectacular near misses several times a week and have seen the air ambulance land more often than I like. The accidents and misses I see are not due to cars doing 90+. Ever.
    As has been pointed out, the evidence shows that high speeds are not the issue. My crap car doesn’t do over 70 at the best of times and it’s incredibly rare that I’m overtaken by cars doing loads of mph more than me. What does cause the tailbacks and risky overtaking is the HGVs sticking to their speed limit and collecting huge lines of cars which can only pass on the short overtaking lanes and dualled sections. Most lorry drivers drive way above the 40 limit and this is what keeps the flow of the road and stops stupid overtaking. When you get the drivers of heavily limited or monitored vehicles the natural flow goes and the dangers increase. I have yet to see a non snowy incident on a dualled section for the simple reason that the traffic able to flow at it’s natural speed.
    Average speed cameras will just reinforce the HGV lower speed limit and this is the real problem. If all the traffic was able and allowed to drive at the same average speed there would be not be a problem but different speed limits on the same stretch of road dependent on vehicle type cause the problem. Add in the single lane, overtaking lane, dual carriageway mix to confuse those that don’t know the road and you have the recipe for the current problems.
    On the section of the road I drive, speed cameras are very likely to increase incidents as the multiple speed limits are enforced.

    Likely thought process:
    Average speed cameras enforcing 60 limit.
    Been stuck behind truck at 45 for 5 mins
    Ok to boot it past them!

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    What does cause the tailbacks and risky overtaking is the HGVs sticking to their speed limit

    No. HGVs cause the tailbacks, the drivers are entirely responsible for their own risky driving. Just like cyclists are not responsible for bad passing manoevres.

    Very bloody important point.

    If all the traffic was able and allowed to drive at the same average speed

    Lol. It is! You are perfectly entitled to drive at 40mph in your car, same as the HGVs!

    Premier Icon slowoldgit
    Subscriber

    Driving around normally I’ll see drivers in front who, I feel, don’t want to overtake and maybe don’t know how to. They’ll often be found at the front of a line of cars, right behind an artic. And I guess when these people drive on the A9, the distance still to go front of them leads them to try. So sometimes they do so badly, with sad results.

    Detecting, training, more training, then someone saying ‘Sorry, but you ain’t up to driving’.

    The 50 limit on trucks is going to be interesting.

    Premier Icon mikewsmith
    Subscriber

    The 50 limit on trucks is going to be interesting.

    How long has it been since it was 40mph? It was a surprise to me when you suddenly got caught up behind trucks who were normally making a bit more progress.

    Aye. That’s also the point of the “dual in 2 miles” signs, they discourage people from overtaking til they get there.

    You’d think that wouldn’t you? This weekend, twice, I got ready for an overtake, saw the sign, thought why bother and pulled in again, just in time for someone to go zooming past in their willywaving mobile.
    The other thing I did see a few times, especially southbound, were 3 or 4 cars bunched up behind an HGV not overtaking but with not enough room between them to let someone else pull in, so committing to an overtake meant having to pass all of them and there’s very few stretches where that would be possible. Normal A9 behaviour but there seemed to be more than usual.

    whatnobeer
    Member

    IME it’s the supermarket lorries that all stick rigidly to the 40 mph limit. It’s strange but sitting at 50 is a lot less frustrating than sitting at 40.

    No. HGVs cause the tailbacks, the drivers are entirely responsible for their own risky driving. Just like cyclists are not responsible for bad passing manoevres.

    Lol. It is! You are perfectly entitled to drive at 40mph in your car, same as the HGVs!

    Aye, and would you be happy to drive at 40 the whole way knowing that it’s safe to drive at 60 or 70 instead? If you would be then you’ve got a lot more patience than anyone else I know.

    And of course the drivers are responsible for their own behaviour but if you take out the tailbacks that risky behaviour becomes less common as there’s less impetus for it. Much easier to fix that than driver behaviour.

    Premier Icon molgrips
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    Aye, and would you be happy to drive at 40 the whole way knowing that it’s safe to drive at 60 or 70 instead?

    If it was choked with HGVs then I’d suck it up and chill out, yes. I overtake where there’s a point, but if it’s as busy and choked up as everyone says the A9 is, why risk it? It’s a lot of hassle for no significant benefit. Life’s short enough as it is.

    if you take out the tailbacks

    How’re you going to do that, short of dualling it all? Even at 50mph people get worked up into a homicidal rage, just look at the hatred for caravanners. So there’ll still be death defying overtaking.

    Premier Icon Northwind
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    BigButSlimmerBloke – Member

    The other thing I did see a few times, especially southbound, were 3 or 4 cars bunched up behind an HGV not overtaking but with not enough room between them to let someone else pull in, so committing to an overtake meant having to pass all of them and there’s very few stretches where that would be possible

    And they were ALL Molgrips, waiting for their turn 😉

    But yeah, this is a personal hate, bad driving takes many forms- you can guarantee those guys all think they’re being really safe by driving slowly and not overtaking. Even the one 10 feet behind the truck who has absolutely no visibility.

    Molgrips is of course completely right, it’s not the discourteous driving or the 40mph limits that cause bad driving, it’s the bad drivers. But, they are contributory, and reducing the triggers should (will, imo) reduce the bad driving.

    So you just have to weigh up the negative impacts, frexample if the speed for trucks can be lifted without introducing specific risks (ie, higher speed is inherently bad in a crash but the question is more about the capacity of the road- I’ve never driven a truck, no idea if it’s reasonable to look at 50mph) then it’s a good idea.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    But, they are contributory, and reducing the triggers should (will, imo) reduce the bad driving.

    The problem is, some people seem to expect empty roads, and can’t handle it when there’s anything in front of them going less than 90mph. People are not rational – most don’t think ’55mph is fast enough, I’m happy’.

    Premier Icon andytherocketeer
    Subscriber

    just put up no overtaking signs, and more solid white lines 😉

    would certainly make sense if the limit was consistent for all vehicles. but then I’ve got stuck at 45 behind an italian camper van or truck only to be caught by a truck I’d passed a few mins earlier. so plenty of trucks must be doing 50 when others are doing 40.

    and most daredevil overtakers that have had to double pass me and a truck, I’ve caught up a few minutes down the road when they’ve got stuck behind the first truck after a dual zone.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    most daredevil overtakers that have had to double pass me and a truck, I’ve caught up a few minutes down the road when they’ve got stuck behind the first truck after a dual zone.

    That’s why it’s madness. You just can’t make significant progress on roads like these without a really fast car and a deathwish, so why bother? Just relax.

    Premier Icon Northwind
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    molgrips – Member

    That’s why it’s madness. You just can’t make significant progress on roads like these without a really fast car and a deathwish, so why bother? Just relax.

    Not being funny but, have you driven up there? I don’t do it anything like as often as some on here, probably only about 20 times over the last few years so I’ll bow to them if they disagree… but my experience is that yes, you often can make considerably better progress, safely, without either a really fast car or a deathwish. And you could do better still if other drivers were more considerate, without taking any risks (*). It’s often a road of logjams rather than a road of constant traffic.

    There’s a lot of different things going on here so you don’t have to disagree with everything else for a single point to be valid, but, I think it’s basically a given that if safe overtaking is easier, then it reduces the amount of dangerous overtakes.

    (* above and beyond the standard risks involved with being on the public highway, anyway)

    Premier Icon mikewsmith
    Subscriber

    run a length of that up there would stop the overtaking

    whatnobeer
    Member

    Molgrips, did you say you’ve never driven this road? It’s perfectly possible to make decent progress on it provided you don’t get caught in a 50 car tail back. Once one of that size formed you’re pretty much stuck so, yes, you should sit back and relax a bit.

    The problem is, some people seem to expect empty roads, and can’t handle it when there’s anything in front of them going less than 90mph. People are not rational – most don’t think ’55mph is fast enough, I’m happy’.

    Nail on the head, you can’t fix that. So it must be easier to fix the other problems, the triggers that cause the dangerous overtakes as you’ve just said you can’t fix human behaviour.

    How’re you going to do that, short of dualling it all? Even at 50mph people get worked up into a homicidal rage, just look at the hatred for caravanners. So there’ll still be death defying overtaking.

    It is being duelled, though it won’t be finished any time soon. 2025 is the target I think.

    So what else do we do? Try and encourage caravans lorries to pull over and let some of the traffic past when the queue behind is huge? Increase the HGV limit? Enforce a minimum speed limit?

    epicsteve
    Member

    would certainly make sense if the limit was consistent for all vehicles. but then I’ve got stuck at 45 behind an italian camper van or truck only to be caught by a truck I’d passed a few mins earlier. so plenty of trucks must be doing 50 when others are doing 40.

    The official report on the A9 states that the average speed of trucks on it is already quite a bit higher than the national average or their speed limit in the 40mph bits. Also, despite only making up 7% of the traffic, they’re involved in something like 25% of the accidents.

    BTW my own personal approach to the A9 is to try and make sure I only drive on it when it’s quiet. That means I might leave at 5am for a weekend hillwalking trip in the summer. In those circumstances the road seems very safe, as there are plenty of places to pass the occasional HGV etc.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    It’s perfectly possible to make decent progress on it provided you don’t get caught in a 50 car tail back.

    Yes but from what people are saying, there always is a 50 car tailback..? Or is there miles of empty highway with one or two HGVs on it holding people up?

    Premier Icon richmtb
    Subscriber

    In those circumstances the road seems very safe, as there are plenty of places to pass the occasional HGV etc.

    The thing is its actually a pretty safe road. It gets a lot of attention because of the number of accidents along its length but the rate of accidents is actually fairly low (especially between Perth and Inverness)

    I never drive the road for anything than going on holiday so I tend to try and break the journey up by stopping at Dunkeld for lunch, Laggan for a ride or Aviemore for a wander.

    I’m all for “making progress” but when I join the back of a 30 vehicle convoy I just chill out and wait for the next bit of DC

    Premier Icon andytherocketeer
    Subscriber

    pretty much the same, but most of the time it’s maybe a 7-8 car “tailback” behind a truck or caravan/campervan. By the time they’ve all peeled off one by one over several miles, and I’m at the front, there’ll prolly be a “dual carriageway in 2 miles” sign.
    given that my car is LHD, and I can see jack all round the RH side of a truck, I’ll chill.
    My estimate was probably about 5-10 minutes difference between chilling out on Perth-Aviemore vs driving near the limit most of the way and taking every passing reasonably opportunity swiftly.

    i’d much rather get there a few minutes later, than not at all or in the back of an ambulance. what’s the typical wait for an ambulance midway between perth and aviemore?

    the most demoralising bit is when you get past loads on a dual section, only find a truck has just entered a single lane zone just up ahead.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    I took the caravan up near my parents’ place at the weekend. Normally takes me 1h35, with the caravan it took 1h45. Even though it feels incredibly slow to do 50mph, it’s not.

    londonerinoz
    Member

    The other thing I did see a few times, especially southbound, were 3 or 4 cars bunched up behind an HGV not overtaking but with not enough room between them to let someone else pull in, so committing to an overtake meant having to pass all of them and there’s very few stretches where that would be possible. Normal A9 behaviour but there seemed to be more than usual.

    There appears to be an assumption here that all of those drivers don’t want to overtake, and that they’re driving badly because they don’t leave you room to leap frog them. How do you know what they’ve already had to wait for, or how many other drivers may have come up behind them like you? Perhaps they’re driving defensively so as not to invite you to overtake dangerously or out of turn? Some or all of them could be just as keen as you to overtake, in fact someone having already done so could be why there’s no gaps. You really have no idea why people are driving as they are, but just because you perceive it as hindering your progress doesn’t necessarily mean they’re bad drivers.

    Funnily enough, this kind of scenario reminds me of similarly arrogant and presumptious behaviour in XC racing. Yes, mate, track, we’re all stuck behind this slower rider from another cat unable to pass, you’re not that amazingly fast, afterall we dropped you earlier.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    How do you know what they’ve already had to wait for, or how many other drivers may have come up behind them like you?

    I tried making this point once.. I am still suffering the consequences. Good luck, my friend, you will need it.

    Well on the subject of arrogant and presumptious
    – how do you know how I came up behind them?
    – did, at any point I say it was hindering my progress? No, I pointed out bad driving which, funnily enough is how I’d describe a bunch of cars driving nose to tail at 50 directly behind an artic or a bus.
    – do you know how long I sat behind any of them before it became apparent that no overtaking was going to happen?
    – so please do tell how any overtaking I might have been doing (if indeed I did do any or maybe just waited until the next dual stretch) would have been dangerous or out of turn?

    You do know that not everyone who overtakes someone else drives like a nutter, don’t you?, and that some of us know how to overtake safely ?

    Even though it feels incredibly slow to do 50mph, it’s not

    A point no-one else has made and something which I would say contributes to a lot of accidents, not just on the A9. Just that feeling of totally slow, which is likely to add 2 or minutes to the journey

    i’d much rather get there a few minutes later, than not at all or in the back of an ambulance. what’s the typical wait for an ambulance midway between perth and aviemore?

    depends on if molgrips is on the road with his caravan

    sbob
    Member

    molgrips – Member

    I took the caravan up near my parents’ place at the weekend. Normally takes me 1h35, with the caravan it took 1h45. Even though it feels incredibly slow to do 50mph, it’s not.

    25-30 miles? 😛

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    You do know that not everyone who overtakes someone else drives like a nutter, don’t you?, and that some of us know how to overtake safely ?

    Yes but we don’t know which you are. A lot of people who drive like nutters THINK they are being safe….

    Problem I see with making it all dual carriageway is that you’ll get what we get on the A1; massive tailbacks with one lorry taking 15 miles to overtake another with a 0.001mph speed differential!

    Then you have to make it a 3 lane motorway (much of the A1) or ban lorries from the overtaking lane at peak times (seems a fair bit of this on the North East A1).

    As for average speed cameras we had them on the M62 for a while while the managed motorway was constructed. Everyone moaned about the 50mph limit but traffic did seem to flow better resulting in my run from Huddersfield to Castleford (25 miles) actually being faster at busy times.

    Also there seems to be better traffic flow with the motorway management, I have not gone to complete standstill for months now.

    jfletch
    Member

    As for average speed cameras we had them on the M62 for a while while the managed motorway was constructed. Everyone moaned about the 50mph limit but traffic did seem to flow better resulting in my run from Huddersfield to Castleford (25 miles) actually being faster at busy times.

    Also there seems to be better traffic flow with the motorway management, I have not gone to complete standstill for months now.

    Same thing on the M1 now. I get on at 29 and go south in the morning. Before the roadworks it would come to a standstill every day between 29 and 28. Now almost every morning it travels at a consistent 50mph and is quicker on average.

    Thats the thing with average speed cameras; they are very effective at changing driver behaviour since they remove the desireto go faster than all the other cars around you. Drivers are more relaxed. In the whole it’s a much more pleasurable experience. Once you get used to not being able to travel a 90 mph.

    I doubt I’d feel the same when its 9pm, the motorway is empty and I have to drive from Sheffield to Plymouth. It’s perfectly possible to travel safely at 85mph in this situation and makes 45 mins difference to time of arrival.

    Variable speed limits controlled by average speed cameras are the answer.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    Problem I see with making it all dual carriageway is that you’ll get what we get on the A1; massive tailbacks with one lorry taking 15 miles to overtake another with a 0.001mph speed differential!

    They just need ban lorries overtaking, like they do in other countries.

    Premier Icon Northwind
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    molgrips – Member

    Yes but we don’t know which you are. A lot of people who drive like nutters THINK they are being safe….

    But like I said earlier, a lot of slow drivers also think they’re being safe, while driving inconsiderately and sometimes unsafely… Or to put it another way, lots of bad drivers think they’re good, whether it’s bad driving by being a nutter or bad driving by sitting behind a truck at 40mph or whatever.

    I remember my uncle intentionally blocking an overtake and smugly banging on about how he was making the roads safer, when he’d actually almost rammed another car for no reason. Idiocy isn’t restricted to hero overtakers.

    Premier Icon andytherocketeer
    Subscriber

    M1/M62/M25 multilane with variable limits or slower limits designed to make all traffic flow in lanes is a little bit different to a single lane A road thru the hills.

    But making all traffic flow at 50 limit is surely better than some doing 40, some doing 50, and loads wanting to do 60 but get “held up” doing 40 for extended periods.

    Pretty common to have time limited no overtaking by vehicles >3.5ton on 2 lane sections on the continent. Not exactly expensive to install similar signs on A9. Although IME (even if not that regular), I’ve never seen trucks passing trucks on the dual zones, and even if they did, i’m sure they’d have the decency to let the cars go first.

    rosscopeco
    Member

    A couple of questions I have on this.

    1. Does driving in average speed camera areas make one concentrate more on their speedo than concentrating on the road ahead?
    2. Would driving at a steady pace have a negative impact on one’s alertness?

    Regardless….I’ll be going up the A82 more often then. It’s ‘generally’ quieter and in bad winter weather it’s affected less by snow and ice.

    In practise (and if you can choose your time of departure) it only adds 15mins to a journey time from NW Glasgow to Inverness. It’s also prettier and a better fun road to drive too! (am I allowed to use the words “a fun road to drive”?!)

    Despite it’s reputation, IMO I believe it’s a safer road…if you’re patient and don’t get wound up by the sometimes slow tourists!

    I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve had ‘near death experiences’ on both roads, some my fault and some others. However, mile for mile, the A82 is arguably safer IMO. When I do have to overtake then the significantly shorter queues, the slower average speed of traffic allows for far safer overtaking.

    In saying all that, even if I were the best driver in the world (which I’m far from), I’d still be brown bread if someone else pulls out in front of me on either road.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    1. Does driving in average speed camera areas make one concentrate more on their speedo than concentrating on the road ahead?

    If you can’t concentrate on both you’re not fit to drive.

    2. Would driving at a steady pace have a negative impact on one’s alertness?

    See above.

    Premier Icon richmtb
    Subscriber

    Meanwhile back in the real world, where the roads are full of people of mixed experience, ability, alertness, tiredness, confidence and machinery

    1. Does driving in average speed camera areas make one concentrate more on their speedo than concentrating on the road ahead?

    Probably, a little, what percentage of people do you think look at their speedos when they approach a fixed speed camera

    2. Yes driving a steady speed probably does have an effect on peoples alertness. I think that’s one of the reasons people tailgate. They now have to pay close attention to the distance to the car in front. It keeps some drivers alert (I find it stressful to do the whole tailgate, brake, tailgate, brake thing, but its such common behaviour that there must be a reason for it beyond them all being crap drivers)#

    FWIW I prefer the A82 as well.

    Premier Icon slowoldgit
    Subscriber

    Staying further back, watching the brakelights in front as the ripple heads back down the line keeps me interested, thanks. And helps save a little fuel.

    whatnobeer
    Member

    If you can’t concentrate on both you’re not fit to drive.

    That doesn’t answer his question. You keep making these sort of big grand statements that just don’t work in the real world, no matter how true they may be.

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