Speed Awareness: my very small “brush” with the law

I’ve got a question for you. Okay. Two questions.

Have you ever exceeded the speed limit? Have you ever been caught red-handed whilst doing so?

It’s probably yes to at least one of those, isn’t it?

I’ll be honest here, readers. The other day I got caught speeding. (34 miles an hour in a 30 zone. What can I say? I’m a rebel #yolo).. As a commuter travelling every day from Swansea to Cardiff, it was bound to happen eventually.. The thing is, I’m not a petrol head, I’m not a wannabe boy-racer, and I’m not a characteristically dangerous driver. So understandably, I was pretty embarrassed about it.

The letter from the police stated that I had a choice. I could either take three points on my otherwise perfectly shiny and clean driving licence or I could attend a speed awareness course for a wallet emptyingly expensive £85. Whilst being very poor, I decided that taking three points on my licence for such petty speeding wasn’t an option. Especially as it was likely to boost my insurance premium to an extortionate level. No. I decided that I would go on the course. So, I very reluctantly booked myself in for a course on the 30th April 2013.

So, as today is April 30th, this afternoon I found myself sitting in a blue and grey hotel conference room surrounded by fellow rebel law-breakers. This is where I would stay for the next four hours. A place where the importance of speed signs, the need for safer driving and “what made us do it” would be the hot topics of conversation.

Looking around me, it seemed that the course had brought in a real cross section of society. We were a heel-dragging bunch of speeders linked only by the fact that we all looked a bit miffed at having to sit inside for four hours on a rare glorious day in South Wales. There were van drivers, cap-wearing cheeky chappies, new mums, office workers, business hot-shots, students, granddads and new drivers. It was interesting to observe the way in which these vastly different groups of people interacted during the course. A business hot-shot woman became best friends with the van driver next to her. A quiet office worker quickly transformed into a teacher’s pet and was raising his hand enthusiastically at any given opportunity. There was even a lady who kept putting eye drops into her eyes. That doesn’t really have anything to do with group interaction. It was quite graphic though. I think that’s why I remember it. I was also surprised to see a large number of attractive young girls on the course. I was a bit disappointed actually. It really doesn’t do anything for the typical gender stereotype concerning driving ability.

Unfortunately I am sworn to confidentiality in terms of what was spoken during the course. It was a bit like a secret club. A secret club meeting. Except significantly less exciting.

It was good, though. Indeed, the purpose of this blog post is to encourage you all to take the course (if caught speeding. Not of your own fruition.) Generally only small-time speeders (people exceeding the limit by only 1-12 mph) are given the opportunity of taking the course, so it is really nothing to be ashamed about.  There are so many different people on it that any sense of embarrassment soon goes out of the window. The women who presented the course were endlessly lovely and provided a powerpoint presentation which involved lots of group work and audience participation. The information provided was useful, thought-provoking and interesting. In all honesty, it was very different to what I had imagined.

I have come out of the course with a new take on driving and a newfound knowledge of the real reasons behind speed limits. So, in future I’ll be trying my best to stick to speed limits. It is not as if I was a big-time speeder before. It’s just that I got caught slightly over the limit on one occasion. I could have just as easily have been involved in an accident. I know which way round I would rather it have been.

Driving home from the course, I was very aware that I was in a line of cars driven by people who were on the same course as me. Because of this, I was doing my best to drive responsibilty. I was in an imaginary competition where my goal was to prove my ability to intake information. The responsible driving race was on.

Hilariously, (or not hilariously, as the case may be) the first thing that the fellow speeder in front of me did was to go through a blatant red light. Oh dear.

See you next time, chaps.

Lots of love x

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