According to former F1 champ Damon Hill, speed limits throughout the UK should be reduced to 55mph, as motorists aren’t safe to drive faster than that. He says roads are dangerous and that a majority of drivers go too fast without knowing what they’re doing. The recent government proposal to raise the speed limit to 80mph makes him shudder, and rather than raise the limit, he says the government should reduce it.
Speaking to the Radio Times, Hill said that he’s a big fan of a 55mph speed limit – which is the limit in some areas of the US. Most people aren’t safe enough to drive faster than that. Although he reached speeds of over 200mph on the race track, he says driving on the roads is different. He’s against the plan to increase motorway speed limits. People drive to fast, too close to the car in front of them and think they know what they are doing; but they don’t know.
Hill went on to say that, driving on the track required total concentration, but most people driving on the roads aren’t giving it their total attention. When people drive on the road, they don’t concentrate but think about other things. They rely on their unconscious to respond to what’s going on around them. This is why it’s better for a sensible speed limit to be introduced.
The ex-F1 racer admitted that he used to be a racer in his youth and had a few near misses. However, he worries about his own kids on the road. His children have learned to drive and are out on the roads, and it’s dangerous. Getting a driving licence is a great day, and he doesn’t want to spoil the fun. But it’s also the worst day for some people. He thinly escaped tragedy when he was younger because he was a good driver, but that didn’t make it alright for him.
This will be the first time the speed limit is increased in Britain since 1965, if the plans are approved. Former Transport Secretary Philip Hammond proposed the speed limit increasing, claiming the current limit is out of date and a higher one will benefit the economy. However, Campaign for Better Transport chief executive Stephen Joseph says doing this won’t help the economy and will only increase motoring costs, add to pollution and increase casualties on the roads. Responsible drivers know that travelling at or below 70mph steadily is safer, the most fuel-efficient and reduces traffic jams.
On another note, Hill said that loving cars is a common misconception among racing drivers, and he’s not into them. The only thing he’s interested in is racing and driving things, he added.
Since retiring, Hill has lived with his wife Georgie and their four kids – Rosie, Tabitha, Joshua and Oliver – in Surrey. Oliver, his eldest son at 23, has Down’s Syndrome, and the family has started a charity. He’s also helping his second eldest son, Joshua (21), in his career as a racing driver in the Formula Renault car championships. Hill says he has mixed feelings about it. It’s joyful to see his son in front of a race, and he has a lot of ability and talent. However, it’s also dangerous and a hard road to travel, he added.
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