Drivers are the problem - not Norfolk’s roads

PUBLISHED: 13:12 20 October 2018 | UPDATED: 13:12 20 October 2018

Emergency services closing a road in Norfolk - a sadly familiar scene in the county.   Picture: James Bass

Emergency services closing a road in Norfolk - a sadly familiar scene in the county. Picture: James Bass

(C) Archant Norfolk 2016

While I may not disagree with Jon Sell (EDP, October 16) that driving nowadays is not particularly pleasant I’m not so sure about the shameful bit. If Norfolk’s roads are shameful, so they are in the rest of the country.

Try driving in Cheshire where I lived for 25 years or Kent, where I was recently and you’ll discover that once off the motorways the majority of roads are no better than here in Norfolk. And in much of the rest of the country the population and traffic density is so much higher with the result that congestion is so much more of a problem.

You could straighten out every bend and widen the narrow bits. It would be ruinously expensive, of course, and hopelessly uneconomic, and as a result the idiots who already drive too fast would be encouraged to drive even faster.

It really isn’t good enough to keep accusing roads of being dangerous. Roads are inanimate. It’s the way some people drive on these roads that’s dangerous.

Mr Sell mentions the road from Mundesley to Aylsham, the B1145 running from King’s Lynn to the east coast. Syd Kipper called it the “Trans-Norfolk Highway” and it is very twisty in places, especially between North Walsham and Aylsham.

If I need to drive from my home in Cawston to North Walsham I know the journey will take 25 minutes under normal conditions. So I allow that much time and a bit extra. I don’t try to do the journey in 15 or 20 minutes driving like a lunatic and then blaming the road for any problems caused by my driving or for being late.

While I would accept there is a place for some limited road improvement schemes, in the longer term we know from past experience that the answer has to lie elsewhere.

A properly funded and integrated public transport system to get people out of their cars and a far higher level of skill required of drivers. This would involve more rigorous initial testing and re-testing every 10 years from the age of 40. Higher fines, more frequent bans for traffic offences and a higher level of policing of the highways is necessary.

This is the only sensible way forward unless we want the entire country to end up like a cross between Silverstone race track and a spaghetti junction.


Norwich Road, Cawston.

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