The first thing I noticed about the group of ne'er-do-wells sat in the corner looking for all the world like they are waiting outside a headmasters office was how old we all were. There was only one poor girl in her early twenties looking embarrassed as hell to be seen in the same room as the rest of us, everyone else ranged from early thirties (yes I do still count as 'early' thirties!) all the way up to around 65 odd.
Most of us were grumbling about how unfair it was that we were caught and how we were only doing 36 in a 30 and one guy only 34, whilst Justin the course leader (started off slightly patronising, got better as he went on) went through the fire exits are here and here no smoking and most importantly no tweeting rules (apparently one guy got taken away in handcuffs half way through the course as he had been saying not all that nice things about the County Council which had brought him here, said CC were none too pleased it seems).
The usual info was spouted out, everyone thought speeding outside a school was a no-no (unless it was 2am on a Sunday morning) and the limits of dual vs single carriageway road (which surprised some people as 3 thought that a dual carriageway's limit was only 50mph). The random trivia was rolled out too, did you know S.L.O.W. written on the road stands for Speed Lower, Observe Warning? Me either!
But most of what we learnt was actually quite useful. Like if you get caught speeding you can ask for the 'secondary evidence' which means the Council in question has to produce a picture of you, if they can't, you're off the hook. Like flashing at drivers on the other side of the road, letting them know there's a police man with no soul and a mobile traffic camera round the corner is against the law (as you are obstructing an officer in the course of his duty). Apparently the thing to do now is to give a thumbs down sign so if you do see this, don't flip them the finger, they're trying to help you out.
Like apparently I'm tailgater as leaving anything less than 6 car lengths between you and the car in front of you is considered too close. One guy, firstly he was called Gary which upset me enough anyway, and secondly he was a white van driver, reckoned he left 5 van lengths between him and the car in front (though his middle finger was slightly higher than the rest of them so his intention may not have been to participate).
Like if you hit a pedestrian at 40 mph they have a 90% chance of dying...
Which what I was doing. Had I hit someone and they died I think I'm right in saying this would have resulted in my life been pretty fucked up, their family's life being pretty fucked up and more than a general feeling of yuckiness all round.
Not to sound cheesy or preachy but when at first we were asked how we felt about getting the invite to the course we all thought we were hard done by, by the end of the course most of us actually felt relief. Especially after seeing an animation of the worst motorway crash in UK history when 53 cars, vans and lorries smashed into each other and 10 people died.
Chances are when you read these statistics they wont affect you too much, I mean you're a good driver aren't you? And while there were a couple of ladies that were lets say 'moving on in years' and who still wouldn't admit they had ever made a mistake in the 38yrs they'd been driving I'd guess the rest of us left feeling a little different.
You can't volunteer for this course however if you get the chance (I'm not suggesting you to speed just for the opportunity you understand, just if) I would definitely recommend going on it. That and never hit a person at 40 mph if you can possibly help it.