Lockdown No3: Rush-hour traffic tells its own story on day one in Northamptonshire

Motorways and A14 empty at 8am — but police fear more motorists using roads 'like race tracks' again

By Kevin Nicholls
Tuesday, 5th January 2021, 8:19 am
Updated Tuesday, 5th January 2021, 8:44 am

This is how rush hour looked on Northamptonshire's motorways and main roads on day one of the third lockdown.

Highways England jam cams which spot queues, crashes and breakdowns only showed yards of empty tarmac on the M1 north and south of the Northampton, the A14 near Kettering and the M45 on the Warwickshire border.

Car use dropped as low as 22 per cent of normal levels during the first national lockdown in March and April as millions swapped desks for dining tables to work from home or spent months on furlough.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

But that also brought stern warnings from police about speeding as drivers used empty roads like "race tracks".

Northamptonshire Police were criticised by many for continuing to deploy mobile speed cameras while the roads were largely empty.

But, back in April, Chief Constable Nick Adderley insisted: "With the roads being clearer, due to the Government restrictions, some feel this is licence to use them like a race track.

"There seems to be an attitude of ‘empty road, go like stink but lockdown does not equal lawlessness or a free for all on the roads.

This is how the M1, M45 and A14 locked just before 8am on Tuesday morning — day one of the latest lockdown

"I've had more emails today from members of the public complaining that our camera safety vans are still deploying to key locations and accident hot spots and that our officers are still patrolling the roads.

"One such email was from a nurse!

"My stock answer to them all is simple really: Don’t speed, don’t drive recklessly and you won’t need to worry about the camera safety vans or patrolling officers.

"We advertise where the vans are likely to be, it’s not like we’re trying to hide them. Plus, it’s only a money machine if you feed it.

"Dealing with Covid-19 is in addition to everything else we have deal with."