Driving too slowly can be as dangerous as driving too fast. The driver who toddles along a 60mph road at 40mph causes tailbacks and frustration. This can lead to dangerous overtaking manoeuvres and other road safety issues. Speed in itself is not that dangerous, inappropriate speed is. Always take into account the weather and road conditions. Driving at 60mph, even though you are legally entitled to do so, when there is ice on the road is dangerous and inappropriate, as is driving at 40mph on a dual carriageway when the weather is fine.

The speed limit rules for cars are: For built-up urban roads with street lighting the speed limit is 30 mph.

For single carriageway roads the national speed limit is 60mph.

For dual carriageways and motorways the speed limit is 70mph.

These speed limits apply at all times, whether during the rush hour or the dead of night and are overridden only if a road sign indicates a different speed limit for instance it is not uncommon to have a speed limit of 40mph on a road with street lighting.

Minimum Speed Limits You won't often encounter a minimum speed limit however they are sometimes put in place where it is important to keep traffic moving smoothly. The table below shows the national speed limits for different vehicles on different types of road.

Actual Speed Limits

Built-up area - 30mph

Single carriageway - 60mph

Dual carriageway - 70mph

Motorway - 70mph

Built-up area - 30mph

Single carriageway - 50mph

Dual carriageway - 60mph

Motorway - 60mph

Built-up area - 30mph

Single carriageway - 50mph

Dual carriageway - 60mph

Motorway - 70mph

Built-up area - 30mph

Single carriageway - 50mph

Dual carriageway - 60mph

Motorway - 70mph*

*60 if articulated or towing a trailer

Built-up area - 30mph

Single carriageway - 40mph

Dual carriageway - 50mph

Motorway - 60mph*

The Correct Gears You Should Use Different gears are used to reach and maintain different speeds. The general guideline is as follows:

Stopping Distances The distance, over which you can bring a car to a stop, the stopping distance, depends on four factors.

The speed at which you are traveling.

The thinking distance - the time it takes you to think about stopping and hit the brakes.

The braking distance - the time it takes for the car to come to a stop after you have applied the brakes. As a general rule, on a good dry road, you can work out the braking distance by using this formula - take your speed, multiply it by the first digit then divide by two. The answer is the braking distance in feet. For example, you are driving at 70mph, so 70 x 7 equals 490 then 490 divided by 2, which equals a braking distance is 245 feet.

The weather conditions - dry roads mean shorter braking distances, wet and icy mean longer braking distances.

The following diagram shows overall stopping distances at a variety of speeds when the road surface is dry. If the road were wet the stopping distance would be twice the distance, on icy roads the stopping distance would be ten times as great.

Below is a list of thinking (T), braking (B) and overall stopping distance (SD) - colour coded for easy reading - at a variety of speeds when the road surface is dry. If the road were wet the stopping distance would be twice the distance, on icy roads the stopping distance would be ten times as great.

6m (T) - 6m (B) = 12m (SD).

9m (T) - 14m (B) = 23m (SD).

12m (T) - 24m (B) = 36m (SD).

15m (T) - 38m (B) = 53m (SD).

18m (T) - 55m (B) = 73m (SD).

21m (T) - 75m (B) = 96m (SD).

Key Road Signs

Maximum speed limit (could also show 20, 30 or 50mph)

National speed limit of 60mph applies

Minimum speed limit

End of minimum speed limit

Max speed limit within traffic calming zone

End of 30mph zone

Speed cameras

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