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Speed awareness

Are you aware of your driving speed? We’ve explored how different people perceive speed when the speedometer is taken away.

More than 9 million drivers have been caught speeding in the last 5 years.

How often should you check your speed?

You don't have to check your speedometer a specific number of times when you drive. But it's good to glance at it now and then to make sure you're not speeding.

When you're leaving high-speed roads, entering villages, and driving near schools, slow down! It's a good idea to check your speed regularly to keep yourself and others safe. Watch out for road signs and possible dangers that you might need to hit the brakes for. Keep your eyes on the road, but don't forget to check your speed.

So what's the hurry? These are the most common reasons that drivers speed.

  • Not knowing the speed limit
  • Driving with the flow of traffic at the time
  • Thinking there wouldn’t be police or cameras
  • Being distracted
  • Being in a rush to get to work

So besides checking your speed regularly how can breaking the speed limit be avoided? Well firstly turn the music down. We all love a good playlist when driving but it doesn't need to be loud, you need to be able to concentrate. Free yourself from any other distractions and give yourself plenty of time to make the journey.

Remember, speed limits are a maximum, not a target.

What’s the national speed limit?

Every public road in the UK has a speed limit. The limit is the absolute maximum - it doesn't mean it’s safe to drive at this speed in all conditions. You need to take care, especially in heavy rain, fog, and snow. Let's face it, we've seen a lot of this type of weather in the UK.

Speed limits in built-up areas

A built-up area is an area such as a town or city that has a lot of buildings in it. The speed limit for these types of areas in England, Scotland, and Northern Ireland is 30mph. In Wales, the speed limit for built-up areas is 20mph.

Single and dual carriageways and motorways

These speed limits apply to cars and motorcycles. They also apply to motorhomes and caravans that weigh less than 3.05 tonnes, even when there are people onboard.

  • Single carriageways - 60 mph
  • Dual carriageways - 70 mph
  • Motorways - 70 mph

If a motorhome or caravan weighs more than 3.05 tonnes, the speed limits are:

  • Single carriageways - 50 mph
  • Dual carriageways - 60 mph
  • Motorways' mph - 70 mph

Speed limits will differ for cars that are towing caravans or trailers. And buses, coaches, and minibuses. If you're driving a new vehicle and want to find out the speed limit, check the government website.

All the speed limits mentioned apply, unless there are signs showing otherwise. Some local councils set their own speed limit when needed, for example, if there is an area with a sharp bend in the road. Locally set speed limits should be clearly signed.

What happens if I'm caught speeding?

It's usually a minimum penalty of 3 points and a £100 fine. But new drivers can only have 6 points within 2 years of passing their test. If they get more, they risk losing their licence. If you're not caught, the risk is even greater because you would be putting yourself and others in danger. So buckle up, slow down, and enjoy the ride!


Should I check my speedometer regularly during my driving test?

You should treat looking at the speedometer with the same importance as checking your mirrors. You must look at the speedometer to see how fast you're going. If you go over the speed limit during your driving test, this will be a serious fault and you'll fail the test.

How would an examiner know my speed during a driving test?

The examiner will make a note of your speed throughout the test. They'll also check how quickly you approach junctions. Ultimately the examiner will decide if you're driving at a safe and reasonable speed. It's not just about speeding, though - if you're driving too slow, that too could be dangerous.

Don't let speeding, slow you down.

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