How to stick to the UK speed limit
14 Oct 2009 at 22:20
Driving too fast is an increasing problem. Modern cars are so smooth that you might not even realise you are speeding. Liat Joshi shares his advice for sticking to the speed limit.
Is it safe to drive just a few miles over the speed limit, say 35mph in a 30mph zone?
No. A small increase in speed causes a large increase in fatality if you have an accident.
If you hit a pedestrian…
At 30mph, they have a 20% chance of being killed
At 35mph, they have a 50% chance of dying
At 40mph, there's only a 10% chance of survival
Even if you don't cause an accident, you'll still get a speeding fine and points on your licence if you're caught. This will make your car insurance more expensive too.
Do I have to keep my eye on the speedometer all the time?
No. Try staying in the lower gears for longer before changing up. That way your car won't let you exceed the speed limit. This cuts down on your potential to speed and won't harm your car's gearbox, transmission or engine.
What if there are no signs to tell me what the speed limit is?
There are often clues that will help you to know what the speed limit is. If the road has street lights, it means the speed limit is 30mph unless otherwise specified.
Is it always safe to drive at the speed limit?
Not necessarily. Speed limits are maximum, not recommended speeds. You should constantly assess how fast is safe while you are driving, and make adjustments.
Think about potential hazards. These could include:
Residential areas with lots of parked cars
Busy high streets
The 60mph speed limit on rural roads is often unrealistic, so take extra care here. A high proportion of road deaths and accidents happen on rural roads, despite the fact a lower-than-average percentage of drivers breaches the maximum speed on them.
Won't people get annoyed if I drive too slowly?
They might, but that's no reason for you to break the law. On motorways or dual carriageways, move into the left lane to let people pass. On single-lane carriageways, you can slow down and indicate left to encourage overtaking or, if it's safe, pull in and let them pass.
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