Understanding The Different Speed Limits

If you are preparing for your practical driving test, it is important to fully understand the various speed limits that apply throughout England and Wales, as well as the entire UK. During your driving lessons, you should be learning about the speed limits on the various types of roads – as well as during the preparation for your theory test. 

To understand the different speed limits in more detail, the team at Carcaptain has created this guide based on their experience and expertise so that you fully understand the speed limits for specific roads and vehicles.

Fixed speed limits

Especially in residential and urban establishments, fixed speed limits are implemented to enforce a maximum speed. The most common fixed speeds are 20, 30, 40 or 50mph, where they will be clearly displayed within a red circle on road signs before entering these specific areas. It’s also likely that speed cameras are installed within these zones in order to record and report any drivers that are exceeding these limits.

Variable speed limits

In recent years, the Government and Highways England have been developing the use of smart motorways, the primary user of variable speed limits. Its primary aim is to increase capacity and reduce congestion in specific areas through controlling the speed limit, as well as operating the hard shoulder. The speed limit is displayed on the gantries across motorways, where it will display the new speed limit which may be lowered during a specific time or zone of the motorway. 

Outside of these zones

Outside of areas that withhold these fixed or various limits, it’s likely that road users will follow the national speed limit. Identifiable through the grey, circular sign with a diagonal black stripe, this means that the road you are about to enter operates at the national speed limit, which is 60mph on single carriageway roads and 70mph on dual carriageways and motorways. Unlike these other zones, it’s less likely that speed measures such as cameras are in place, however this depends on the location and county it’s within. 

Minimum speed limits

Although it’s highly unlikely that drivers are driving too slowly, in particular zones the UK Government have implemented minimum speed limits. This is often to prevent congestion and crashes, which is why they are commonly used in tunnels and occasionally motorways. The aim is to prevent frequently accelerating and breaking, as a minimum speed will enable all drivers to drive at a steady rate. 

One of the most important things to remember is that if you fail to understand the national speed limit and exceed the maximum speed, then you could be at risk of breaking the law and being caught. Not only is this a dangerous act by endangering you, but it’s also risking the safety of others. You could also face an on-the-spot fine, penalty points and potentially be taken to caught and disqualified from driving. 

About Carcaptain

Through an intensive driving course with Carcaptain, you will gain a better understanding of the national speed limit by driving on these roads and experiencing each variable yourself when learning to drive. If you have a particular focus area you would like to learn more about, be sure to get in touch with our team so that we can design an intensive course based around your own learning and requirements. Find out more on our website, or by giving us a call today on 020 7099 1232. 

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