Speedy Drivers

Speedy Drivers

21 March 2019 | J.Nixon | 2 min read

Driver's don't know the speed limit

According to new research from HPI, the British vehicle history checking company, approximately 1.7 million motorists exceed the speed limit whilst driving UK roads, equating to around 5% of all road-users.

The study also revealed that 68% of UK road-users admit to speeding on at least some of their car journeys where 28% admit speeding at least half of their journeys.

More shockingly, almost 72% of UK drivers don’t know the speed limit of a single carriageway road. 

UK car speed limits are generally 30mph in urban areas, 60mph on main single-carriageway roads and 70mph on dual carriageways and motorways.

There are exceptions, however, and many speed limits depend on the type of vehicle. For example, most vans are only allowed to travel at 60mph on dual carriageways and 50mph on national-speed-limit single carriageway roads.

Fernando Garcia, consumer marketing director at HPI Check, said: “With so many drivers on the road in 2019, it’s hard to believe how many are not abiding by the law when it comes to speed. Speed limits should always be treated as a matter of paramount importance and ignoring them could risk safety on the roads.

“What stood out to us the most, was the shocking stat that a large majority of drivers do not know the correct speed limit for single carriageway roads. It’s important to remember that safety is vital on the roads, and we would recommend that all drivers brush up on their speed limit knowledge where needed.”  

The Department for Transport (DfT) monitored some 446.6 million journeys being driven at 74 places covering the UK and discovered that almost one half exceeded the maximum speed limit. The lower speed limit of 20mph, typically on urban streets and near schools, is the most ignored: 86% of journeys through 20mph zones – which are predominantly outside primary schools – were all clocked driving over the designated speeding limit. About 48% of the drivers on motorways exceeded the 70mph limit. 11% were recorded over 80mph, and 1% did over 90mph.

Data from the DfT has revealed that speeding occurs the most between the hours of 4am - 5am, whereas 4pm-5pm was found to be the least likely hour to speed. 

Drivers were also more likely to speed during the morning rush hour (50.1%) compared to the evening rush hour (46.7%) – which was the least likely time overall.

Road safety and breakdown organisation GEM Motoring Assist has suggested some simple tips for drivers to ensure they don’t exceed given speed limits.

GEM suggests the following points: 

  • Make sure you always know the speed limit for the road you’re on
  • Don’t rush on a journey
  • Keep a close eye out for speed limit signs, and watch for clues that the speed limit may soon be about to change
  • Call out the new speed limit as you drive past the signs
  • Check your speedometer frequently so you always know your own speed; always ask yourself: is my speed both legal and safe? After all, the speed limit is just that – a limit, not a target, and there will be circumstances when you will feel much safer driving below the limit.

GEM road safety officer Neil Worth said: “Research shows that reduced speeds mean fewer collisions, and reduced severity of collisions. For example, an overall 1mph reduction in speed results in an average five per cent reduction in collisions,” he said.

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