Driving in the UK – Speeding

Drivers must be aware that the speed limit is set at the maximum speed allowed, and is not a recommended speed to drive at.

Signage indicates the top speed allowed by local law, not an advised speed to drive at, and certainly not in adverse weather conditions.

Weather conditions and weight of traffic are two factors which driver judgement may determine speed, but exceeding the limit will put your license at risk.

The speed limit is set for the safety of all road users at the top of the limit and there are no exceptions.

The maximum speed is not what is recommended by the signs, and a variety of factors can combine to determine a safe speed.

Different categories of vehicles may have to observe lower speed limits than those generally on signs, which usually apply to car drivers. The offence of exceeding the speed limit is usually recorded by the police using static speed cameras, car based speed-guns and cameras or roadside hand held radar-guns.

The police will apply fixed penalty points to your license, and a fine, depending on how excessive the speeding offence was.

It is possible to avoid penalty points going on one’s license, by being offered a speed awareness course. This is a possible option, provided you have had no speeding convictions in the previous three years, and your speed was over 10% plus 2mph of the limit, but below 10% plus 9mph.

This means between 35mph to 41mph in a 30 mph limit, while in a 70 mph limit it is between 78 and 85mph. The cost of the course is around the same as a low level fine would be.

The speed awareness course is intended to re-educate the driver, with the aim of changing the driver’s outlook and thus preventing a re-offence.

It is quite possible for the cost of the course to exceed that of what the fine would have been, however, keeping penalty points off one’s license is important, as the potential for insurance premiums to rise, as a consequence of having them is very high.