18 Jul 2016

Why Should I Stick to the Speed Limit?

In this article, we look at why sticking to the speed limit is important, and as well as some tips to help you ensure that you don’t exceed the speed limit.

The speed limit is not a guide – it is the absolute maximum speed that you should be travelling at.

Speeding is one of the major factors in road accidents where fatalities occur. Inappropriate speeding accounts for around 24% of collisions which result in death. This doesn’t just mean exceeding the speed limit, this can also include incidents where the vehicle was travelling too fast for the conditions – for example, bad weather, low visibility or where there are high numbers of people on foot close to the road.

While it might not seem like much, the risk of death is four times higher when a pedestrian is hit at 40mph than at 30mph.

RoSPA (The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents) state that the majority of crashes (two out of three) happen on roads with a speed limit of 30mph or less. If the average speed of drivers was reduced by only one mile per hour, accident rates would be down by 5%.

As modern cars are both powerful and comfortable, they give drivers little sensation of how fast they are actually travelling, meaning that it is easy to creep above the speed limit.

Here’s some tips to help you stay within the speed limit:

Know the limit

It’s difficult to stay at the speed limit if you don’t know what it is! Make sure you brush up on speed limit rules and regulations frequently, and always check for new signs dictating changed or reduced speed limits. It is easy to become complacent, especially on roads that you know well, so always keep the speed limit of the road in mind.

Check your speed-o-meter

Don’t rely on your judgement to let you know what speed you are travelling at – sometimes it can feel like you are travelling faster or slower due to a range of factors, from the speed of the car in front, to the time of day or the weather conditions. To be safe, check your speed regularly, and make adjustments to ensure that you are always travelling within the speed limit.

Remember – speed limits aren’t just a guide!

Speed limits aren’t a guide – they are the absolute maximum at which you can travel on the road you are driving on. Ensure that you take other factors into account – during adverse weather conditions particularly, you must only travel at a speed that is safe for road. Bear in mind that your stopping distance doubles on wet roads, and is multiplied by ten in icy conditions.

Stay in third gear

If you’re on a road with a speed limit of 30mph or less, try sticking in third gear. It can be easy to creep over the speed limit if you’re in a higher gear, so staying in third will help you control your speed.


It can be easy to get complacent, especially if you drive a lot. But if you’re distracted, it is much more difficult to keep an eye on the speed limit. Ensure that you’re not on your mobile phone, or distracted by loud music.

Don’t rush

If you’re running late, it can be tempting to exceed the speed limit to make up time. Try to leave plenty of time for your journey, but even if you are running late, speeding won’t make that much difference to the time you arrive. It’s better to be safe and take your time, than to rush and put yourself and other roads users in danger.

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