Top Ten Tips To Stay Within The Limit

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Many car drivers unintentionally exceed the speed limit, often without realising it. Modern cars are so powerful and comfortable they give drivers little sensation of their speed. It is too easy to creep above the limit, and in particular, many drivers believe it is difficult to drive a modern car at no more than 30 mph on a road with a 30 mph limit. Drivers are responsible for the speeds at which they choose to drive, but there are some simple and practical things drivers who find it difficult to stay with speed limits can do to help themselves.

  1. Check your speedometer regularly, especially when leaving high speed roads
  2. Know the limits – look for signs, especially at junctions
  3. Assume lamp posts mean 30 mph, until signs say otherwise, but remember it could be 20 mph
  4. Remember, speed limits are a maximum, not a target
  5. 20's plenty when kids are about – and may even be too fast
  6. Try no higher than 3rd gear in a 30 mph limit
  7. Recognise what makes you speed - keeping up with traffic, overtaking or being tailgated
  8. Concentrate – distracted drivers speed
  9. Slow down when entering villages
  10. Give yourself time – there's no need to speed and you won't get there quicker

Even a small amount above the limit makes a big difference.

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Drivers who travel at higher speeds have less time to identify and react to what is happening around them. It takes them longer to stop. And if there is a crash, it is more severe, causing greater injury to the occupants and any pedestrian or rider they hit.

Excessive speed contributes to 14% of collisions in which someone is killed, 7% of crashes resulting in a serious injury and 4% of all injury collisions. In 2015, 222 people were killed in crashes involving someone exceeding the speed limit and a further 167 people died when someone was travelling too fast for the conditions. 1

Approximately two-thirds of all crashes in which people are killed or injured happen on roads with a speed limit of 30 mph or less. At 35 mph a driver is twice as likely to kill someone as they are at 30 mph.

At 30 mph, vehicles travel 44 feet (about 3 car lengths) every second.

Even in good conditions, the difference in stopping distance between 30 mph and 35 mph is an extra 21 feet, more than 2 car lengths.

For pedestrians struck by cars, the risk of being killed increases slowly until impact speeds of around 30 mph, but above this speed, the risk increases rapidly. A pedestrian hit by a car travelling at between 30 mph and 40 mph is 3.5 to 5.5 times more likely to be killed than one struck by a car travelling at less than 30 mph. Elderly pedestrians have a much greater risk of suffering fatal injuries than other age groups. 2

For car occupants, the risk of being in a collision with another vehicle also increases with speed. The risk is much higher in a side impact than in a frontal impact. 2

Even a small amount above the limit makes a big difference.


  1. "Department for Transport (2016) ‘Table RAS50001: Contributory factors in reported accidents by severity, Great Britain, 2015’
  2. "Department for Transport (2010) ‘Road Safety Web Publication No. 16: Relationship between Speed and Risk of Fatal Injury: Pedestrians and Car Occupants

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