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Speeding on motorways

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notadriver

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Most people will agree the modern car is safe to travel at speeds well in excess of the legal maximum on UK motorways. But how fast should we be allowed to go ? Today on the train I noticed a car on an adjacent motorway travelling at what I estimate to be between 110 and 120 mph. Is an automatic ban appropriate for such speeds or does the law need to be changed ?
 
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Bletchleyite

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I'm personally in favour of a change to the French limits - 80mph in the dry, 60mph in the wet, essentially. That would then be enforced strictly by cameras etc as everything converts to Smart Motorways.

90+ is really not safe ever because peoples' reactions differ.
 

Eeveevolve

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Quite, also the speed shown on a satnav is somewhat less than shown on the car's speedo

A satnav is going to be the more accurate to measure your speed. A cars speedo is allowed to over estimate your speed but never ever underestimate.

If your satnav is showing higher than your cars speedo, you have a problem.
 
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deltic

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According to DfT even in the morning and evening rush hours 35% of cars exceed the 70mph speed limit on motorways and outside these times the figures rises to over 50%.
 

JamesRowden

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Most people will agree the modern car is safe to travel at speeds well in excess of the legal maximum on UK motorways. But how fast should we be allowed to go ? Today on the train I noticed a car on an adjacent motorway travelling at what I estimate to be between 110 and 120 mph. Is an automatic ban appropriate for such speeds or does the law need to be changed ?

I would estimate that the fuel economy on a motorway will be inversely proportional to the square of the speed (once one is travelling at a speed at which air resistance is dominant). If drivers realised this, they may want to not travel at full speed in order to save money. Allowing vehicles to travel substantially faster than others will want to go would make accidents more common and make them worse when they do occur.

The other related problem of allowing vehicles to travel faster is more pollution.
 

Antman

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Most people will agree the modern car is safe to travel at speeds well in excess of the legal maximum on UK motorways. But how fast should we be allowed to go ? Today on the train I noticed a car on an adjacent motorway travelling at what I estimate to be between 110 and 120 mph. Is an automatic ban appropriate for such speeds or does the law need to be changed ?

I would think a ban is highly likely possibly even a prison sentence.

It is generally accepted though that the 70mph limit is out of date with modern cars.
 

furnessvale

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Pity modern drivers drive them though. A car is only as safe as the person behind the wheel

Indeed, modern cars give drivers the illusion that things are safe and smooth at far greater speeds than they used to.

There is still all that kinetic energy to disperse and, while the driver may be safer than he once was, it's God help any poor sod he hits!
 

dcsprior

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The roads are so congested you often do no more than 50 up the M1!

Perhaps, but this isn't the case for all roads, or all times of day.

I'm not sure what I think about this - on the one hand my wife has been driving for 8 years, and normally sits at ~74mph (an indicated 80) or very slightly higher on a clear motorway in good weather, and I never feel unsafe. On the other hand, I'm currently learning to drive and I can't imagine ever sitting at those kind of speeds myself and feeling safe any time soon.... Maybe if motorway speeds limits were to be raised, this could be linked to either a post-test qualification period, or people having passed a second test of their high-speed motorway driving ability?
 
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Domh245

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Perhaps, but this isn't the case for all roads, or all times of day.

I'm not sure what I think about this - on the one hand my wife has been driving for 8 years, and normally sits at ~74mph (an indicated 80) or very slightly higher on a clear motorway in good weather, and I never feel unsafe. On the other hand, I'm currently learning to drive and I can't imagine ever sitting at those kind of speeds myself and feeling safe any time soon.... Maybe if motorway speeds limits were to be raised, this could be linked to either a post-test qualification period, or people having passed a second test of their high-speed motorway driving ability?

It is something that really does vary from person to person. My first trip driving onto the M25 during the late evening (post friday rush hour) saw me get up to 70 very quickly. The next day, I found myself doing a shade more than 80 on the M26. Rather alarmingly the rest of my family were more at ease with my high speed cruising than in my car park navigation! But equally, there are others for whom 70 is a terrifying prospect. From the many threads we've had in the past about driving, we know that doing a specific motorway test would be very difficult to implement due to the distance of some test centres from the nearest suitable road. I almost wonder if a simulated motorway test would be a sensible way forward. It'd allow people to practice driving at high speeds without the fear of personal injury or damage to vehicles.
 

richw

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is not an automatic referral to court rather than an automatic ban? i know people done for over 100mph who didn't get a ban.

96mph and above is an automatic day out in court. Speed limit + 10%, plus 25% on top of the extra 10% is a court appearance, (25% of 77)

The presenter told us on my speed awareness course.

In recent weeks on the M5 I was going with the flow in the middle lane, looked down and was well over 90mph. Getting the middle lane hogs out of the way with a threat of fines seem to have sped up the middle lane, for speeders instead, no defence but I was just keeping with the row of cars in front. Fortunately Somerset has very little in the way of enforcement.
 

Busaholic

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I think the speed limit on motorways should normally be 80 mph, though I'd not increase it from 70 on other dual carriageways - hand in hand with that, I'd like to see a speed max DECREASE on country lanes to 40 or 50 mph from 60, and 20 mph to become the norm in urban areas, enforced once a speed gets nearer to, or beyond, 30.
 

Antman

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Pity modern drivers drive them though. A car is only as safe as the person behind the wheel

Modern drivers are no worse than drivers in bygone years are they?

Cars are much safer, braking, steering, crashworthyness etc.
 

tony_mac

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I was told speed limit + 10% + 20mph for any speed limit was for a court referral, so 53 in a 30, for example.
The actual figures are:-
20 > 34
30 > 49
40 > 65
50 > 75
60 > 85
70 > 95
While it's not completely automatic, these are the ACPO guidelines which are nearly always followed. It's more common for a summons to be issued at lower speeds. It's probably different in Scotland.
http://www.cps.gov.uk/legal/p_to_r/road_traffic_offences_guidance_on_fixed_penalty_notices/
 

Hellzapoppin

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Any NR driver caught going 20mph over the limit whilst on duty will be charged with gross misconduct which I think is a sackable offense. Keeping to the speed limit is one of our lifesaving rules.
 

notadriver

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Any NR driver caught going 20mph over the limit whilst on duty will be charged with gross misconduct which I think is a sackable offense. Keeping to the speed limit is one of our lifesaving rules.

But this thread has nothing to do with NR drivers ?
 

Hellzapoppin

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Thats NR road vehicle drivers I was referring to. Knowing your livelihood depends on keeping within the speed limit whilst driving on the roads does tend to focus your mind on what your doing.
 

tsr

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I think the speed limit on motorways should normally be 80 mph, though I'd not increase it from 70 on other dual carriageways - hand in hand with that, I'd like to see a speed max DECREASE on country lanes to 40 or 50 mph from 60, and 20 mph to become the norm in urban areas, enforced once a speed gets nearer to, or beyond, 30.

Pretty much in agreement with that. Anecdotally it always seems to me that it appears to be fairly common that a driver who actually does 30mph in an urban area (even when appropriate) has fingers metaphorically pointed at them by people on the pavement who think they're going too fast. The fact is that 30 is actually sometimes not a common speed in certain towns and cities, and even if it is legal and technically safe to go at that speed, even that relatively low limit can seem pretty fast to vulnerable road users. This is with good reason, as an impact with a pedestrian at a speed of around 30 is going to be at the very least extremely painful.

Country lanes, wet roads and such like have all been pointed out by yourself and others - quite correctly, it is the case that a "one size fits all" approach to these roads is inappropriate. Regrettably it often seems that "derestricted" 60mph rural roads are so often left at that speed simply because the infrastructure needed to signpost and enforce a lower speed limit, which would actually be safe, is not deemed to be a sensible use of money. The trouble is that it is entirely legal to drive at a stupid speed down many twisting, single-track, muddy, dark country lanes, when an equivalent road with a few more houses may have a speed restriction running 20 or 30mph less. In this way it seems that the law almost tempts those stupid enough to try to use it as a target. If the limit was 40mph by default for rural roads, of course there would be many who would think it's perfectly safe to nudge a bit past that, but there would be the opportunity for a much firmer line to be taken against those who can now use it as some sort of cross-country demolition derby speed target.

The only issue with this is how to legislate some roads which could genuinely have higher safe speeds than, say 40mph, but would otherwise fit into the single carriageway bracket. If 40mph was the default limit for rural roads then raising that to 50 or 60 would need to be easy on a case-by-case basis once evidence was available that the road would be capable for such traffic. There could also be a need for new signage and so on, which wouldn't necessarily be useful.

The point, though, still stands that for many locations there is nothing by law to state that somebody cannot drive past a concealed bridleway on a country lane doing 60mph, approach a major hazard such as a busy junction, etc. etc. and this means that there is one fewer way to dissuade people from doing stupid things. The only alternative is a large grant to every highways authority in the land, allowing them to monitor safety and signpost new limits on every stretch of road where the, ahem, "derestricted" speed limit of 60mph is too high, but the cost of redoing this is so far prohibitive. And that's not going to happen!
 
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jon0844

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Pretty much in agreement with that. Anecdotally it always seems to me that it appears to be fairly common that a driver who actually does 30mph in an urban area (even when appropriate) has fingers metaphorically pointed at them by people on the pavement who think they're going too fast. The fact is that 30 is actually sometimes not a common speed in certain towns and cities, and even if it is legal and technically safe to go at that speed, even that relatively low limit can seem pretty fast to vulnerable road users. This is with good reason, as an impact with a pedestrian at a speed of around 30 is going to be at the very least extremely painful.

Country lanes, wet roads and such like have all been pointed out by yourself and others - quite correctly, it is the case that a "one size fits all" approach to these roads is inappropriate. Regrettably it often seems that "derestricted" 60mph rural roads are so often left at that speed simply because the infrastructure needed to signpost and enforce a lower speed limit, which would actually be safe, is not deemed to be a sensible use of money. The trouble is that it is entirely legal to drive at a stupid speed down many twisting, single-track, muddy, dark country lanes, when an equivalent road with a few more houses may have a speed restriction running 20 or 30mph less. In this way it seems that the law almost tempts those stupid enough to try to use it as a target. If the limit was 40mph by default for rural roads, of course there would be many who would think it's perfectly safe to nudge a bit past that, but there would be the opportunity for a much firmer line to be taken against those who can now use it as some sort of cross-country demolition derby speed target.

The only issue with this is how to legislate some roads which could genuinely have higher safe speeds than, say 40mph, but would otherwise fit into the single carriageway bracket. If 40mph was the default limit for rural roads then raising that to 50 or 60 would need to be easy on a case-by-case basis once evidence was available that the road would be capable for such traffic. There could also be a need for new signage and so on, which wouldn't necessarily be useful.

The point, though, still stands that for many locations there is nothing by law to state that somebody cannot drive past a concealed bridleway on a country lane doing 60mph, approach a major hazard such as a busy junction, etc. etc. and this means that there is one fewer way to dissuade people from doing stupid things. The only alternative is a large grant to every highways authority in the land, allowing them to monitor safety and signpost new limits on every stretch of road where the, ahem, "derestricted" speed limit of 60mph is too high, but the cost of redoing this is so far prohibitive. And that's not going to happen!

Rural roads shouldn't need a lowering of the limit, as people should drive at an appropriate speed. Thus braking for blind bends and any other situation where it's clear you may not be able to stop in the space you can see.

Follow that rule and you won't go far wrong.

One advantage on autobahns is that people don't mind slowing down so much when they know they can speed up again. On a country road, by all means do 60 on the straights, as long as you'll do 20 or 30 on the bends, and not try dangerous overtakes (probably the main threat, and possibly caused by someone perhaps going too slow). I've been on a back road (60mph) on a clear day, behind someone doing almost 25. A speed that made it quite hard to overtake for a while due to bends/dips, so I waited a bit to overtake. Many wouldn't, at great risk due to red mist.

It would cost an incredible amount of money to install new signs (with repeater signs) and to enforce. I'd sooner see the money spent on better lane markings (middle of road and edges) but we don't really have the money for that either.
 
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Oswyntail

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Modern drivers are no worse than drivers in bygone years are they?

Cars are much safer, braking, steering, crashworthyness etc.
I would hazard that the sentiments in your second sentence have affected those in your first. We have all encountered prats who say they are safe driving at 100 because their car can stop quicker. What has not changed is the fact that we are dealing with human reaction times.

Rural roads shouldn't need a lowering of the limit, as people should drive at an appropriate speed....
To an extent. But how many think that an "appropriate" speed is anything below the limit (or possibly just above). We need a system that says "the limit is up to 60, but is considerably less where necessary and the driver should think a little"
 

Bletchleyite

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To an extent. But how many think that an "appropriate" speed is anything below the limit (or possibly just above). We need a system that says "the limit is up to 60, but is considerably less where necessary and the driver should think a little"

Milton Keynes is evidence that if you don't overdo the speed limits, people are more respectful. The vast majority of people do not do 60mph on the single carriageway grid roads even if it is permitted - the prevailing speed, particularly at busy times, tends to be around 40-50. On the duals, 70 is more common as overtaking is possible, but again most people aren't going that fast. And where there are reduced limits, this is always for a good reason, so they are by and large respected.

This despite there being only about 3 fixed speed cameras in the entire town.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
To an extent. But how many think that an "appropriate" speed is anything below the limit (or possibly just above). We need a system that says "the limit is up to 60, but is considerably less where necessary and the driver should think a little"

Perhaps a campaign? "It's a limit, not a target".
 
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