I’ve been in the automotive business for over thirty years, and when it comes to ‘positive’ news for motorists, that 30+ years of experience leads me to be very cynical; we’re so used to being downtrodden, taxed and made public enemy number one, that when a minister or government body announces something that could actually be of benefit, or even something that isn’t just another stealth tax, my first question is always: “Is there a General Election this year?”
The Department for Transport (DfT) have been conducting a study focusing on traffic speed and movements, the statistics released aren’t really a shock to anyone – over 50% of motorists exceed the 30mph speed limit for example, but the outcome of that study is somewhat of a surprise result.
The speeding statistics
The DfT have been using automatic traffic counters (ATCs) across 102 different sites, that have registered 655 million vehicles since they’ve been installed. The ATCs measure the number of axles, axle spacing and the length of the vehicle to identify the category of vehicle, and all statistics are taken from these counters – there’s no bias from those driver’s that don’t self-identify.
These counters tell us that 53% of UK motorists speed in 30mph zones, that’s for all categories including buses (the assumption is made that ‘speeding’ consists of anything above the posted limit), but only 47% of drivers speed on a motorway (with another assumption that road works or congestion have been factored in to the results).
While the motorway stats may be somewhat of a surprise, with many motoring groups expecting that number to be higher, that still isn’t the good surprise.
The good surprise
In 2015, goods vehicles weighing over 7.5 tons were allowed to increase their speed limits – from 40 to 50mph on single carriageways, and from 50 – 60mph on dual carriageways. The new report from the DfT shows that typically, speeds rose by 1.5mph on single carriageways, and increased by 0.4% on dual carriageways, and despite being slight, that increase has helped companies save time and money, with the report stating that for every 1mph increase, 650,000 drivers hours could be saved, which equates to around £10million per year.
Not only that, but there was a ‘statistically significant’ improvement in road safety, which is thought to be as a result of drivers making less risky overtaking manoeuvres of the slower vehicles, and it’s that statistic that has led to calls for an increase for motorway speed limits, from 70 – 80mph.
Jim O’Sullivan, Highways Agency CEO said that the speed limit on some motorways could safely be raised to 80mph, AA president Edmund King has stated “Driving at 80mph at an appropriate distance form the vehicle in front, in a modern car in good weather on a decent motorway is probably safe. Driving at 50mph tailgating the car in front is never safe”, and Liz Truss MP, potential cabinet member under Boris Johnson’s govt has said that an 80mph limit on motorways would boost productivity.
However, the news isn’t all positive – head of roads policy for the RAC, Nicholas Lyes has said that raising the speed limit to 80mph would ‘send out the wrong message’, and that it’s too risky as a great many drivers already exceed the 70mph limit.
It could be argued that a speed limit set all the way back in 1965 has no bearing on today’s vehicles – handling, suspension, brakes and driver aids have all improved significantly since the 60s; let’s be honest, the majority of cars and trucks back then were almost reaching their top speeds, but conversely, motorway traffic has increased significantly since the 60s – in 2013, there were 76,700 vehicles for each mile of motorway per day.
Between 2003 – 2013, the volume of traffic on motorways alone grew by nearly 10%, there are no statistics for 1965, although overall vehicle miles for the country are available – approximately 100 billion vehicle miles for the UK in 1965, compared to 303 billion in 2013. Not only are there more vehicles on the roads, but we’re using the roads more.
While raising the speed limit to 80mph would bring us inline with many EU states, and Howard Cox from campaign group FairFuelUK believes it the right thing to do – “It’s high time that limits are increased to match those in all EU states, where it’s safe to do so. The positive benefits to the economy, travel times and driver stress will be substantial”, it must be noted that any official increase could potentially cost billions as new signage, processes and education would be needed.
A common-sense approach could be as simple as keeping the 70mph limit, but without fear of prosecution for those motorists travelling at 80mph.
What do you think to raising the speed limit? Should we stay at 70? Is there a better way (fairer?) to offer alternatives? Let us know in the comments.
It’s already 80, but only if you drive a Mercedes, BMW, or Audi.
More seriously, cars may be much safer than 54 years ago, but drivers are at least as fallible. The lack of lane discipline on motorways is self-reinforcing – every time you want to be good and pull in, there’s someone in the way. As for people texting while driving – that’s criminal at 70, let alone 80.
In the end, it’s a sterile argument – every motorway I know is limited more by traffic density than by the posted speed limit.
What about traveling on a motorway at 11.30 at night and you are the only visible vehicle on the motorway, is 70 still necessary
Totally agree that it is not!
I think it should go up to 130 mph, most car can’t or wont want to even do that, plus you would be guzzling fuel, speed limit isn’t a target, and to go over 90mph you should have to get a driving test on how to look around and not be an idiot or an American and just swerve and crash and then your car blows up, people say that it would be more likely to crash, well that’s the same for 70mph, and don’t drive on their rear bumper, I have seen people doing that at 70, and loads of people feel that they need to look directly at who their talking to, and then crash, those people need to learn to drive, it’s the same concept for 80, 90, or 130mph.
You must live north of Blackpool or do not go out at night- Many motorways are now busy 24/7
I think the point is that WHEN the motorway is very quiet the limit could be increased. On busy motorways it shouldn’t. Just to add to this concept I don’t think the limit should be increased on unlit sections after dark. If there is an unlit obstruction of any kind you’d hit it before you can do anything at 80MPH
But this principle is applied these days with variable limits when it gets busier the speed limit is dropped to keep things flowing.
Same could be said at 70mph!
Absolute rubbish. I’ve driven down to London on M1 on a Sunday night and all you see is a few lorries in the inside lane. In theory you could do the ton quite easily all the way to Watford.
I drive up to Birmingham and I find that no matter what day,or time of day,the M6 is always busy with lorries,the day-time is worst – ofcourse,with all the big,powerefull cars trying to save a couple of minutes on their journey.They are the drivers that cause the majority of accidents because they will ignore the speed restrictions however fast or slow.
Speed in itself doesn’t cause accidents. If you are doing 80 and I pull out directly in front of you you will hit me.
If you are doing 50 and I pull in front of you the accident will still happen.
90% of “accidents” aren’t accidents but are due to people’s stupidity, inattention, etc.
Not the A1 or other roads south of Huntingdon. The major vehicles go via M11 M25 to the south. A1 can be boring and enough to send you to sleep, as they have closed all the Transport Cafes due to no customers, no chance of a coffee. So getting it to 80 will speed your journey.
Not in my book
Yes, because at some stage you will need to deal with other traffic and they need to know you are not closing the gap at over 100mph.
My Vauxhall Viva can cruise at 80mph without effort. It has a 1 litre engine but is not as wide as many cars, thus reducing air resistance. 80 mph via cruise control and accurate satellite audio speedometer that helps keep your eyes on the road at all times. Lane discipline should include narrow speed limits for lanes. 60 for left, 70 middle, outer 80, below 60 don’t use the motorway.
you arrogant twat
i think you’re the sort of person who wears sun glasses at night. Whats the air resistance around your head?
Funny but rude.
Be quiet stan 🙄 I think you’re the type of person that has nothing better to do with themselves so decides to turn in to a internet troll at night over nonsense just for kicks. Bore off mate.
Back to the subject… 80mph seems fair to me, majority of drivers drive at that speed anyway and statistics have previously shown that driving at a higher speed can be safer than driving at lower speeds as the adrenaline causes you to be more alert to your surroundings and react a lot faster to situations on the road. More accidents happen at slower speeds because people pay less attention to what they are doing.
There probably are more accidents or near misses due to people constantly looking at the speedo checking they are not 1 mph over the 70mph speed limit because the 3% over the limit rule has been stopped. 80mph limit will stop me from looking down at the speedo so much. I also think that a lot of 4 lane areas could have a higher speed limit on them too.
Try using your cruise control?
Ben, are you going to pay to have cruse control retro fitted to all cars that haven’t got it – BTW, that’s probably the vas majority of vehicles using the roads today.
What cruise control? I’ve never had a car fitted with one. Increases fuel consumption anyway if you do use it.
Not necessarily. On my car the fuel consumption is better – perhaps because the speed is steadier.
Actually it doesn’t increase fuel consumption from my experience
Where do you get the idea that cruise control increases fuel consumption? It is accepted that driving smoothly and planning your manoeuvres well ahead is far more economical than constantly accelerating and braking.
but you have less control…cruise control is an accident waiting to happen
Absolute Rubbish. Driver has full control of the car even with Cruise Control on!
Novo Unless you meet a member of the middle lane owners club and believe me there’s plenty of them out there making people have to change lanes and speeds they just don’t know how to drive
Cruise control does not increase fuel usage it is less fuel you use as I have found out driving from Plymouth to gretna green with four up and a fall boot , filled the car up cruise on most of the time and I didn’t use half a tank happy with that and that was a BMW 320 D coupe
Apt username! How on earth can cruise increase petrol consumption?
Because it regulates speed less efficiently and less intelligently than I do.
Why is that such a difficult concept for you?
Alastair 2, you can’t regulate speed better than cruise control, it can tell engine load an to that end adds and removes throttle input as required, you can’t feel it properly to keep an even speed. The computer is much quicker than you an has multiple sensors telling it thousands of times a second what is happening . Love it when tools think they can beat technology set up to do a job they can’t.
Sheer Arrogance! You are more intelligent than a computer?
No. It doesn’t.
If you have never used one then don’t comment on them I use mine as much as possible and get far more MPG.
What’s cruise control, is that for a boat?
LOL. It’s an App that helps to stop rich people accidentally booking too many cruises in one year.
Ben Bet you want to contribute to people who haven’t got or can’t afford to buy cruse controld vehicles screw ball
If you drive a Modern Vehicle, you can set the speed limiter to at least warn you of going over the limit. Some better Vehicles can be set to not allow you to exceed the limit and have speed limit recognition software.
See my comment to Ben above!
Be good if the tech worked properly. Had a Hyundai Tucson hire car a couple of months back in Scotland. It was regularly showing the wrong speed limit (and yes I’m 100% sure I hadn’t got it wrong).
How would a higher limit stop you checking your speedo Steven? Surely you will still need to check you are not straying over the limit?
because you won’t want to go that fast anyway.
Yes – but not so often!
The law on speeding is apparently that even 1 mph over the limit is “speeding”. However, in practice this is not the case. Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) Enforcement Policy Guidelines gives a fixed penalty limit of 79 mph in a 70 mph limit.
Don’t know much about this but does that mean that you can get booked for driving at 71 or 72 mph then? Only loads drive at over 80 and more and seem to get away with it. Also do you know if it’s still true that all speedometers are set to higher than you’re actually going? So is this factored in?
You CAN be done for doing 71mph, but the general rule of thumb is something like 10%+2, so in reality you’re not going to get into trouble if your speedo is saying 75. So really you don’t have to sit watching your speed as much as some of the others are saying. (Equally, this theory would suggest you shouldn’t get caught by a speed camera doing 34mph in a 30 zone. I’m sure people here will dispute that.)
Not True. But no speedometer that works by measuring distance travelled using the circumference of the wheels can ever be absolutely accurate, because the circumference diminishes as the tyre gets older, and the tread gets thinner. The difference over the life of the tyre is significant. At best this type of speedometer (by far the most common) can only be relied upon to be within 10% – hence the tolerance given. The only accurate speedometers are those that calculate speed by constant checking of the car’s position on the planet, using GPS.
Why wont you be looking at the speedo to make sure your doing 80mph if you have to do so when your doing 70 mph?
some people don’t want to go tat fast, get cruise control, it’s so much easier to drive.
i agree….if you drive to the conditions and dont have to look 5/6 times a minute at the speedo it would be safer…i.e travel at 70 but stop having to keep glanceing at the speedo
There was never a percentage rule.
What makes you think a higher speed limit would stop people ‘constantly looking at the speedo’? Do you think that all the people who drive bang on the limit now would be happy to drive at 75 in an 80 limit? If you’re leaving sufficient space and reading the road, glancing at the speedo won’t cause problem anyway.
Rebekah you talk dangerous gibberish. To suggest that adrenaline should be part of the driving experience tells me you’re an accident (and innocent deaths) waiting to happen. Get on a race track and keep motorways safer, you nutter.
Rustiest name calling is never constructive
Rebeka wrote medically not as a junkie She meant that driving at a higher speed makes one more attentive Under really hard conditions I for tone have to have my radio off so I can give the road my 100% Send me dawdling all over the place at 50pmh on an open empty dry road and my mind is all over the place All my bumps in 55 years driving have been through taking my attention (wrongly of course) off dues to very slow conditions And I can assure you I know from 55 years intensive driving underling’s ALL conditions how to drive fast really fast and under conditions most people have to avoid. Extreme sometimes in a an emergency when speed required, fog snow ice, (and even once no brakes on snow over a mountain pass but I knew how to do that even safely – including uphill on snow with snow pilled ft away from me on both sides –
SPEED does not kill, only drivers! And there is a relationship belief it or not, between bad driving and rude people even those who resort to name calling and those as bad drivers who make gestures at other drives when driving
have you ever driven fast in your life even on a race track, that doesn’t mean just in a straight line, corners included.
Is there one L in b*****ks or two
Rebekah – I wonder where we can find the statistics you are claiming. On long drives the adrenaline can fade and tiredness means accidents at higher speeds are more damaging. 70 with cruise control gets us there in good time – if the traffic allows us to reach 70.
80 will get us there in even better time. Does Germany have a bad motorway accident record?
No – The Accident rate on German Autobahns is much lower than it is on British Motorways. and the Speed Limit is higher.
Some good points here Rebekah
Oh I didn’t know there were statistics to prove this theory, but in the past I’ve often felt myself enter a trance-like state rather less conducive to safe driving when I’m plodding along. Adrenaline does seem to keep me very alert and more able to notice hazards, but I can’t condone speeding when the law is the law. I wonder if it’ll be changed
You shouldn’t be driving at all in a race like state.
no one knows how to take a corner, and goes at 25mph on a round a about, turning their heads 90degrees left and right and still looking when their is absolutely no one their, if every one could drive than everything would be so much better.
Why have you got a licence then ( expert ) by the way ex is a has been spert is a drip under pressure take it as read
What are you on when you enter your “trance-like state” ?
Very true Rebecca
Couldn’t disagree more with your comments. Up the limit to 80mph gives those who choose to speed carte blanche to do a ton +. Putting more lives at risk. Police attending multiple shunts on motorways say most are caused by excessive speed, using phones etc.
If you cant do 80 without KILLING someone, set your car on fire and learn to ride a bike. SPEEDING DOES’NT KILL, DRIVER’S DO
I think you are right, Rebekah, but there are some that don’t concentrate at any speed.. the problem is that when something goes wrong, there is less time to deal with it at higher speeds and the consequences of a collision are worse.
that’s the same with 70 compared to 60
Do you know YOUR reaction speed? Many drivers do not and if you thnk your reaction times get better because you driive faster you are mad.
And what about HGVs which are limited to 56 mph!!!
They too have the Limit recognition software (unless tampered with).
And they have a governor fitted which automatically limits the speed
I don’t think the limit on HGVs would be raised by much, based on their weight/stopping distances
Chris, would you believe the stopping distance quoted in the 1930’s Highway code was less than it is in today’s. (Not by much though.)
In a modern car with servo disk brakes and decent tyres you can stop in about 12 feet not the 75 yards the highway code quotes.
Assuming you react in time
Stopping within 12 feet / 4 metres??? From what speed?
Feet and feet, or yards and yards, apples and oranges do not compare.
12 feet at what speed? The fastest gun in the West is .25 of a second. My reaction time is .29 of a second. Thus if I am travelling at 30MPH – 44FPS the time taken TO PUT MY FOOT ON THE BRAKE PEDAL is 12.76 feet. So do you know your reaction time? Also of course that is my reaction time measured by a computer as I sit waitiung to respond. Real life wull be slower.
Only when you know when your going to apply the brakes not when it is unfor seen tony
Read the above HGV’s over 7.5 tons are now permitted to drive at 60mph.
That’s always been the uk speed limit for hgv’s it’s only the muppets in Brussels that forced us to have speed limiters fitted since 1992. This causes bunching on motorways taking miles to overtake at 1 mph faster than the other truck.
Prior to this almost all trucks used lane one and lane 2 to overtake and return to lane one after overtaking, hence people’s conception of lane one being the lorry lane.
IF the powers that be removed the speed limiters or set them to a higher speed ie: 70 mph you would see a marked difference in traffic flow. I’m old school I hated the limiters when they were introduced and still to this day believe they are dangerous. You have nothing in reserve, because sometimes braking isn’t necessarily the best option, accelerate to take avoiding action could avoid accidents from happening.
Before you downvote, THINK!! How many times has braking hard not been the best option. In a car it’s easy you can accelerate out of the situation, trucks/lorries cannot.
Very true,it’s Brussels that made these laws .
Have you noticed on our motorways how Foreign trucks seem to overtake our trucks with ease ,maybe that’s because their limiters are set higher.
Nonsense Reg Baker.
On a German motorway a lorry is allowed to go 80 Km/h. Where does 60 MpH come in here. This is the UK government making its own national rules.
I remember one occasion just a few years ago when I was on the busy M6 where an HGV took ten miles to overtake the HGV in lane one. The tailback that that one poor driver caused was ludicrous.
Any mug in the world can make a HGV go faster but it takes a professional HGV driver to stop one safely they are no toys they are tools
As a retired HGV/PSV driver I’m wondering having found out the speed limit has been raised for HGV to 60 mph have they changed the limiters to 60 mph.
And why can’t they raise the speed of PSV back up to 70mph as it used to be .
This would cut out the need sometimes for a second driver like on National Express .
Max speed for coaches on a motorway is 70. I for one hope that they don’t raise the limit further for HGV considering how close they travel to the vehicle in front. Almost every major collision on a motorway involves an HGV.
I think that actually you might have something there. The difficulty would be policing it and would you get the idiots tail gating you in the middle lane while they are trying to undertake someone in the ’80mph’ lane.
We say that cars have improved since the ’50s and ’60s and so they have but I took my test in 1965, drove a 1957 Ford Popular and then progressed to a 1960 105E Anglia and in both those cars I could drive at whatever speed I wanted to on the M10 and M1 in Hertfordshire where there was no speed limit at all. The speed limit was brought in in an effort to save petrol and was gradually raised after until it got to 70mph and that is where it has stayed regardless of how much safer our cars are now and are still improving. If we can drive legally at 80mph maybe we would concentrate better on what we are doing rather than constantly keeping our eyes out for flashing blue lights instead of concentrating on being a better driver.
In response to @Paul Way – This makes complete and total sense. The wider the road (and further from the exit lane), the faster you should be permitted to travel… a perfect and exquisite solution, that is both logical and efficient. Signage could also simply convey the concept. 60 / 70 / 80 / 90, and perhaps even higher…?
Of course where it comes to busy (queued) lanes, common sense should apply, and the common rule of driving with due care and attention would dictate that you slow if the lane to the left is unexpectedly slow.
I would passionately promote any scheme that would adopt this kind of speed regulation. It allows the slower drivers to keep left, and the speedier bunch to keep out the way to the right. Why is this not already the case on all dual carriageways?!
Is Keep left unless overtaking no longer a part of the Highway Code? This makes no sense and doesn’t allow for safe pulling into the next lane as you would limited by the lower speed limit…. simply increasing the limit and fining those that aren’t over on the left when there’s nothing in front would do the job
No. Keep left is still the rule and you can now be done for hogging the middle or outer lanes. Sadly with the reliance on cameras over patrol cars it very rarely gets enforced.
In America undertaking is legal,and it mak makes driving SO much more pleasant.
Only downside, you have to check your mirrors before moving to a a slower lane, but I think we should do that anyway.
but unfortunately too many people do not check their mirrors – in a perfect world, you would be totally correct. I drive on motorways quite a bit due to my job and if I had a pound for every poor piece of driving I witness I would be able to retire within a year and live like a celeb for the rest of my days
Here! Here! I’m often fed up when on 4 Lane motorways, having to cross three lanes to overtake some wally doing 60 on the third lane when there’s nothing in lanes one and two! It is very tempting to undertake!
You can continue at the speed you are doing if traffic on your offside is moving slower than you, so don’t pull into lane 4, just keep it steady in the lane you’re in.
It is called the middle lane owners club Kathy and if the law can’t stop it no one can I have seen one car in the middle lane nothing in the near side lane a police car come up from the back overtake said car and just plod on regardless that’s why it happens and if you toot your horn to make them move over you are the one who will be in trouble!!! Don’t make Sence
This complies with the highway code as the other lanes will be overtaking the slower left lane. Why is the left lane slower, because you have slow to give a gap to those joining the motorway and trucks go slower than 70, thus have to change lanes to overtake and then keep left again. Lane changing is a hazardous manoeuvre and should be kept to a minimum. Speed limit variation will be allowed for lane changing. If everyone keeps left there would only need to be 1 overtaking lane. You have to slow to give gaps to those joining because they will fill the following distance you had, so now you must slow to create a new one.
As others leave the motorway they will create gaps that you should speedup to fill and help keep the traffic flowing. This means if you want to stay in the left lane and not change lanes to overtake you will have to keep changing your speed. In the other lanes you don’t have to give gaps, those wanting to join your lane from the left must wait for them, in the left lane you MUST give gaps as the slip road lane ends quickly and those exiting MUST get in the left lanes before their exit.
How are you going to get up to speed to change lanes or slow down to move back left? You would either be speeding in lane or blocking others as you attempt to move left.
Also think of the dangers posed at junctions as idiots leave it until the last moment to leave the high speed lanes to dive across for the slip road!
You won’t be charged for speeding in lane when changing lanes. (you can block a yellow box junction when turning right) You would only be blocking others if the Motorway is at full capacity (there are no gaps anywhere) then other drivers should(have to) let you in.
also to be a safe driver, use a Satnav, it gives a 2 mile warning before your exit. This is the time to get into the left lane, no need to rush your lane changes, it gives you time to look at least twice, and wait or ask for gaps. It saves you from taking your eyes off the road looking for road signs, just like an audio speedometer does.
Not well thought through. Having the same limit in all lanes allows you to speed up or slow down to then change lanes safely. I would like to see a minimum speed limit of 60 for the 3rd lane though.
Re. last sentence. I don’t think so.
I say below 50 and no motorway but agree otherwise.
That would in itself be dangerous, as to lawfully obey such a law you would have to reduce your speed before entering a left hand lane and be going at a slower speed when entering a right hand lane.
Also it would mean no lorries could use a motorway. Which in turn would mean higher running and environmental costs.
Just jealous you don’t have one!
70 should be the maximum speed on motorway and 80 if overtaking
@Martin – 70 should be the maximum until you need to go faster? Makes no sense. At all. No matter how many times you say it to yourself.
Yep. If your doing the limit, why do you need to overtake? Unless you say in emergencies, but surely the traffic in front will have slowed.
I think you do need some leeway for overtaking. You come up to pass a tanker or caravan making 67, wallowing around a bit, maybe with a clump of slower traffic ahead of it.
If you pass at 70, you will spend 30 seconds next to it, during which time it might crowd you or change lane into you. If you go up to 76, the speed differential is 9mph instead of 3mph, and you are only at risk for 10 seconds. That’s a serious improvement to your risk level. I have about 1.3 million miles of accident-free driving, so I am presumably doing something right.
One non fault accident in 34 yrs and apart from that 3.2 million miles in the uk, obviously in a truck.
Apologies Paul, but if you come across a tanker or a caravan doing 67, then they’re exceeding the speed limit. Like you, I do many, many motorway miles and have done for many years – in my opinion the single biggest thing that would improve traffic flow, increase average speed, reduce frustration and accidents is to get drivers to keep left. How many times have we all come across someone doing 60 (or slower) in lane 2 or 3, with nothing in the inner lanes?
Given that the only reason for being in the middle or outer lanes is to overtake, this means 80 for anyone not in the inside lane – and too often there is almost nobody in the inside lane!
Could you imagine the green party and government at one point they have us lot wanting more speed increase and others arguing for less for environmental damage I see a fight lol…. in some places 50mph is being introduced for air pollution.
50mph seems to just produce a drone and speed that puts you to sleep. It’s just too dangerous and most of the national speed limit of 60mph now seems to 50mph. Bad move. Surely it was 60mph for a reason so what was it?
Not a logical argument maximum is maximum
It seems that if you go 80mph. There will be more deaths. And bmw and other high end cars do 80 anyway. Is hidden speed camaras. Not advertised so the can slow down.
There are no facts that I am aware of that back that statement. 80mph is just as deadly as 70 only if you crash. Driving at 80 is no different. Drive on the continent at 80 or more is perfectly safe as I have proved by numerous drives to the med with no prangs to date. As for the hidden camera comment what are you a troll for the tax office or the police force benevolent fund.
Problem is when they spot the camera they slam on the brakes and cause a crash. They took out the camera on the M4 Westbound at Port Talbot just after the limit changes from 70 to 50 as it was causing crashes.
There must be stiffer penalties for Using a Mobile whilst driving and Cameras can help. And I also agree that there are times that you can’t do 50MPH, but there are times when as the next chap said you could safely go much faster. Very soon all Vehicles will have to have Lane and speed recognition software and no off switch!
V Millard – absolutely! Most cars these days have Bluetooth integration, and even if they don’t, you can get decent Bluetooth headsets for a tenner – there’s just no excuse at all for using a hand held phone. It makes me seethe when I see people holding their phone horizontally in front of their face – it’s still in your hand!
Surely Mercedes, BMW and Audi drivers only “slow down” to 80 when undertaking on the Hard Shoulder, then once they have cut straight across the other lanes they accelerate back to their normal speed.
Cars are safer but you wont survive a crash at 70mph it dos not mater how safe cars are today.
Hazard has nothing to do with your actual speed. If you are doing 80 and smack somebody up the back who is doing 70, the impact is 10 mph and you get to pull over and discuss it (provided neither of you panics and decides to lose control). If you head-on somebody and you are both doing 40, the impact is 80 mph, and you probably both die.
Except … if I am in my V70, and you are in your Feista, my survival chances are about 75% and yours are about 25%.
I agree somewhat drivers are not that much better today than yrs gone by I had a guy up my backside on M25 on the phone and moving left n right in his lane when I got his attention he was pee’ed at me yet his was in the wrong go figure… 70mph should stand but an allowance of 80 if you want to do that I ride a motorbike to and find 70 boring n tiresome where as 80 I am more focused and alert.
Join the discussion…
In all my motorway driving over 50 years I have only overtaken a motorbike in the services. Seems to me that ALL motorbike riders think they have a God-given right to pass ALL other traffic
Spot on Strier. I agree with you 100%
Make it 80mph and that would still be exceeded.
I certainly agree the standard of driving is certainly worse than 50years ago, very little in knowledge of the Highway Code and very little respect for other road user the cars maybe more efficient but I would say 1/2 the drivers are not.
What a ridiculous comment! Only the other day I had two Alfa Romeos tailgating me and then overtaking me then Proceeding to do what must be over 100! The stereotype for all of BMW Audi and mercedes drivers is right in some cases, but most drivers of most types of cars drive excessively quick – Ford drivers for example, they don’t seem to care for their car and just drive terribly!
I fully agree with you. Well said.
Totally agree there are too many drivers that believe it’s their right to travel in any lane they want it’s time the police started prosecuting the day dreamers and the appalling drivers who have no consideration for other users they would be able to do it remotely and use the 17 second rule.
On the subject of driving at night the speed limit should be removed from 12pm till 5am and use the German system
Then the roads will be full of boy racers (of all ages)
In principle I don’t have a problem with this but would be concerned by the increased carbon emissions. I see my rev meter increase significantly between 60 and 70. I think a study should be done on fuel consumption at 80mph and this should’ve factored into the decision.
Between 60 and 70 your revs will increase by precisely 16.67%, because there is a solid mechanical connection from engine to wheels unless you change gear (or have an automatic with a torque converter which is not fully locked by that speed).
Where the extra fuel goes is that you also need more power to overcome increased air resistance, which means opening the throttle slightly.
People tell you that resistance increases as the square of the speed. But that formula (Stoke’s law) is derived for spherical objects in viscous liquids. Cars are not spherical, they are carefully streamlined; and air is a compressible gas, not a liquid. Also, the time you travel is reduced if you go faster (14% if you do 70 instead of 60) so the total energy is reduced.
There is also the point that an engine works most efficiently above about 2/3 of its maximum power. Below that, it does not get a full cylinder charge, so it does not achieve its designed compression ration, so it uses fuel less efficiently. So a big engine is actually more efficient at higher speeds than a small engine. All in all, it is a very complex subject (especially if you consider optimal driving techniques too).
It is not made any easier by the fact that every manufacturer has lied about fuel consumption for 100 years, and still publishes figures only achievable under laboratory conditions.
I agree but then don’t drive as fast
Where the new Smart Motorways (4 lanes) exist there must be cars that are only visible, on their inside, to the 3rd lane hoggers as they have miles to pull in to the 2nd lane then the 1st lane.
I drive at a steady 75 mph whenever I can safely on a motorway. If they raise the speed limit, can I do 85? Please?
I have a BMW…
Ian. You must be the only BMW I ever passed. Most of your kinfolk seem to regard seeing the back of a Volvo as a direct insult.
Of course you can, just stay out of my way I ride a superbike and even the new M5 is slow in comparison. 😉
No buy a car that you can handle without bragging
Owning a BMW isn’t bragging is it? Just an admission of a bad decision. I say remove the limits altogether and survival of the fittest. We’ll soon be down to only those who can drive safely at speed.
Surviving a collision does not imply you were driving safely and vice versa.
NOT having a collision at all would seem to be a better implication.
Its about time that the speed limit on motorways be changed. 70 mph may well have been the ideal max speed to have 54 years ago. But cars have changed. its about time the government got their act together and the transport secretary opened his eyes and looked and listened to drivers. I agree that we still need speed cameras on our motorways, especially for those who ignore the law and think that the motorways are their own personal race track. The few of us who do abide by the law and travel at a reasonable speed are none to often are the ones that get caught up in other idiots bad driving. Having driven all over the world why are we still restricted to 70mph. As for government officials and experts coming out to have their say, the one question that we all want to be answered is simple. When are we moving from 1960s 70mph to 80mph.
Couldn’t agree more. Many people in this country are quite intelligent and sensible. I just wish the same could be said by those who have self-serving down to an art, no brain needed.
Racers are in every country but we just seem to have brain dead drivers on our roads. Whether I am driving at 70 80 90mph if someone gets up close in the lane I move safely to the next lane so they can pass me. Not be a stubborn idiot and stay in that lane getting them stressed out to do even more stupid driving maneuvres. There will always be stupid idiots on the roads but that not all drivers. We could put the limit up to 90 on multi-laned areas like 4 or more lanes.
Well Tailgating is an offence.
Of course it is. I well remember the last prosecution for it, in 1983.
Not until the keep left unless overtaking has been permanently etched into people’s brains. I’m ok jack I’ll just plod along in any lane I want.
I went to work this morning on the m3 and lane 1 allowed me to keep my speed constant as the lane was almost empty. Driver education with penalties for not keeping left, how about 3 point and £500 fine, bit drastic but guaranteed to make people keep left.
I asked a young friend of mine recently what speed they thought they should do in which motorway lane. My friend replied, “well it’s 50 in lane one, 70 in Lane 2 and lane 3 is for overtaking.” This was their genuine opinion. They walk (or drive) among us folks! What hope is there? May be all drivers should be required to do a highway code refresher every few years.
Join the discussion…Sadly I find that an awful lot of people who complain about ‘middle lane drivers’ are not happy to match their legal 70 mph but don’t have the guts to move to right hand lane to overtake so flash and tailgate to intimidate them. If there are lots of pockets of slow inner lane drivers and a perfectly legal 70MPH driver is forced/bullied out of the middle lane it is then possible to be trapped in the slower lane which of course increases frustration.
Right on, Mike. Changing lane is one of the most dangerous maneuvers. If I judge that I will catch the next vehicle in lane 1 before anybody behind catches me (including preserving all the appropriate safety gaps) then I won’t pull in and then out again within 30 seconds just to be by the book. Safer to be visible and predictable.
I also find, if I do pull in for a slightly faster driver, then they will often not be so confident when they get alongside me, and will slow down next to me, or just ahead, so I can’t pull out to pass whatever I catch next. So I end up going down by 10 mph just to make enough of a gap that I can pass them in lane 3 and get back up to the steady speed I was on before I was polite to them. So I end up doing 4 lane changes just because they can’t keep a steady speed.
If you do that with a BMW, most of them will think you are competing (instead of just getting on with your journey) and will repeat this whole thing several times. At which point I generally increase my speed to the point where they break off.
It doesn’t matter what the speed limit is, you will still get people thinking they’re above the law and breaking it.
and your point is what, you will always get someone somewhere braking the law. You still get people speeding in other EU countries were the limit is higher. It’s 130km in France (dry), 120Km in Belgium and 140 in Poland – what difference does it really make. 112Km is very slow, it is one of slowest in the EU. Traffic density here is greater, we can’t keep comparing to Germany or France, driving styles are different. For one they are taught to drive on a motorway as part of the driving test. Greater restrictions are in force on motorways for lorries that are not allowed to over take and must remain in the inner lane.
These are things that will always help flow of traffic, but I doubt you will ever reach 80Mph going round the M25 very often.
I regularly drive the M25 at 75 to 80.
Most drivers speed in excess of all speed limits, so raising the limit is not the issue. A majority of the roads in the UK are not suitable for such speeds. If you raise the limit to 80 people will travel at 90 and say ‘ the cars are safer now.’ Check out the damage that high speed does to cars and people when on impact with other vehicles. Lorries go too fast too. In Germany they have the best ideas. Keep the lorries off the road at busy times, maintain the roads and enforce the lawbreakers heavily. Discipline the drivers to obey the rules, not flout them.
Keep the lorries off the road at all times by giving them their own road. Two steel rails four feet eight and a half inches apart. That would make the roads a lot safer.
How many shops would they be able to deliver to?
They wouldn’t be using motorways! Dooh!
WH Smith at the train station?
As they go through at 90MPH at Night.
I think Roy means the International Trucks, you know the Big ones, that we have to navigate around every Day, never knowing weather we’re heading for the Middle of the Roundabout and A&E!
Roy fuller, your belly won’t be if we follow you. All shops an delivery systems are set up for trucks, I see no train tracks into tesco up the high street. If you drove your car better you would not get crushed by a truck, leaving room for a large vehicle to manoeuvre, not driving up the inside or trying to nip into a gap left for braking distance would be a start.
Local deliveries would still be by road, but on a smaller scale from a nearby railway depot. As the railway infrastructure is already here we would save a fortune in fuel and make motorways safer for cars.
Roy, you need 26 transit vans to carry the load of one arctic. So you can now get stuck in a jam of 1000s if vans instead of a few hgvs. Well done, you do realise that a firm like sainsburys has up to 700 hgvs a day in the depot? You are like most people who don’t work in the industry, not a clue what goes on. Hgvs should only travel at night etc, ok, so you going to work at night to unload it then? I’ll wait for my thumbs down from the dimwits who don’t like the truth.
I’m guessing you don’t live in Kent or even Drive in Dover much. The foreign Truckers Go all the way round the outside of 2 & 3 lane roundabouts without indicating. The incidents got so bad that Highways England took 2 Roundabouts out of the A20 and put in Traffic lights!
I don’t understand your point Vince. I don’t drive trucks at all, only cars, and I was taught to drive in the 60’s. The fact is there is only one signal necessary on a roundabout, and that is the left turn signal when passing one exit before the one you intend to take to leave it. People who indicate right on a roundabout are in the wrong – there is no right turn on a roundabout; once you are on it, the only possible turn is left – to leave it! Read the Police Drivers Manual – it contains invaluable advice!
Every car driver should be a passenger in an articulated truck for at least half a day and see firsthand what we have to put up with everyday, you might actually learn something.
We go through gaps that most car drivers would hesitate with, you know the ones down narrow streets in London with inches either side and not touching a single wing mirror.
Be safe out there.
Might be true, but what does that have to do with 80 MpH speed limits
I was travelling in Lane 1, in a vintage car – doing about 55 ish, when I was overtaken by a truck. It got about 2/3 it’s length past me, then pulled in. Car drivers aren’t the only ones who make mistakes.
Good shout mate
Hallelujah!! Well said.
Actually, that is what is supposed to be happening down in Kent!
And be better for the environment too. They’d have to sort out the infrastructure though – we’d have to go back to having a a proper railway network!
No they won’t. Mast drivers set a speed they feel safe at. In the. absence of a limit hey will mainly drive at te 85th percentile which on motorways is around 79mph (indicated 85). Look at rural 60s. People don’t all drive at 70. Few do. People only exceed limits when they are badly set. Few exceed 30s outside schools but most exceed 30s in wide open roads with excellent visibility.
Well said Dave. I think on a motorway 80 is a comfortable and safe speed for most people in most conditions, I might occasionally cruise a touch over the speed limit these days (bearing in mind the risk of penalties if caught at 79 or over). If there was an 80 limit I would welcome it, but might choose to drive a bit slower at around 65-70 if I’m feeling very relaxed and want to save fuel but 80 doesn’t strike me as a big deal most of the time – of course driver awareness of hazards (conditions, other vehicles) plays a big part at the particular moment.
I don’t often exceed 30 in built up areas unlike many though, even though the temptation is there to drive at what feels like a more natural speed of 35-40 on many occasions, because the risk of the unexpected child/animal/adult appearing in the road suddenly in built up areas means I like a bit of a buffer. On dual carriageway NSLs and motorways in good conditions the risk of a pedestrian or animal appearing suddenly are so much lower so I’m happy to press on a bit when I want to, but still trying to be very aware of hazards.
Anon, it’s funny you raise the case of Germany, where they have unrestricted roads where you can travel as fast as you like, seems at odds with your message of higher speed limits always being wrong. Some of those autobahns are even two lane roads, not somewhere I would want to be flying along personally. Yes I agree driving at too high a speed for the conditions is a big problem, but driving at 80 on the motorway isn’t causing that problem most of the time, for most people, in most conditions. I agree with your sentiment that excess speed is a big problem, but don’t agree with how you relate this to the real world driving environment. You seem to like a bit of stern discipline, but ignore the fact the country you’re championing as the exmple of how it should be done allows speed that would instantly send someone in the UK to prison, on very similar road types over there (or worse on some autobahns). I just don’t get it to be honest.
You have a good point about the state of our Roads and the Suspension and Steering on modern Cars is not as tough as those in 60s/70s/80s. I’ve bent a Track rod end curbing it, but never back in the Day. And before anyone says I’m too old to comment, I’ve worked on those ages of Cars.
The Higher limit should be for Good stretches of Motorways only, with all of these “Smart Motorways” it can be done easily as reducing the Speed is now.
Oh, what requirement is there for lorries to avoid German roads and at what times?
Thankfully this is consistent with the rest of your myopic post.
Maybe the roadworks limit of 50 when 2/3 lanes are open could also be increased to 70 (just like a dual carriageway isn’t it??)
My understanding is that the speed limit through road works is 50mph because the temporary barriers they use can only sustain collisions up to that speed.
When there are roadworks on dual carriageways there are seldom 50MPH speed restrictions
We should stick to 70mph. Penalise those unsafe speeding drivers.
Speeding isn’t necessarily unsafe. It’s perfectly safe doing 120 down a deserted motorway at 2am. Good drivers drive at a speed appropriate to the road conditions, bad drivers either ignore speed limits anyway or treat them as targets. Haven’t you ever been on the motorway in fog? The conditions are such that you should be driving within your area of view, often slower than 50mph yet cars and trucks go flying by at 70 because that’s the speed limit.
If you do 80mph by your speedometer, your speed on speed trap would register 76mph. This is 1mph under the 10% they have to give. After all that I say yes to 80mph, but in the fast lane only.
What’s the fast lane? Surely the 2 outside lanes are overtaking lanes not slow, medium and fast. That’s why you always get d***heads sitting in the middle and outside Lane. They think they’re too good for the so called ‘slow lane’. Everyone should drive on the left lane unless overtaking, then move back to the inside.
Hurrah well said. This is the heart of the matter
Except that if you are a good boy and move into Lane 1 after overtaking you very quickly catch up with the next slow moving group and need to come out into Lane 2 again — if the traffic in that Lane will allow you to! Mostly they don’t – or won’t – so you end up being part of the slow movers.
No – we should follow the lead of the Southern Irish, where the norm is to drive in Lane 2, and you move into Lane 1 when a faster car come from behind, to allow it to pass, then move out again. The only cars that stay in Lane 1 are those who are intending to leave the motorway at the next junction.
This makes perfect sense.
Which lane is that then?
There is no such thing as a fast lane. Second and third lanes are overtaking lanes. Maybe if more drivers worked on that basis there would be less congestion. Simple lane discipline.
Quite agree, most motorists haven’t a clue about the Highway code and lane definitions, just drive down a 4 lane motorway and count the morons sitting in the 3rd(2nd overtaking) lane !
We are probably sitting in the 3rd lane behind the queue of cars overtaking the HGV in lane two that has spent the last mile overtaking the two HGVs in lane 1 that are travelling at 1mph slower.
Excellent point but I would say it’s more like 0.1 mph ,which is about nine feet per minute. Those HGVs can take what feels like “forever” to pass the truck in front of them.
Join the discussion…Have you ever observed the speed those morons are travelling at or is it just that you can’t be bothered to overtake them to continue breaking the speed limit so insist they should move over. If everyone went back to the inside lane we would have one lane car park and two empty lanes
if the left hand lane were to be specifically referred to as ‘the driving lane’ and the other lanes ‘overtaking lanes’, rather than ‘slow’,’fast’ and ‘overtaking’ maybe (and it’s a big maybe) lane discipline would improve. and lane hoggers and tail gaters would be less prevalent and driving would be a more pleasant experience
Yes totally, keep left unless overtaking as the highway code states, which would ease congesion and allow better traffic flow.
Seeing many middle lane hoggers in lane 4 of 5 close to heathrow airport is totally ridiculous, and , slows up the traffic throughput considerably to around 55-60mph, in an area they really need traffic to be flowing well.
Didn’t know about the 10% rule. I must speed up!
There is no 10% rule. Many authorities, at their own discretion, apply some sort of leeway to accommodate the variant in speedometers and other issues that could result in a false reading but there is nothing stopping them from issuing a fine for even 1 mph over. It’s often not worth it as 1 mph could be easily contested and that would be a waste of time and money but you can’t rely on it as it will vary from county to county.
I discovered the 10% error on speedos when I was travelling a couple of hundred miles expecting to arrive at a certain time assuming there were no traffic holdups. I arrived much later than expected 🙁 That was before they started restricting 70% of motorways to 50MPH for invisible roadworks.
No “error” on speedo. All speedometers are calibrated to show faster than actual speed. If one creeps over the speedo shown speed then there is no excuse for exceeding the actual speed limit.
At my speedo shown speed of 76 I am actually travelling at 70 mph. GPS tested.
There are no such things in the UK as Overtaking lanes or Fast lanes, you are expected to drive in the inside lane unless you can’t.
And Modern Vehicles Know what the Limits are!
In my experience they think they do but often get it wrong. The technology just isn’t good enough yet (and I work for a tech company).
no fast lane but there are overtaking lanes! As said above lane 1 ‘driving lane’ all other lanes are ‘overtaking lanes’ then you are expected to move back unless the 1st or driving lane is full.
The Government has been looking at changing the speed limit previously, but cost of changes and environmental concerns were put up as reasons to keep the status quo. Cars today are more than capable of operating safely at higher speeds and there is no reason why we should not adopt similar speed limits to those on the continent where it is safe to do so.
Yes CARS are capable of higher speeds BUT most of the drivers are NOT, the standard of driving is very poor & as such an increase in the speed limit I feel would only make things worse.
Join the discussion…
Yes I agree cars are safer today than 50 odd years ago but drivers are not, accidents are not caused by cars only by, drivers 70 is too fast for many drivers, steps need to be taken to improve the standard of driving before considering any changes to speed limits.
No matter what a speed limit is there are always drivers who drive much faster!
Yes 80mph is a safe and sensible limit
At 80 MPH, an object is traveling 117.33 feet/35.75 meters per second. Including reaction time, it takes nearly twice as long to stop at 80 MPH (400 feet/122 meters) as is does at 60 MPH (240 feet/73 meters). I fail to see how this is safer.
To follow at a safe distance at 80 MPH, each vehicle needs to be at least 8 full car lengths behind the other. This would spread out traffic, so it may not be as wholly efficient at moving traffic as it would appear.
The optimal fuel rating for most vehicles is calculated at 55 MPH. At 60 MPH, the vehicle is 3% less efficient. At 70 MPH, it is 17% less efficient. At 80 MPH, it is 28% less efficient.
Using fuzzy math, a litre of gas that costs 1.20 at 55 MPH costs 1.54 (28% more) at 80 MPH. The article mentions a paltry 10 million in savings annually if truck can drive at the less safe 80 MPH. However, there would be 28% offset to those unsubstantiated labor savings from additional fuel consumption.
Oh, and by the way, there IS climate change and it IS related to the burning of fossil fuels. At 80 MPH we’d be pouring 28% more emissions into the air that we and our children breath.
To me, this whole things sounds like Trump may visited Great Britain recently, acting as Rex Tillerson and the Koch brothers and Halliburton’s shill.
All very true, Bob. And for those who think we should follow the EU speed limits, some are MUCH lower than ours is now. But they are the countries that are taking climate change seriously! Perhaps we should campaign for LOWER speed limits?!
Your stopping distances assume you need to stop to avoid hitting a stationary vehicle. All other things being equal, the limiting factor is reaction time + velocity.
Yes. Finally some sense.
There is NEVER a time on a motorway when there is suddenly a stationery obstruction right in front of you. If the car in front of you has to go into an emergency procedure, then they have thinking time too, so they cancel each other out.
As a good driver, I am always aware of what is happening at least 3 cars ahead of me – not just the car in front, therefore I am reacting to any situation in plenty of time to take the correct action.
Climate Change my a**e
Do people (with a brain) still believe in man made climate cooling / warming / change – pick the decade.
Sorry to burst your bubble but the calculations used to estimate those stopping distances are out of date too. I can tell you from personal experience that it does not take 400 metres to stop from 80 mph. Furthermore, if you watched motoring shows you would see vehicles braking to a complete standstill from much higher speeds in well under 100 metres.
I guess completely isolated example and certainly not the rule, but 13 years old 188,000 miles Lexus IS250 stops from (real GPS) 90MPH in 74Metres, personal experience didn’t even trigger ABS. Any relatively modern and road worthy car made in last 20 years will stop well within 100 metres from 70 or 80 MPH. Try…
What about reaction time, drivers can be tired, unwell, old, young, distracted, on drugs/drink, worn tyre’s, worn brakes, road surface etc; a standard has to cover many different possibilities, the standard you give only applies to you and your car. Some of the main problems are drivers lacking forward planning, poor use of mirrors & lane discipline.
Unfortunately one cannot guarantee that the vehicle immediately behind you is a relatively modern and roadworthy vehicle being driven by an alert driver that will brake in time to avoid shunting your vehicle in the rear.
Such an accident would be his fault, not yours.
I watched Harry Potter and they could stop from immense speeds in like 5 meters.
Were they measuring that with a meter or a metre.
True. My modern car is very good at braking and remaining stable. Compare that to my 1966 Ford Cortina, which was quite good at that sort of thing in the day – but no comparison to now, a different universe.
Your logic is flawed. Assuming all the vehicles are doing 80 they each take 1 hour to do 80 miles regardless of the gap between them.