The UK Rules
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National Speed Limits

National Speed Limit UK Highway Code

What is the national speed limit UK? Speeding maximums apply for safe motoring in 'optimum conditions'. The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) regulate UK driving speed limits.

HIGHWAY CODE SPEED LIMITS: National speed limits set the maximum allowance for driving all vehicles on public roads.

The UK national speed limit is 70 miles per hour for cars and motorcycles traveling on a dual carriageway.

UK Highway code speed limits are 60 mph for cars and motorcycles when traveling on single carriageways.

Driving speed limits on minor roads with street lighting is set at 30 miles per hour (48 km/h). The same 30 mph speed limit applies to almost all roads unless a sign shows different.

There could be an exception where road traffic speed signs state a different speed limit in UK. But, each speed limit allowance may not represent prudent driving speed limits for all situations on all highways.

Speeding fines vary for certain types of roads and for different vehicular ratings. So, they may differ for cars and vans. Different rules also apply to the commercial vehicle speed limits and for heavy goods vehicles (HGV speed limits).

Note: These enshrined laws are the Highway Code Speed Limits. There are driving penalties and endorsements for speeding faster than the UK driving speed limits.

How National Speed Limit Applies: Table in MPH (km/h)

Type of Vehicle (car, van, bus, motorhome, heavy goods vehicles, minibus) Speed Limit in Built-up Areas Speed Limit on Single Carriageway Speed Limit Dual Carriageway Speed Limit on Motorway UK
Cars and motorcycles (includes dual-purpose and car derived vans up to 2 tonnes maximum laden weight) 30 (48) 60 (96) 70 (112) 70 (112)
Cars towing caravans or trailers (includes car derived vans and motorcycles) 30 (48) 50 (80) 60 (96) 60 (96)
Motor homes or motor caravans or trailers (not more than 3.05 tonnes max laden weight) 30 (48) 60 (96) 70 (112) 70 (112)
Motor homes or motor caravans or trailers (more than 3.05 tonnes max laden weight) 30 (48) 50 (80) 60 (96) 70 (112)
Buses, coaches, and mini buses (not more than 12 meters overall length) 30 (48) 50 (80) 60 (96) 70 (112)
Buses, coaches, and mini buses (more than 12 meters overall length) 30 (48) 50 (80) 60 (96) 60 (96)
Goods vehicles (7.5 tonnes max laden weight) *articulated or towing trailer 30 (48) 50 (80) 60 (96) 70 (112) *60 (96)
Goods vehicles (more than 7.5 tonnes max laden weight) in Scotland 30 (48) 40 (64) 50 (80) 60 (96)
Goods vehicles (more than 7.5 tonnes max laden weight) in England and Wales 30 (48) 50 (80) 60 (96) 60 (96)

National Speed Limit for Vans (Ford Transit Van)

As a rule the UK speed limit for vans is 10 mph slower than the maximums for cars. The same rule applies to vehicles fitted with more than eight passenger seats.

Commercial vehicles under 7.5 tonnes laden weight (loaded) must comply with van speed limits UK. That means vans must follow the same allowances as for goods vehicles of the same weight.

Speed Limiters for Vans and Commercials

Fitting speed limiters to vans and large commercial vehicles prevents them from going over the speed limit. They work by restricting the amount of fuel supplied to the engine. The design helps to prevent road accidents.

European speed limiter requirements must be set at 56 mph or lower. All vehicles must have a speed limiter fitted if:

Dual-purpose Vehicles and Car-derived Vans

Car-derived vans weighing less than 2 tonnes when loaded get based on the design of each individual car. Examples include:

You can drive a saloon car at 70 mph according to the speed limit on a dual carriageway. But, a Ford Transit van gets classed as a goods vehicle (not a car-derived van). So its classification restricts these vehicle types to a maximum speed limit for vans of 60mph.

Motorhome and Caravan Speed Limits.

If you drive a motor home or a motor caravan it gets classed as a goods vehicle if:

Council Speed Limit Allowance

Councils may set specific local speed restrictions. They often restrict driving speeds in some specific areas. The maximum limits will be road signed to inform motorists.

Council speed limits are supplementary to Highway Code maximums. For example:

UK National Speed Limit Motorway England

There are only a few minimum speed limits in the United Kingdom. A minimum speed limit can exist inside some road tunnels. But the Highway Code national speed limit on motorways is set at 70 miles per hour for most vehicles.

The motorway speed limit in England is the absolute maximum permitted by motoring laws in the United Kingdom. But beware that driving a vehicle or motorcycle at speeds which are too fast for the road and traffic conditions can be extremely dangerous.

What is the National Speed Limit Sign?

Sign Showing National Speed Limit AppliesUK National Speed Limit Sign
A road sign with a white circle and black diagonal stripe running from right to left represents the national speed limit sign.

The road sign for national speed limit in the UK is for guidance only. The maximum motorway speed limit does not mean that it is safe to drive at that speed irrespective of road and weather conditions.

Motorways prohibit access for certain classes of slower moving vehicles. They include those of any class which cannot maintain 25 mph on the level while unladen. Road safety rules say drivers should not cause unnecessary obstruction by driving unusually slowly.

Motorway Speed Limit 80 MPH

The UK Government is considering a plan to raise motorway speed limit to 80 miles per hour. The Transport Secretary suggests increasing the national speed limit on the busiest highways.

In particular, the plan involves making the motorway speed limit 80 mph. This could eventually happen on the new 'smart motorways' emerging around the United Kingdom.

Speeding Penalties

The minimum penalty for speeding is a £100 fine. You will also get three penalty points added to your driving licence. Driving disqualifications are likely if you amass 12 points in a three year period.

New drivers who build up six (6) penalty points in the first two years of passing the driving test could have their licence revoked.

The UK Highway Code Speed Limits are quite specific on the maximum speeds allowed. All motorists should conform to them - both for safety and legal consequences.

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Highway Code Speed Limits for Cars, Vans, and HGV in the United Kingdom