Speed Limits

Speed Limits


Speed limits in the UK vary according to the type of vehicle being driven and the type of road being driven on. Driving just a few miles over the signed limit does make a difference.

speed limits

All speeds are shown in miles per hour.
The national speed limit applies to any non-built-up road unless signs show otherwise

 Remember: If there is street lighting then you are likely to be in a 30mph limit. Where there is street lighting but the limit is higher than 30mph there will be signs giving the limit for that stretch of road.

Stopping Distances


The figures outlined below assume dry weather conditions and good tyres on an average family saloon car. Remember that stopping distances will vary according to weather conditions and that some cars may perform in different ways.


You need to leave enough space between you and the vehicle in front so that you can pull up/stop safely if it suddenly slows down. Leave a two second gap between you and the vehicle in front. In bad weather conditions this gap should be at least doubled. Remember that motorcycles and larger vehicles will need a greater distance to stop, so be aware.


No matter how good the driver may think they or their car is, the difference between driving at 30mph and driving a few miles over the limit, will mean that a much longer stopping distance will be needed, which could lead to tragic consequences.


20 mph
20 mph stopping distance
Thinking Distance6 metres
Braking Distance6 metres
= 12 metres(40 feet) or 3 car lengths

30 mph
30 mph stopping distance
Thinking Distance9 metres
Braking Distance14 metres
= 23 metres(75 feet) or 6 car lengths

40 mph
40 mph stopping distance
Thinking Distance12 metres
Braking Distance24 metres
= 36 metres(120 feet) or 9 car lengths

50 mph
50 mph stopping distance
Thinking Distance15 metres
Braking Distance38 metres
= 53 metres(175 feet) or 13 car lengths

60 mph
60 mph stopping distance
Thinking Distance18 metres
Braking Distance55 metres
= 73 metres(240 feet) or 18 car lengths

70 mph
70 mph stopping distance
Thinking Distance21 metres
Braking Distance75 metres
= 96 metres(315 feet) or 24 car lengths

Thinking distance
Thinking Distance
Braking distance
Braking Distance
Average car length = 4 metres

Further Information


The offical Highway Code is available to purchase in most bookshops. The latest revised 2007 edition can also be found at http://www.direct.gov.uk/highwaycode


The speed limit is the absolute maximum and does not mean it is safe to drive at that speed irrespective of conditions. Driving at speeds too fast for the road and traffic conditions can be dangerous.


You should always reduce your speed when:


  • The road layout or condition presents hazards, such as bends
  • Sharing the road with pedestrians and cyclists, particularly children and motorcyclists
  • Weather conditions make it safer to do so
  • Driving at night, as it is harder to see other road users