National Speed Limit UK

National Speed Limit in UK: Everything you need to know

Last updated on January 12th, 2024 at 11:13 am

Understanding speed limits is crucial to avoid fines, license points, or the need for speed awareness courses. Every road has specific speed restrictions, with the national speed limit sign serving as a key indicator. Worried about the details? No need; we’ve got you covered. Explore comprehensive answers to your most common questions about the national speed limit to ensure a smooth and informed driving experience, free from complications



national speed limit sign uk

What is the national speed limit?

What exactly does the term ‘national speed limit’ mean? It refers to the maximum legal speed permitted on specific road types within a country. Governments set standard speed limits for different categories of roads, a regulation aimed at ensuring road safety and maintaining uniform speed guidelines. These limits vary from one country to another, promoting a safer and more consistent driving experience for all road users

  • In built-up areas (with street lighting), the limit is 30 mph (48 km/h).
  • On single-carriageway roads, it’s 60 mph (96 km/h) for cars and motorcycles.
  • On dual carriageway speed limit is 70 mph (112 km/h) for cars and motorcycles.


Understanding the national speed limit in the UK

Constantly adjust your speed based on road and weather conditions, and obey lower speed limits on road signs.

single carriageway

Navigating the road: National speed limit for single carriageway

On single-carriageway roads, the standard speed limit for vans, cars, and motorcycles is 60 miles per hour (mph). This limit applies unless road signs or variable displays specify otherwise. It’s crucial for drivers to consistently adhere to posted limits, adjusting their speed based on road conditions, traffic volume, and visibility. Safety on single-carriageway roads is of utmost importance. A responsible driving approach involves maintaining a pace that enables swift reactions to unforeseen situations, ensuring the safety and well-being of all road users.


Speeding safely: The national speed limit on dual carriageway
The national speed limit sign on dual carriageways is typically 70 miles per hour (mph) for cars and motorcycles unless road signs or electronic displays indicate variable speed limits or local restrictions. Always prioritise safety and adjust your speed according to conditions.
Motorcycle speed limit UK: Rules and tips for drivers

In the United Kingdom, motorways are the fastest and safest roads and have their speed limits and regulations. Here’s what you need to know:

  1. Motorway national speed limit

The default speed limit on motorways for cars and motorcycles is 70 miles per hour (mph), approximately 112 kilometres per hour (km/h). This is the maximum legal speed unless indicated otherwise by road signs or variable speed limit displays.

  1. Variable speed limits

Many motorways in the UK have variable speed limits displayed on overhead gantries or electronic signs. These limits can change due to road conditions, traffic volume, or incidents. Drivers must obey these variable limits, and they are legally enforceable.

  1. Minimum speed limit

While there is no specific minimum UK national speed limit on motorways, it’s essential to maintain a safe and appropriate speed for the conditions. Driving excessively slowly can be as hazardous as going too fast, so constantly adapt your speed to traffic flow.

  1. Adverse weather

In adverse weather conditions, such as heavy rain, fog, or snow, reducing your speed and increasing your following distance is crucial. The highway code speed limit may be too fast for these conditions.

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  1. Speed cameras

Motorways are equipped with various speed enforcement methods, including fixed and mobile speed cameras. These cameras monitor compliance with speed limits, and penalties can be imposed for speeding.

  1. Overtaking and lane discipline

Keep to the left lane when not overtaking. Use the right roads for overtaking slower-moving vehicles. After overtaking, return to the left lane when it is safe. This helps maintain smooth traffic flow and reduces congestion.

  1. Lane hogging

Continuously driving in the middle or right lanes without overtaking is discouraged and can lead to congestion and frustration among other drivers. Always return to the left lane after overtaking.

  1. Safety first



Remember that safety should be your top priority. Even when the national motorway speed limit allows, driving at a speed that ensures you have enough time to react to unexpected situations and hazards is essential for your safety and the safety of others
Understanding van speed limits: UK national speed limit

Van speed limits in the UK on motorways and dual carriageways for goods vehicles weighing over 2.5 tons are typically 60 miles per hour (mph). For vans on single-carriageways, the limit is usually 50 mph. However, it’s crucial to check for specific road signs indicating different limits and adjust your speed accordingly.
Commercial vehicle speed limits: What you need to know

Navigating the speed limits for vans in the UK or commercial vehicles is essential for businesses and drivers. 

  • Motorways: Typically, 60 mph for goods vehicles over 7.5 tons.
  • Dual carriageway speed limit: Often 60 mph.
  • Single carriageway speed limit: Typically, 50 mph for larger goods vehicles.
  • Variable limits: Watch for electronic signs.
  • Adherence: Follow limits to avoid penalties.
  • Safety: Prioritize safety and adjust speed as needed.
  • Local restrictions: Be aware of lower limits in specific areas.


What is a dual carriageway?

A dual carriageway is a road with two separate lanes of traffic divided by a central reservation or median.

What is a carriageway?

 A carriageway is a defined part of a road intended for vehicle traffic

What is a single-carriageway?

A single-carriageway is a road with one traffic lane in each direction, without a central divider.

What is the difference between a dual carriageway and a motorway?

The difference between a dual carriageway and a motorway lies in access control and speed limits

What is the speed limit for a car towing trailer on a motorway?

With motorways having stricter access control and higher speed limits, the motorway speed limit for a car towing a trailer is usually 60 mph in the UK;

What should you do as you approach this overhead bridge?

As you approach an overhead bridge, you should be prepared for reduced visibility and potential hazards, exercising caution.

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