Understanding and being confident on the speed limits on different road types is very hand to know and could avoid you driving un safely. Also this could reduce the risk of a fine, penalty or disqualification.


Whilst it is truly beneficial and important to become familiar with the speed limits for certain kinds of roads, it can be challenging to make a judgement when driving on an unidentified road.

To determine the speed limit, search for a number showed within a red circle sign. Minimum speed limit indications happen, although far more occasionally, these are shown by a blue circle indication with a white number. These are sometimes seen in tunnels as stationary or slow-moving traffic can in fact be considered a traffic danger to the free-flowing traffic in the tunnel.

In general terms, when driving within built-up areas, a speed limit of 30 miles per hour will apply unless road signs indicate otherwise. This is because of the increased possibility of hazards on these roads such as children and more-vulnerable people and cyclists. You need to be vigilant on these roadways. Sticking to the appropriate speed and having fast reactions to dangers will assist minimise the risk of threat on these roads.

Single carriageway roads, those that have no barrier separating your lane and approaching traffic, operate differently. Depending on the prevailing roadway signs, you can drive to an optimum of 60 miles per hour on these roadways. Then, there are double carriageways, roads with a main reservation to separate the carriageways. Similarly, depending on the dominating road signs, you can drive to an optimum of 70 miles per hour on these roads. Finally, when driving on motorways, significant roads designed for high speed travel and long distances, you should not exceed 70 miles per hour.


If you see a sign that states, ‘nationwide speed limit applies’ or alternatively, a white circle with a black diagonal line through it, this means you can take a trip up to the max speed limitation for that roadway, e.g. double carriageways and motorways as much as 70 miles per hour.

Some things to keep in mind:

A speed limit of 30 miles per hour applies to all single carriageway and dual carriageway roads with street lights, unless there are signs stating otherwise.

When driving at faster speeds, it ends up being harder to stop quickly. As you increase your speed, make sure that you increase your stopping range between yourself and the car in front of you. Always be vigilant of potential threats which may trigger you to stop suddenly.

Speed limits might vary if differing situations occur for example, towing a trailer or a caravan and driving a motorhome over 3.0 tonnes. For additional information about how speed limitations can vary based on the vehicle you’re driving see our handy infographic below.


If you are captured speeding the minimum result is a ₤100 fine and 3 penalty points. You might be asked to go on a speed awareness course which will avoid set penalty points being used towards your licence, nevertheless you will still have to pay the fine. The speed awareness course is a theory-based workshop intended at assisting those who have sped understand the factors for their speeding and reduce the likelihood of it taking place once again in the future.

Having a good understanding of speed limitations and the type of roads to which they use will make your driving experience a lot easier. It is essential to end up being knowledgeable about them for both your theory and driving test. After all, who wants to spend lots of money learning how to drive just to risk it for an extra 5mph.