You must not drive faster than the speed limit for the type of road and your type of vehicle.

The speed limit is the absolute maximum – it doesn’t mean it’s safe to drive at this speed in all conditions.

A speed limit of 30 miles per hour (mph) or 48 kilometres per hour (km/h) usually applies, unless you see signs showing otherwise.

National speed limits

Type of vehicle Built-up areas
mph(km/h)
Single carriageways
mph (km/h)
Dual carriageways
mph (km/h)
Motorways
mph (km/h)
Cars, motorcycles, car-derived vans and dual-purpose vehicles 30 (48) 60 (96) 70 (112) 70 (112)
Cars, motorcycles, car-derived vans and dual-purpose vehicles when towing caravans or trailers 30 (48) 50 (80) 60 (96) 60 (96)
Motorhomes or motor caravans (not more than 3.05 tonnes maximum unladen weight) 30 (48) 60 (96) 70 (112) 70 (112)
Motorhomes or motor caravans (more than 3.05 tonnes maximum unladen weight) 30 (48) 50 (80) 60 (96) 70 (112)
Buses, coaches and minibuses (not more than 12 metres overall length) 30 (48) 50 (80) 60 (96) 70 (112)
Buses, coaches and minibuses (more than 12 metres overall length) 30 (48) 50 (80) 60 (96) 60 (96)
Goods vehicles (not more than 7.5 tonnes maximum laden weight) 30 (48) 50 (80) 60 (96) 70 (112)
60 (96) if articulated or towing a trailer
Goods vehicles (more than 7.5 tonnes maximum laden weight) in England and Wales 30 (48) 50 (80) 60 (96) 60 (96)
Goods vehicles (more than 7.5 tonnes maximum laden weight) in Scotland 30 (48) 40 (64) 50 (80) 60 (96)

Vans, car-derived vans and dual-purpose vehicles

Most vans:

  • have a lower speed limit than cars
  • must follow the speed limits for goods vehicles of the same weight

Vehicles under 2 tonnes laden (loaded) weight may qualify as a ‘car-derived van’ or ‘dual-purpose vehicle’. These vehicles have the same speed limits as cars.

Motorhomes

Motorhomes or motor caravans are classed as goods vehicles if they:

  • carry goods for exhibition and sale
  • are used as a workshop
  • are used for storage

Locally set speed limits

Local councils can set their own speed limits in certain areas, and these must be clearly signed.

For example:

  • 20 mph zone in a built-up area near a school
  • 50 mph (rather than 60 mph) limit on a stretch of road with sharp bends

Speed limiters

A speed limiter must be fitted on:

  • vehicles with more than 8 passenger seats, eg buses, minibuses, coaches, stretch limousines
  • goods vehicles with a maximum laden weight of more than 3.5 tonnes

Speed limiters are designed to reduce accidents. They limit the maximum speed of a vehicle by restricting the fuel supply to the engine. Having a speed limiter may mean that your vehicle can’t reach the speed limit.

 

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