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Rules and regulations

The 5 biggest reasons to slow down for speed limit changes

*updated December 2021

We know - 'speed limits are there for a reason'. We've heard it a million times.

But do you ever properly think about what those reasons are? If you don't, it's pretty easy to ignore that 30 sign as you cruise happily at 50...and then find those reasons out the hard way.

There's always a reason for a big drop in speed, like from 70mph to 50 or 50mph to 30. Ignoring it puts you and everyone around you in danger.
  1. Something bad happened there

    Speed limits are often up to local councils. If serious crashes happen regularly in a certain area, the council may be forced to change the speed limit.

    So when you see a decrease in speed limit sign, think about what might have happened there.

    Don't be the reason it has to change again.

  2. There is a hidden hazard

    Even if you drive this route every single day, you don't see what goes on when you're not there. A speed limit may have been set to account for something that happens on that road: farm access, school start and finish, community centre activities - you just never know.

    Don't risk a nasty surprise.

  3. This road gets crazy

    A road may be plain sailing 364 days of the year but if it's prone to, say, flooding or tree falls - do you really want to be doing 50mph on that one unlucky day?

    In reality, if a road is a flood risk or is known to get a lot of fallen trees in bad weather, it's going to be dangerous more than one day a year.

    Don't assume it's safe.

  4. Your brain needs to reset

    Remember: After driving at 70mph, 40 will feel REALLY slow. Make a point of regularly checking your speed after a big drop.

    When you come off the motorway, you might quickly find yourself approaching a 50mph or even 30mph limit. And if you’re not paying enough attention, that could mean having to brake harshly to control your speed - or missing the change altogether.

    Preparing for big speed changes is incredibly important. You must be alert for new hazards and that requires a much lower speed. If you don’t slow down, it’s simple - you’re more likely to crash.

    But it's not just leaving the motorway that's the issue - with variable speed limits for high traffic areas and toll roads, you need to stay sharp on the motorway too. Plan your route so you know exactly what you're going to encounter on the journey.

    Don't drive on auto-pilot.

  5. You're one of the good guys

    Respecting other people is a big part of being on the road, whether that's other drivers, cyclists or pedestrians. In a residential area, particularly a village, it's only fair to be considerate to the people that live there.

    If you've ever been knocked off your bike, nearly hit head-on down a narrow country lane or drenched as you walked to school, you'll know there are already enough thoughtless motorists.

    Don't be the bad guy.

  6. That's 5 big reasons to read up on speed limits now.