Many drivers do not realise they have been speeding until they get a letter informing them that they have exceeded the limit. Modern cars are comfortable and powerful and sometimes it is easy to creep above the speed limit unintentionally. Here’s our list of 10 things you can do to avoid speeding.
1. Keep your eyes peeled for signs
Obviously, the best way to avoid getting a speeding fine is to stick to the speed limit. Signs are often placed at junctions because this is usually the point at which the limit changes; however, if you miss a sign or are not sure, always assume the limit is lower until you see a sign. Stay alert for sudden (and often poorly indicated) reductions in the speed limit.
2. Check your speedometer regularly
It’s often easy to misjudge your speed in a modern car as you can feel like you’re driving slower than you actually are. You should regularly check your speedometer, even when using cruise control.
3. Speed limits are a maximum
Keep in mind that the speed limit is a limit, not a target! There are situations where drivers should go slower than the indicated speed limit such as around schools during opening and closing times, when driving in adverse conditions and down narrow country roads.
Although many of us are confident drivers and drive the same routes almost every day (to work, to school, to the supermarket…) it’s easy to momentarily take your eye off the ball. Eating, smoking and talking on the phone are all distractions which will make you more likely to speed.
5. Take your time
The time it takes to complete a journey is determined more by your average speed over the whole journey, rather than the high speed you drive at for part of it. Exceeding the speed limit generally won’t get you to your destination much quicker and will cost you more in fuel. Give yourself plenty of time to complete your journey so you’re less tempted to speed.
6. Slow down when entering villages
Villages are generally surrounded by roads with 60mph speed limits which often drop straight down to 30mph as you enter the village. Prepare for this by gradually reducing your speed when you know that you’re coming up to a village to avoid sharp and dangerous braking.
7. What makes you speed?
Learn to recognise what factors tend to make you speed, whether it’s keeping up with the car in front of you or getting irritated by someone tailgating you. Learning to recognise your own 'speed triggers' will make it easier to avoid being 'pushed' into speeding. It will also make driving less stressful.
8. Watch out for children
A child’s awareness of danger on the roads is much lower than that of an adult, so it’s important to drive at a slow speed when children are, or may be, about. It’s difficult for children, especially young children, to judge how fast a car is moving and how far away the car is.
9. Use third gear
It is important for drivers to choose an appropriate gear for both their speed and the road. However, it is easier to notice if you are creeping above 30 mph when travelling in third gear and this can act as a warning to reduce your speed.
10. Look out for lamp posts
The law does not allow highway authorities to put repeater speed limit signs on 30 mph roads that have streetlights. Instead, the Highway Code advises that streetlights usually mean the limit is 30mph unless there are signs showing otherwise (the limit could also be 20mph).