Speeding Myths: 3 Essential Considerations Why 80 Shouldn’t Be the New 70

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Jake Burges

Speeding is pretty intuitive, right?

If you’re coasting along 10mph above the limit, then you’re travelling ten extra miles every hour. You’ll be there in no time!

Except that, in reality, you won’t.

Long Distance Doesn’t Mean Big Savings

Speeding cannot be condoned: the law exists for a reason, and serves to protect our health and that of others. That said, let’s not pretend that speeding isn’t a common, everyday occurrence across the UK. The people at THINK! have produced which have, in general, given most of us second thoughts about speeding in pedestrian areas.

However, the majority of speeding in the UK (not targeting any single demographic) is on motorways and expressways. Why? Because you’re driving further, so breaching the limit will save you loads of time. Plus, there aren’t any pedestrians, so it’s safer. Though it’s counterintuitive, speeding on the motorway is actually less effective at saving you time than, for example, speeding in a 30mph zone.

It’s all relative.

Thinking Things Through

On the motorway, a 100-mile trip at 70mph (assuming you never leave the motorway) will take 1h 26m. The same trip at 80mph will be 11 minutes shorter. If you do make that journey at 80mph, there’s a fair chance you’ll be spotted by a speed camera and fined. Is that worth it?

rear facing seat
Many miles of motorways use overhead gantry cameras to police them, smart motorways have them on parts of M25, M6, M5, M4 and M1

Let’s say you’re smarter than that, and when you see a speed camera, you quickly slow down, drive at 70, then accelerate back to 80. Over 100 miles, you’ll have to do that a fair few times, and your average speed might drop to, say, 78. Now you’re saving 9 minutes.

In reality, there’s no way a 100-mile trip doesn’t involve traffic, a belligerent lorry driver or a whole bunch of red lights. We can’t put an exact figure on it, but that will drop your savings to well below 9 minutes. Does speeding still seem that effective?

The Risk

If you break the speed limit in the UK, you will receive a £100 fine and get 3 points on your license. That’s the minimum. If you really want to save time on that 100-mile trip, then you’d probably need to be 30-40% over the speed limit. If you try that and something goes wrong, there is very little chance that you would survive an accident.

Let’s say there’s no accident. You miraculously manage 90+ mph the whole time you’re on the motorway, saving yourself around 23 minutes over 100 miles. Then you get caught. Now you’re looking at up to 6 points and a month’s suspension on your licence. Plus a much heavier fine.

speeding fines in the UK
Go through our fines and limits mock test to avoid other unpleasant surprises on the road (toptests.co.uk)

Now let’s say you get away with it. You’ve approached 100mph on the motorway, endangering the life of yourself and anyone else on that road. You’ve managed to skirt the law and avoid getting caught, at least this one time. After the traffic lights, junctions and reduced speeds in town, you’ve managed to get there 10-15 minutes ahead of schedule. Over a hundred miles, you’ve saved barely a dozen minutes.

So tell us again: why are you speeding?


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