U.K. speed limits
Obey the speed limits of pay the (high) price
I know: obvious one, right?
Problem is, there's this persistent myth that there are no speed limits in Europe. This is untrue.
Except when posted otherwise, the following speed limits apply all across the U.K.:
- 112 kmph (70 mph) is the speed limit on major highways in the U.K. (motorways—desingated "M#"—and divided highways, or "dual carriageways").
- 96 kmph (60 mph) is the speed limit on non-major highways in the U.K. (single carriageways).
- 48 kmph (30 mph) is the speed limit in "built-up areas" in the U.K.
Basically, unless you see a sign saying you can go faster, stick to 48 kmph (30 mph).
Yes, you will get a ticket
The U.K. has always been a bit stricter than the rest of Europe in enforcing speed limits, and has only gotten more stingent in recent years.
More and more cops have begun writing speedung tickets and—more insidiously—the U.K. just might be the world leader in traffic cams that can automatically issue tickets.
The minimum penalty for speeding is £100.
Since most speeding tickets only find their way to you via the rental car company—and the rental company will tack on enormous fees of their own to pass them along to you, you would be very wise to stick to the posted limits.
(I once got a $300 bill for having gone 6 mph above the speed limit on a country road in Sardegna).
- Gov.uk - Official UK governmental rules of the road, guides to road signs and their meaning, and more
- Amazon.com - A link to get road maps of Great Britain.Partner
- Slowtrav.com - Nice article introducing all of the quirks of driving in the United Kingdom—not just how to drive on the left, but roundabouts, highway types, speed cameras, and handy tips.
- Orcutt.net - Almost comically in-depth blog entry—with loads of links—about driving in the U.K. This guy went way above and beyond what's necessary when planning to drive on his British vacation, but it is about the most complete explanation of being on the British road from a Yankee's point of view as you'll ever find. Some good tips.
- Theaa.com - The British version of AAA provides, among other things, a monthly gas prices chart and a map of traffic incidents and slowdowns.
- Parkopedia.co.uk - live parking maps
- Tfl.gov.uk - Driving in London
- Cclondon.com - All about the infamous "congestion charge" you have to pay if you happen to drive in central London.
- Urbanaccessregulations.eu - Central clearinghouse for information on every city in Europe (most, nowawdays) that has some sort of limited access to the city center, congestion charging, Low Emission Zones, or other wrinkle you need to be aware of.
- Autoeurope.com - Wholesale prices on rentals (and short-term leases) from major rental companies. You end up picking up the car at the local Avis, Hertz, Europcar, or whatever office; you just pay less than the rack rate from those companies.Partner
- Rentalcars.com - Comparison shop the rates at multiple rental companies all at once.Partner
- Momondo.com - Comparison shop the rates at multiple rental companies all at once.Partner
- Europebycar.com - Offers both short-term rentals and short-term leases, making it easy to compare prices on a single site.
- Priceline.com - Actually finds good prices on U.K. rentals.Partner
- Vayama.com - aggregatorPartner
- Carrentals.com - This Expedia.com property searches about a dozen major rental companies at once.Partner