You mustn’t drive faster than the speed limit for the type of road and your type of vehicle. The speed limit is the absolute maximum and it doesn’t mean it’s safe to drive at this speed in all conditions.

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

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 and vehicles (including dual-purpose vehicles and car-derived vans up to 2 tonnes maximum laden weight) 30 (48) 60 (96) 70 (112) 70 (112)
Cars towing caravans or trailers (including car-derived vans and motorcycles) 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)
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) 30 (48) 40 (64) 50 (80) 60 (96)

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

Vans and ‘car-derived’ vans

Most vans are under 7.5 tonnes laden (loaded) weight and must follow the speed limits for goods vehicles of the same weight.

‘Car-derived’ vans weigh no more than 2 tonnes when loaded and are based on car designs, for example:

  • Ford Fiesta van
  • Vauxhall Astra van
  • Fiat Punto van
  • Peugeot 207 van
  • Renault Clio van

Locally set speed limits

Local councils can also 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 - known as public service vehicles (PSVs)
  • goods vehicles with a maximum laden weight of more than 3.5 tonnes

Speed limiters are designed to prevent accidents. They stop vehicles going over the speed limit by restricting the fuel supply to the engine. They may also mean that your vehicle can’t reach the speed limit.

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