How to drive at the appropriate speed

Motorway traffic with long exposure

Limit your speed - limit the risk

Not being able to stop in time is the biggest cause of death on Britain’s roads. One in three deaths could have been avoided if the driver had been going slower in towns or on rural roads.

In town: drive at 20mph

In urban areas where cars mix with motorbikes, pedestrians and cyclists, drive at 20mph. At 20mph a pedestrian hit by a car stands a 90 per cent chance of surviving. At 40mph they stand a 90 per cent chance of dying.

Out of town: observe the speed limits

At all times, on all roads, drive well within the limits. Keep a watchful eye on the signed limits and your speedo, and check speed when going down hills. It’s easier to maintain a steady speed by using a lower gear, such as third gear at 30mph, or fourth at 40mph.

Ensure you can stop in the distance you can see

Ensure you have time to slow or stop for the unexpected. Nothing happens ‘suddenly’ to good drivers. Keep your distance, slow for a hazard and plan an escape route if you suddenly find the route blocked – perhaps by another driver pulling out at a T-junction without seeing you.

Never rush – ring ahead

Running late? That’s no excuse to break the speed limit. Stop and call ahead to let the relevant people know you’ll be late.

Don’t kid yourself

So, you think you’re pretty handy at the wheel? Well, keep your skills for speed to the race track and concentrate on remaining focussed and disciplined at all times.

Modern cars often don’t feel fast

New cars are positively luxurious and far safer compared with those of 20 years ago. Never let this lull you into a false sense of security. It’s possible to set a speed warning on some models, which will alert you when you pass 70mph on the motorway, for example.

Don’t go with the flow

Do not allow others to influence you to go faster. Slow down and let them overtake in a safe place.

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