It is likely that in your theory test you will get at least one question about the UK national speed limits. Different zones have different speed limits, and the limit also depends on factors such as if you are towing a caravan.

The general rules for national speed limits are as follows:

  • In a built up area with street lights, the speed limit is 30 mph
  • On a single carriageway road, the national speed limit is 60 mph
  • On a dual carriageway road or motorway, the national speed limit is 70 mph.

The speed limits remain the same for all hours of the day or night. However, if there are temporary signs that show a different speed limit, such as during roadworks, then you must obey these speed limits instead.

The table below shows the national speed limits (in miles per hour) for different areas and for different vehicles:

(Drag the table to scroll left and right)

 Built-up areaSingle carriagewayDual carriagewayMotorway
Cars and motorcycles30607070
Cars towing caravans / trailers30506060
Factors affecting the speed limit

Remember, the speed limit is the maximum speed that you are legally allowed to drive at. It does not mean that you should drive at this speed all the time. You should adjust your speed depending on numerous factors. These include:

  • Road conditions
  • If hazards are likely (e.g. children playing)
  • How much traffic there is
  • Road visibility (e.g. during heavy fog or at night)

The speed limit will be displayed by a round white sign with a red border, whilst the national speed limit is shown by a round white sign with a black diagonal stripe.

How fast you are travelling will increase your stopping distance. You will need to know all of the stopping, braking and thinking distances on different road conditions (dry, wet and icy) for the theory test so which you can learn about here.

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