A consultation is underway to decide if the UK motorway speed limit should be increased from 70mph to 80mph. Motorists in this country will have strong views on the merits of that but how would car owners across the rest of Europe look at the maximum speeds we set for our roads?
The graphic below from confused.com compares the UK’s speed limits for motorways, rural roads and urban areas with those set by our European neighbours. You’ll spot that there’s quite a disparity between the maximum speeds allowed in different countries and that there are plenty of nations where it’s legal for motorway traffic to travel a lot faster than it currently can here.
Is it time to raise the UK speed limit?
If you ignore Germany’s derestricted autobahns, Poland has the highest motorway speed limit with 87mph while Iceland has the lowest, enforcing a 56mph maximum. On rural roads, however, only Germany and Austria allow vehicles to travel faster than the UK’s 60mph limit. That’s in stark contrast to our 30mph limit for built-up areas, which is the lowest of all the countries included except for Albania.
Local weather, road and driving conditions clearly have a big impact but there still doesn’t seem to be too much consensus around Europe and some might say that’s not unusual.
Understandably, there are lots of strongly held and emotive opinions around the issue of how fast is fast enough for UK roads. Questions on the kind of impact any move to raise speed limits might have on journey times, vehicle efficiency and road safety will continue to cause controversy.