Learn about the National Speed Limit Applies road sign.


Approximately 2 minutes reading time

What Does The "National Speed Limit Applies" Sign Mean?

The national speed limit exists to aid in subduing motor vehicle emissions and noise brought about by traffic but primarily speeding. The sign also helps reduce the risk of traffic for UK residents. In addition, it advances the convenience of other road users such as pedestrians and cyclists.

What Does the Sign Mean?

The National Speed Limit applies sign is a white circle with a black diagonal line that cuts across it. This sign means that one can drive up to the national speed limit which is 60mph on single carriageways and 70mph on dual carriageways and motorways. However, this sign is not set as a TARGET speed. Before using it, you ought to consider the following:

  • Pedestrians, cyclists, or motorcyclists using the road
  • State of the weather
  • The roads bends and layouts
  • Other drivers using the road
  • The time you are driving- is it at night?

Ignore the speed limit sign and slow down if it is not safe to drive in it. On the other hand, if you are caught driving above the National Speed Limit required, you are subject to receiving penalties or even prohibited from driving.

How Common Is This Sign?

You will find the National Speed Limit sign mainly on single carriageways, dual carriageways and motorways. This sign varies according to the road and the kind of motor vehicle one is driving in. The sign has a limit of 20mph up to the national speed limit in the UK. Here is a breakdown of the roads you will find this sign and how it applies:

  • Dual carriageways- The sign changes depending on the type of vehicle, with speeds given differing if there are turns or hidden entrances
  • Restricted roads- Every vehicle is expected to drive at 30mph if it is safe to do so
  • Motorways- The national speed limit of 70mph applies except if signs oppose it. Note that you can attract penalties or warnings if you drive too slowly on this road. 
  • Country roads- Speed is shown depending on the motor vehicle, and keep to the speed shown unless a sign communicates otherwise
  • Single carriageways- The national speed limit varies between 40-60mph depending on the type of vehicle

Where Are You Likely to See The "National Speed Limit Applies" Sign?

This sign uses the two common speed signs- gateway and repeater.

  • The gateway is huge round signs communicating that the speed limit has been switched. You will find them on both are each of sides of the carriageway. This could be on the side of the road on a single-carriageway or both lanes on a dual carriageway.
  • On the other hand, the repeaters are tiny round signs that interchange between the carriageway's left and right.

You will primarily see the "national speed limit applies" road sign on single carriageways, dual carriageways and motorways but is not limited to this. 

When Did This Sign First Come into Action?

After opening the first highway in the UK in 1959, drivers were at liberty to drive at their speeds, leading to a rise in accidents. And on December 1965, a provisional 70mph was introduced on prior unrestricted roads and motorways for four months by the then minister of transport. In 1978, the national speed limit in the UK of 70mph was improvised.

Summary

If you are a new or current driver using the UK roads, be keen on the national speed limit sign to avoid attracting penalties. The sign is found mostly on carriageways and motorways. Remember to be conscious of your safety before driving at the speed given. 


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