The UK has recently celebrated the 50th anniversary of the introduction of the 70mph speed limit. It was introduced for an initial four month trial period in 1965 and made permanent in 1967. To mark the occasion, the team has selected its top five facts about speed limits and motorways from around the world. Did you know…?    

1. The Isle of Man has no speed limit

Officially, there is no national speed limit on the Isle of Man. Some limits exist in built up urban areas at between 30 and 40mph. Careless and dangerous driving laws still apply though and any speed must be deemed safe and appropriate. Official surveys have found the majority of the population favour not having a national speed limit and appreciate the freedom they have.      

2. European speed limits

The majority of European countries have a higher speed limit than the UK. The highest speed limit is 80mph which several countries have in place including Germany, Italy and Croatia. The UK’s 70mph limit is the fifth lowest in Europe. Slower speed limits include Sweden, Latvia and Moldova at 68mph. Keep this in mind if you have any road trips across Europe planned.      

3. Higher speed, higher consumption

By driving faster you are increasing your car’s fuel consumption. Therefore, it is far more fuel efficient to drive at or below the 70mph speed limit. Raising the speed limit would be more detrimental to the environment and raise the UK’s overall carbon output, an issue the UK government is currently trying to tackle, as are other states around the world. Driving at a constant speed and avoiding accelerating and decelerating quickly are key factors in maximising fuel efficiency. 

4. Die autobahn

The German autobahn is one of the world’s most famous motorways. Their construction occurred at a rapid rate with 1,860 miles of road added just six years after the completion of the first Cologne-Bonn autobahn in 1932. The suggested speed limit is 80mph, however, there is no official limit. This is in part due to how well the roads are maintained, which allows for safer driving at higher speeds. It continues to be a proud example of German engineering and manufacturing.  

5. Life in the fast lane

The UK’s first motorway was the Preston bypass which was opened in 1958 and is now the M6. At the time there was 191,146 miles of road and 4.5 million cars. This has been significantly expanded over the years with the UK now having over 246,000 miles of road, including over 2,200 miles of motorway and over 35 million cars. Although not actually a motorway, the A1 is the longest A&B road in the UK which runs from London to Edinburgh, stretching at a distance of 410 miles.  

Sarah Lewis


December 24, 2015

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