When it comes to driving safely, speeding is a big cause for concern. The faster you travel, the longer the braking distance, and the quicker your reaction times have to be to avoid certain situations. Ultimately, speed limits are put in place for a reason, and as Think! explains: “The difference of a few miles per hour can mean the difference between life and death.”

It has been proven time and time again that speeding is one of the main factors of fatal road accidents. According to Think!, the risk of death amongst pedestrians when hit by a car traveling at 40mph instead of 30mph is four times higher.

The cost of speeding

The cost of the fine incurred when a driver speeds has been a hot topic lately, and as of April 2017, there is going to be another crackdown on those motorists that are making our roads unsafe by speeding.

For those drivers who speed dramatically, they will be fined 150% of their weekly income, which is an increase of 50%. These penalties will be served to those caught speeding excessively, for example at 101 mph and over in a 70 mph area, or 50 mph and over in a 30mph zone. The reason for increasing the fines is to fall in line with the seriousness of the offence. The higher the speed you are caught driving, the higher the fine will be.

Rules on disqualification, penalty points and other fines for breaking the speed limit are unchanged, and still apply also. When caught travelling at the following speeds, you will receive the new increased fine:

  • 41mph and over in a 20mph zone
  • 51mph and over in a 30mph zone
  • 66mph and over in a 40mph zone
  • 76mph and over in a 50mph zone
  • 91mph and over in a 60mph zone
  • 101mph and over in a 70mph zone

A worthy deterrent

If you are caught speeding, no matter how fast you are travelling over the speed limit, you will be served with penalty points, a fine and even potentially a disqualification. In extreme cases, a prison sentence is an option too, especially if your speeding causes an accident.

There could be a possibility to go on a speed awareness course when you have been caught speeding, to help you understand the consequences and improve your driving behaviour. You are allowed to attend one speed awareness course every three years. The courses have been designed to help you improve your driving and reduce the chances of you continuing to travel at high speeds – or being involved in an accident.

This fine increase has been welcomed by many automobile authorities, including the RAC, who point out that any driver that breaks the speed limit excessively is a huge danger to every other road user – and is putting people’s lives at risk. Pete Williams, a road safety spokesman from the RAC, believes hitting speeding drivers with a hefty fine will make them rethink their speeding ways.

So what can you do to prevent yourself from speeding?

First and foremost, it is important to remember the speed limit displayed on the road you are travelling on is the highest speed you should be travelling, if safe to do so. When travelling during bad weather, however, the speed limit of the road could become dangerous to drive at.

Therefore, it is always important to read the road ahead as best you can and adapt your driving style and speed to suit the weather conditions. For example, if it is pouring with rain and your visibility has been reduced while you are driving, the best option is to slow your speed down and increase the distance between you and the car in front. This is because  your braking distances increase in wet weather. Then, if something should happen, you can allow yourself to slow down as quickly and safely as possible, with enough distance in front of you to do so.

Don’t feel pressured if a driver behind you is driving close to you, and egging you on to speed. The best option for this situation is to pull over in a safe place and let them pass you. Otherwise, the driver behind may try and overtake you, which then puts you in a position where you are no longer in control of what happens. The driver may not pass in an appropriate place, and possibly hasn’t assessed the road ahead, which can put you, the overtaking driver, any other road users and pedestrians in a dangerous position, with an accident more likely to happen.

It is so important to remember that there is no need to speed, no matter what the situation you find yourself in. Speed limits are there to limit your speed to a safer level, according to the area you are travelling through and to protect you and other road users. The new speeding fines come into force on the 24th April 2017.