Drivers are more likely to exceed the speed limit at the weekend, at night-time and on roads where the limit is 30mph, new government statistics suggest.

While 46% of cars exceeded the speed limit on motorways in Britain last year, and 10% on 60mph roads, more than half (52%) did so on 30mph roads, according to the latest government figures, which are based on cars driving in ‘free-flowing’ conditions.

The statistics also reveal differences in speeding behaviour depending on when people are on the road. 

In fact, the proportion of vehicles complying with speed limits was higher on weekdays than on weekends. Taking 30mph roads for example, half (50%) of cars exceeded the speed limit on weekdays with 56% doing so on weekends. 

Percentage of cars exceeding speed limit by day of week

Source: DFT

Time of day seems to make a difference too. Drivers are most likely to exceed the speed limit in the early hours of the morning, when roads are much quieter.

Vehicle speeds by time of day

Source: DFT

Why do people speed?

The RAC Report on Motoring 2018 asked drivers why they speed. The top reason was “I drive according to the speed of other road users”, which was given by 41% of motorway users and 27% of 30mph road users. On 20mph roads, users most often cited the speed limit being inappropriate as the contributor to their exceeding the speed limit (31%).

Other reasons given by drivers for speeding included not looking at the speedometer enough, feeling pressure from other drivers behind and feeling it’s safe to go faster than the speed limit.

Top tips to avoid speeding

Whatever type of road you’re driving on, here are some simple tips to avoid speeding:

  1. Concentrate and watch out for signs, so you know the speed limit wherever you are.
  2. Assume lamp posts mean 30mph, but watch for 20mph signs.
  3. Remember, they are speed ‘limits’, not ‘targets’.
  4. Don’t exceed 20pmh when there are children near the road.
  5. To help stay below the limit in a 30mph zone, try not to go higher than third gear.
  6. Try and get to grips with what makes you speed. It might be overtaking, rushing or being tailgated.
  7. Slow down when entering villages.
  8. Allow as much time as possible for any journey, so you’re not rushing.

Go to Solved to read more about road safety.