Progress - Main Roads
Driving at an appropriate speed
Circular signs give orders - where there is a red circle around a speed limit, this is the maximum legal speed allowed. On main roads 30mph is safe whilst clear of hazards and when you do not have poor weather conditions. Minor roads, which are the majority, are 30mph zones are more likely to be unsafe to drive at the maximum!
Take into account conditions on each individual road. The quieter the road, the more likely you are to encounter hazards such as parked cars, pedestrians including children possibly at play. Take extra care when passing schools, shops etc. Speed bumps are designed to slow the traffic down in areas where traffic may otherwise drive too fast. Traffic calming measures are designed to slow traffic down.
See "Meeting Traffic".
A speed limit with a blue background will be the minimum safe speed allowed (if clear).Rectangular signs inform - this sign is a recommended speed - not an order. (However it may not be safe to continue at the maximum speed that applied to the road you are on).
The higher the speed limit then you will find the road is more of a main route and clear of houses, shops, schools etc. With having far fewer hazards then it is safer and appropriate to make progress (often on a straight road this would be maximum speed) as long as the road is clear and again you are not driving in poor weather. Look further ahead for hazards on faster roads so you can be ready to reduce your speed accordingly and keep a safe distance. (see below)
Look out for speed limits - check mirrors well before change of speed or direction
You will have the new limit sign on both sides of the road you are on or you are entering. If you have a speed limit sign on just one side of the road - this is normally smaller and a reminder of the existing speed limit of the road you are on.
You must make sure when the speed limit reduces i.e. coming out of a national speed limit road which may turn to 30mph limit that you are not going over 30mph when you pass the sign.
You must also make sure where speed limit increases that you wait until you pass the sign before speeding up.
Note: After travelling on a fast road you would need to keep an eye on your speed, as it is easier to be travelling faster than you think you are. 6 penalty points in the first 2 years of passing your test will result in needing to re-take both the theory and practical tests.
National Speed Limit Roads
Even when national speed limit roads are clear it is not always safe or appropriate to drive at the maximum speed - a very high percentage of all road fatalities occur on country roads. It will only be safe to travel at the maximum speed when you have a clear stretch of road. These roads often have sharp bends - could be narrow and sometimes hilly.
The roads are often not lit and have no pavements and it is likely you may come across pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders etc. National speed limits are normally in rural areas therefore farm vehicles and animals are more likely to be present. Take extra care overtaking and watch your speed and position around the bends.
Sharp change of direction chevrons
Used where the road changes direction sharply enough to create a hazard or to reinforce a bend warning sign where stronger emphasis is needed.
Approaching a bend
Check your mirrors well before slowing down - the sharper the bend the slower the speed (your speed should be at the lowest before you turn and you will often need a low gear). Keeping on the gas to maintain speed around the bend will help maintain control and position as the wheels will grip the road as you do so.