Count Down Speed Limits – Doug Barr

I was recently working in Llanelli, and rather than take the obvious M4–A449–A40–M50–M5–M6 route back to Congleton I used the A483 instead. This route isn’t any quicker, as it also takes just over 4 hours, but it is only about 170 miles rather than 220 and the scenery is more interesting.

Something which I noticed and which seemed like a good idea was that before the road passed through villages and towns there would be a couple of hundred yards of 50 mph limit, followed by a couple of hundred yards of 40 mph limit, before the 30 limit for the village or town. As the road wasn’t exactly straight it wasn’t possible to see a village half a mile ahead and slow down in advance. It seems that rather than having a situation where you come round a bend to be faced with a 30, and rather than start the 30 limit before it is needed, the traffic engineers have decided to indicate that there will be a lower limit coming up and give the road user time to adapt their speed.

The result as far as I could see was that rather than braking for a change from the national speed limit (NSL) to 30, it was possible to comply with the limits simply by easing off on the accelerator. The result was a smoother drive, less wear and tear on the brakes, and a better fuel consumption.

I didn’t notice any speed cameras in these ‘slow down zones,’ so I am happy to believe that these areas are genuinely there to improve safe traffic flow rather than to raise money. Some people that I have mentioned this to disagree and think that an aware driver should never be caught out by a change from the NSL to 30, but others have also thought that this is a good idea.

Now, to be controversial, how about having different speed limits on each side of the road? The NSL–50– 40–30 arrangement works when entering a village or town, but there is no reason why on leaving the village the speed limit shouldn’t go straight from 30 to the NSL.