/ Motoring

UK to adopt speed limiting tech: do you support it?

The Department for Transport has today said that speed limiting tech, which will become mandatory for all vehicles sold in Europe from 2022, will apply to the UK. Do you support it?

New rules have been provisionally agreed by the EU that will see the introduction of GPS/Intelligent Speed Assistance (ISA) technology that can send the local speed limit to a car’s dashboard to help enforce speed limits. ISA uses speed sign-recognition video cameras to do this.

From 2022, this will apply to the UK. And yes, that’s despite Brexit.

It’s worth noting that this won’t be an enforcement; the driver will be able to override the system by pressing the accelerator. Think of it more as a supportive guide – manoeuvres such as overtaking shouldn’t be affected.

Been hit with an undeserved speeding ticket? Here’s what to do

Are speed limiters a good idea?

Motoring rules, regulation and etiquette always generate a lot of discussion here on Which? Conversation, and it’s no different at Which? HQ itself, so I asked the rest of our Convo team for their views. Here are their takes:

“Have you ever driven on a motorway at 86mph in a Smart car? This is the speed my car was limited to and, frankly, I would never have wanted to go any faster. In fact, I don’t think I needed to go any faster.

332 people died on UK roads in 2017 because of someone either breaking the speed limit of being judged to be driving too fast for the conditions. Is getting somewhere a tiny bit faster really worth it?

It can be so easy to break the speed limit on the motorway.  I had a five-year break from driving recently. When I got back behind the wheel I had got over the ‘need to speed’. But that’s the thing – unless you are an emergency service you don’t need to speed. You just want to”

“I welcome safer roads and I’m keen to see ways in which technology will help us get there. I do not, however, welcome systems that might confuse the driver or limit their ability to make choices to navigate the road ahead.

I have an older car where on occasion (and sometimes by accident) I make use of the speed limiter. This has enabled me to reduce the risk of fines from temporary roadworks and average speed checks, but has done nothing to reduce the danger from the traffic around me (many of whom aren’t using limiters).

Many people treat driving as a right – a casual task that requires no thought – and their driving certainly reflects this. Would it really do any good to introduce another system that the driver doesn’t have to give their full attention to?

Driving is a huge responsibility – you, as a human, bear responsibility for all of the life around you. I think if we truly want safer roads, the solution is holding the people responsible to account, and not looking to the tech to solve this for us.

Or, you know, just more frequent and more reliable public transport at an affordable cost. Were this available, I’d happily recycle the car”

So now you have Jon and Abby’s views, what are yours? Do you support the introduction of speed limiting technology? Do you think this is the answer for safer roads?

Let us know your thoughts on the changes and we’ll feature your comments alongside Jon and Abby’s.

Paul Buckingham says:
25 April 2019

External driving control is definitely the way forward. Despite the emotional thought that the human is the best operator, psychological studies ‘prove’ that we get distracted or focus so strongly on what is most important to us that we make errors or poor decisions. Aircraft have used auto-pilot systems for decades and they certainly fall out of the sky with fatal consequences if they go wrong. The biggest cause of air accidents is still where the human is in control and makes a poor decision. Why not trust the same advances for restricting our speed?
Poor driving is not just about outright speed it’s also about inappropriate acceleration. Even at its least dangerous, the noise and shock factor alone is frightening to sensitive people (like children, aged people and animals) who might react to put themselves in harms way.
The most road deaths are in areas of low speed limits (urban and housing conurbations) where even 30mph is too fast for the condition. The victim is almost exclusively pedestrians.
Modern vehicles are more capable of higher speeds and acceleration than ever before but with better brakes, tyres and suspension. It’s how we use these advantages that is of concern.
Every day when I drive my children to school and then on to my place of work, I see behaviour that is just selfish. People feel entitled to stop on the zig-zag lines or in the school entrance “because it’s only a moment” and their child is late. I wonder, if their own child is killed or maimed in a road accident, would they be screaming for the perpetrator to be vilified? It always seems to be OK for me to transgress the law but everyone else needs to obey it. The reality is that in a world of ever increasing urgency we get sucked into reacting without enough thought.
For me, the technology needs to take account of ALL the conditions like the traffic congestion level, the weather and the pedestrian count. Modern technology can do all this right now. It will be very expensive to implement full traffic control systems so do we want to value lives or not.
For those who don’t want to give control over to the machine, I’d just say that where we try to wrest control back from the automatic system, it’s almost always the case the human hasn’t been concentrating and makes an instant reactive decision that in hindsight proves to be less than ideal. Do we really want to go back to foot pump or finger push windscreen washers, hand winding windows, hand cranked wipers, crank handle engine starting systems, hand signals for indicating our intentions etc. etc? No of course we don’t. Just a year or two after fully autonomous vehicle use and we’ll wonder why we ever trusted manual control.
Not to mention the environmental impact – but that’s another debate

Geoffrey Freeman says:
13 March 2020

“The biggest cause of air accidents is still where the human is in control and makes a poor decision . . ” Tell that to the pilots of the Boeing 727 Max! The biggest cause of air accidents is aircraft manufacturers blaming pilots so their aircraft don’t get criticised!

I spent my career working on R&D in the safety critical avionic sector and sat on an an air transport safety working group so I do have a little expertise in this area. It is quite correct that crew errors are the main cause of aircraft accidents; these, however, often occur because the pilot is put into a situation where making correct decisions is very difficult. Automatic systems take a lot of the workload off the pilot but can malfunction for various reasons. In the aerospace industry a lot of effort is put into minimising the likelihood of catastrophic failure but they cannot be eliminated entirely and there is also the possibility of malpractice, as in the case of the 737MAX problem.

Personally, I am very nervous about the idea of driverless cars knowing just how much it costs to generate high integrity systems both in terms of design and certification, and in the cost of the hardware. The motor industry is known for its tendency to cut costs to the bone and I fear that this might compromise the integrity of automatic systems – a flight-critical avionic system is likely to be fully duplex or even triplex in order to achieve the levels of integrity needed, I doubt that the automotive cost model would allow these techniques.

A good example of the motor industry cutting costs has been the continued use of steel brake pipes when copper/nickel alloy pipes that would last the life of a car have been available since the 1970s. At least we have dual-circuit brakes.

Simon Gardiner says:
22 November 2020

“Modern technology can do all this right now….”
Oh no it can’t – I can think of many situations where the only correct (safe) action for the technology would be for it to stop the vehicle until a human intervened and then reset it. It’s notable that most of the testing for automated vehicles takes place on set courses with predictable obstacles. Car going round a race track? I could write a program to deal with that but I know very well (as an experienced programmer AND driver/cyclist/pedestrian) what conditions don’t have logic paths through them.
“…where we try to wrest control back from the automatic system, it’s almost always the case the human hasn’t been concentrating and makes an instant reactive decision that in hindsight proves to be less than ideal.”
And that’s what happened when that autonomous vehicle ran down the pedestrian in the US because the human ‘overseer’ was too busy reading to intervene?
Folks who can’t do manual control and can’t concentrate maybe shouldn’t be driving – but should we all be tarred with the same brush?

‘Safe action’ is a rather ill defined phrase in this case. Just stopping might be safe under some circumstances but not in others, such as in the outside lane in heavy traffic on a motorway. I’m not sure that there is a single safe action that overs all eventualities and this is my main concern about such autonomous systems, In the aerospace context, when there is no practical safe condition, it is normal to have duplex or even triplex systems.

This whole business of speed is a mixture of many, many elements churning round. Not least of these is the variable nature of the human population here who range from laid back and tolerant to impatient and always in a hurry. Then there is the government and local councils who believe that they have to cater for the lowest common ability in order to avoid accidents. Add to that the increasing desire to reduce speeds in order to reduce road pollution and the general trend is to hinder the progress on the road by any number of devices and make driving less pleasurable and more restrictive. Motorists are constantly being told what they can not do when it has appeared safe to do it before and, crucially, all this is imposed by those in charge without any consultation with those on the roads. The motorist feels disenfranchised and unwelcome. Another problem that we have to face is that our roads are not fit for purpose. There are many more of us on them and they can not cope with the demand. Queues are a regular nightmare. This has been the case for some while and there has always been an argument (for and against) about spending on roads in order to fill them up and create a demand for more spending on roads.

So the road system is a hostile environment and that breeds impatience and misunderstanding. Some look at a clear stretch of motorway and see no reason why they shouldn’t proceed at 80plus mph. Most cars are quiet and refined at that speed. No one is being killed and they get there, where ever that is, quicker. Miles of empty cones and a fifty limit means that, more than once I have suffered, with lorries, inches from my back window, and at seventy on the motorway I am one of the slowest there and have to slow down behind a slower vehicle while things speed past me next door. No explanation is given for pollution control, so a fifty limit is ignored and some “don’t drive responsibly.” The 20 limit is now becoming fashionable and that means a second gear crawl through urban areas. Most ignore that and, once again I get tailgated ad-nauseum. Not recognising an unobvious hazard, without any signage, creates the feeling of being restricted unnecessarily, especially when there are times that something is signed and doesn’t appear.
There are two lots of us on the road. I simply do what I’m told because that’s what I’ve been told to do. The other lot decide for themselves what’s safe and drive to the perceived road conditions ahead rather than the instructions on the signs. Not many get caught doing it so they carry on.

Since the radio has broadcast road traffic reports, very, very few end without a collision to avoid and tailbacks associated with it. That means a lot bent metal on the road every day. Perhaps it was always thus, and we didn’t hear about it, but I am amazed at that there are so many crashes these days. Who is right; those who project the nanny state or those who think we are being hard done by? Is there happy medium? Probably not, since only one set of people control the road usage and the rest of us drive under their dictatorship. Climate change and vehicle use will alter dramatically as will our ability to do what we do now. Enjoy motoring while you can it is under threat and can only decrease in future.

Simon Gardiner says:
22 November 2020

“There are two lots of us on the road. I simply do what I’m told because that’s what I’ve been told to do. The other lot decide for themselves what’s safe and drive to the perceived road conditions ahead rather than the instructions on the signs. Not many get caught doing it so they carry on.”
So – it’s a dark winter night in the rush hour. Heavy rain, the wipers can barely cope and there’s an inch (OK – 2.5cm) of water on the road surface in many places. Plus the spray that’s being kicked up. It’s an urban dual carriageway, but there’s a 60 limit and that’s all the signs say. So I guess you’ll be driving at 60mph despite the fact that your stopping distance is massive, there are cars almost nose-to-tail all around you and you can hardly see clearly more than a car length in front of you?
If I’m driving over Shap (OK, on a beautiful stretch of motorway) at 3 am on a clear, dry moonlit night when I’m the only vehicle for miles I’ll be quite happy doing 120mph…but on that dark wet rush-hour night I’ll be trying to keep my speed down to 30mph (although I’ll be very aware that will put me in the firing line of all the lovely folks driving as per the signs).
Yep – I’m firmly in the camp of ‘the other lot’ who drive according to the conditions and frankly I’d feel a lot safer if those who just drove according to the signs were banned (or at least sent for lessons in how to use the little grey cells).
I could mention some local ‘black spot’ stats for accident fatalities. The worst accidents happened in poor conditions, on corners, and to inexperienced drivers. But they were all driving according to the signs.

I hesitate to reply, because I think you would just disagree and I would be wasting my time. However, for what it’s worth: You suggest that those, like me who try to obey the law are dangerous drivers who have no common sense and you give an example of someone who sees a sixty limit sign so has to do sixty to obey it, despite bad driving conditions. That is an assumption that is both insulting and stupid. Signs on the road are there to tell you what you may or may not do, not what you can do on one occasion and would be foolish to do on another. Like you, I dislike the many restrictions placed on my freedom to drive as I wish, but, unlike you, I don’t decide that I can ignore them because they don’t suit me. It may be perfectly safe to do 120mph over Shap, but the law says you should stick to 70 mph. If this annoys you, complain to the government. It would be a difficult society to live in, if we all decided which laws we wanted to obey and which to disregard. In the meantime, I’ll drive as safely as I know how, and try to keep out of the way of those who mock the signage on the side of the road.

If one breaks chosen laws, it does become harder to complain about others, who might be choosing to break a different set of laws.

Speed limits answers the question – they are limits and you are expected to drive as the conditions allow within that limit.

We have a number of commenters who believe they are better drivers than others and should, therefore, be allowed to drive as fast as they like. Motorways offer that opportunity – wide straight roads with limited access. However, those other less-capable road users do not expect anyone without blue flashing lights to be driving at twice the limit, and manoeuvre accordingly. Nor, necessarily, are those who profess to be great drivers as good as they think. Track days are provided for their entertainment.

As we have seen from the two crashes of Boeing 737-800s, electronic “safety” measures are not necessarily a good idea. I have a device on my car which warns me when I exceed a speed that I have to set manually. I don’t often use it because the setting button has been put in a very awkward place, behind the steering wheel (It must have been done by an arts and design graduate rather than an engineer!). I would welcome technology that warns me if I exceed the speed limit, but I do not want it controlling the car. Similarly, something that tells me that I am getting too close to the car in front is useful, but I don’t want it actually applying the brakes. However, I would like to be able to set it to keep a safe distance from the car in front, cancelled by touching the brakes or accelerator. There are times when a burst of speed is necessary to avoid an accident.

I agree with the gentleman who said that drivers should take responsibility to take into account the conditions. Sometimes, it is only safe to travel at 15 – 20 mph in a 30 mph area, particularly in rural areas. I also agree that speed limits are proliferating. We don’t need a 50mph stretch, followed by a 40mph stretch before a 30mph area. We just need a sign that says “30mph in 300 yards”

J Thrasher says:
12 March 2020

I agree – a warning system for speed would be very welcome but I would have significant concerns about driving a vehicle where a computer could override my control – notwithstanding the room for malfunction, a machine could never react to the multitude of potential unforseeable scenarios that real life could throw up – when those situations occur I would prefer to be in control. For myself at the moment, there have been too many reported incidents where death and or injury has resulted where computer controlled vehicles were involved.

Carolyn says:
1 May 2019

Surely it would be better and more efficient to have less powerful engines than all these gadgets.

A low powered car driven stupidly is just a likely to kill someone as a higher powered one. If the vehicle is capable of keeping up with the traffic on a motorway then it is capable of exceeding the speed limit by a large margin in other areas.

Here in Hampshire the public road I live on is narrow and has no kerbs, no drains no pavements and no speed limit signs. It is well used for access to the church school etc.and heavily used by delivery vehicles and waste collection trucks etc. Houses of various sizes are frequent on both sides of the lane.
The road surface is mostly dust, loose gravel and very well potholed. Maintenance is infrequent and consists of pouring loose gravel in the worst of the holes and compacting it a bit. There are a few street lights fixed to wooden poles but these are to be switched off at night. Sat Nav units show the speed limit of the road to be 60 mph which is clearly utterly ridiculous. The highway authority says the sat navs are wrong although other minor roads in the area show the same. There is no chance that any self drive cars would find their way through the gravel and potholes let alone guess where the highway edges are or what the speed limit is.

Totally opposed to another “big brother” take over. They decide who does what? Slowly but assuredly our individual rights are being eroded. This is just another patent example. If you break the law, you should pay the price but NOT at the cost of civil liberty.

Johnathon Smedley says:
25 November 2019

It’s also yet another way that our every move will be tracked. The same as when Google remembers an item you looked at three weeks ago and still hits you with targeted ads. We already have phones and Siri listening in to our conversations (it’s no conspiracy that my phone is programmed to respond when I say “Hey Google”!), Google maps asking us to rate the places it knows we’ve visited because it’s tracking us. Our individual rights don’t matter anymore, except to the highest bidder.

This comment was removed at the request of the user

No-one is forcing anyone to carry a Google mobile transponder (aka an Android phone) or to keep them switched on all the time.

Other choices exist.

But when will folk understand that “freedom isn’t free” ?

The AA pointed out that there are times – when overtaking, for example – when temporarily exceeding the speed limit may be safer. Others have said that proposed ‘black boxes’ that would record a vehicle’s speed, among other things, amount to Big Brother surveillance. So is this surveillance and intrusion justified given the potential benefits?
First we’ll have to consider what this technology does to the Drivers behavior, or rather how it affects him.System safety
Second, problem is the safety of such tech. Technologically, this does not seem too challenging, but the critical thing will be to identify scenarios that might confuse a system and which could lead to inappropriate decisions.

I question why it is necessary to overtake if traffic is moving at or just below the speed limit. Many cars, perhaps half the total number, are not capable of performing a long overtake sufficiently above 70 mph to complete the manoeuvre safely and quickly. While the AA’s statement might be theoretically correct I feel it is wrong to give the impression that such driving is acceptable and can be readily justified.

I can understand how drivers of the more powerful cars can feel frustrated and impatient to get ahead of lesser vehicles, and they feel very safe in their superior well-protected motors, it is not a commendable driving technique in my opinion.

Elsewhere we are discussing sustainable living. Driving over-powered vehicles and using excess speed on the roads need to be brought into consideration.

I often find the vehicle I have overtaken draws up behind, or alongside, at the traffic lights.

There are occasions where exceeding the speed limit is necessary to make the overtaking manoeuvre safe. On a recent trip there was a car doing 35-40 mph in a 50 limit area with a lengthy line of frustrated drivers following, fortunately for me I was going in the opposite direction.. The nature of the road meant that exceeding the limit would have been necessary for a safe overtake.

It should also be noted that speedometers are not precise instruments. The road speed can be significantly lower than that indicated. In a previous post I pointed out that the road speed can be as low as 61.4 mph for an indicated 70. So the driver in the ‘superior well protected motor’ could simply have a more accurate speedometer! As it so happens I drive a Mercedes but am assiduous about sticking to speed limits. I find that most of the overtaking me, often very much over the limit, are John Ward’s ‘lesser vehicles’!

Simply using GPS together with a database of speed limit areas would not be sufficient for automatic control of a car’s speed. Such databases can never be sufficiently responsive to changes in limits, especially in the case where they are temporary in nature. There will then be the need for cars to have the ability to read road signs. My car has such a system but it just displays the limit rather than takes action. It is surprising how often it gives false indications, usually caused by poorly sited limit signs in side roads. To have cars making sudden and unexpected changes in speed if these indications were to be acted on by an automatic system, would be quite disconcerting to following drivers. If there is to be an introduction of automatic speed control systems then there will be a need to ensure that limit signs are placed so that they do not cause this type of misreading. I suspect that this would be an expensive process.

Patience in driving is a virtue. It can be frustrating to be behind a slow vehicle but the speed limit is often there for a purpose and should be adhered to. Just wait for the right opportunity. A more powerful car has the advantage as it can simply get past in less time than a small-engined car. My perception is that smaller cars with younger drivers like to show how their driving technique can out-wit others. Maybe that is just a myth.

In the situation described by Anthony on a 50 mph road and a car going at 35-40 mph, which vehicle in the tail behind it has the right to start overtaking?

On a road that is speed-limited for safety reasons it is surely best to be patient.

I agree that best practice is for drivers to drive up to the speed limit and that slower moving vehicles can be frustrating at times, but who said any particular journey has to be completed within a specific period of time?

Although the AA may claim that a “safer” overtaking manoeuvre would result from exceeding the speed limit, that does not alter the fact that any such manoeuvre would be illegal.

As motorists – or as consumers – I don’t think we should be allowed to decide which laws we will obey and which ones we can disobey.

I agree with Derek’s last sentence.

If temporarily exceeding the speed limit is a safety measure, is this because a driver has put themselves in a risky situation?

We have an interesting situation here in Snowdonia. Being a major tourist destination we have a lot of visitors, often from the US and therefore driving hire cars, and many from China and India. Add these to the local mix of UK visitors ‘out for a few days’ and some just wanting to see the scenery, large and apparently organised biker groups, average age 50+ and riding machines that cost more than many cars, tiny cars dragging enormous caravans on the annual outing, lorries that seem to have escaped from Australian road trains, tractors dragging massively laden mobile bins, cows and sheep who’ve escaped and decided to go on an adventure and finally hordes of cyclists, all competing for space on main roads which are not a huge improvement on their mediaeval forebears and which, in places, combine tight bends with widths somewhat less that the average bathroom length and you start to get the picture.

That’s only the A roads. The more adventurous decide to try the back roads or, as we residents like to call them, the (slightly) wider footpaths. Inevitably, accidents are little short of commonplace, often with fatal results.

One problem is speed limits. While it’s nice to imagine speed limits exist for a reason the reality is they really don’t. If they did, they’d be far more intelligent than they are. The A470 – the major trunk road between North and South Wales – is an excellent example, the A5 linking Holyhead with London another and finally the A55 – the dual carriageway connection between North West England and the North Wales coast, now officially one of the most dangerous roads in the UK – is the other.

All these roads depend on drivers using Roadsense; a combination of anticipation, judgement, skill and caution combined with concentration. Sadly, it would seem many that drive these roads seem to lack every one of those essential characteristics.

The last paragraph explains why we need rules. I know all here are superlative drivers with exceptional skills and know how to use these on the road; the trouble is….the others.

We seem obsessed with making minor changes to speed limits. Roads in our area frequently change from derestricted to 50m/h, then 40m/h, back to 50 …….. With limited repeaters it can be difficult sometimes to keep track of the speed limit.

I’d prefer to see more consistency and fewer changes.

Simon Gardiner says:
22 November 2020

And I often find that the vehicle I have just overtaken gets caught at a red light when it was green for me…. 🙂

So you’ve gained 30 seconds. What are you going to do with it?

On the current Curmudgeonmobile the car reads the speed limit signs and displays the same as as an icon in colour in the centre of the instrument panel. If you exceed the speed limit the icon gently flashes to warn you . I had previously been against limiters because they constrained options and made driving a pain but have warmed to this latest innovation, the gentle nature of the warning seems to make you want to keep it below the flash point. Since having this car I am sure that it has influenced me beneficially. Initially I was concerned that the car might misread a sign if they were not clean and correctly sited but I have never caught it giving a wrong reading , most impressed , all I need now is the same speed icon projected onto the rear screen for the benefit of the tailgaters

Gerald Carter says:
22 September 2019

I use the motorway quite frequently, and I travel at no more than 60mph, because it’s comfortable, and I have time to plan my actions and deal with those of other drivers. The lunatics and suicide pilots that pass me at well over the lawful speed limit, are quite frankly staggering.

Don’t travel to Europe then, where the average speed limits are generally at least 75mph or 80mph (ignoring the Autobahn).

Travelling too slowly on motorways can be dangerous. On crowded motorways, I’m often quite happy to just match my speed to the general traffic flow. This minimises my need for overtaking and also the volume of traffic that will want to overtake me.

I do the same. If it’s rush hour and there is a race in progress I am happy to join the HGVs in the left lane where drivers behave sensibly.

Kevin says:
5 March 2020

If you’re driving slightly faster than average, most of the hazards will be in front of you where you can see and possibly anticipate them. I also find it quite boring and it’s easy to lose concentration if in heavy traffic all moving at the same speed in convoy.

Cars travelling slower than lorries on motorways cause the lorries to overtake them (it’s a business, and with commercial transport time is money) which can cause tailbacks, as the lorry can occupy the middle lane for a long time attempting to overtake, thus increasing everyone’s risk. There are also some folk who religiously stick to the middle lane irrespective of their speed or the traffic conditions.

I believe it’s safer to overtake at the maximum rate physical conditions and the machine you’re driving allow, and when I’m on a motorbike I don’t want to be in the vicinity of any car driver longer than is absolutely necessary since most car drivers have a lack of awareness of other traffic in general, and motorbikes in particular.

There is a perverse financial incentive in the way UK speed limits work since they become a source of revenue with a fig leaf of safety. Why are virtually all motorway speed limits reduced to 50mph irrespective of whether 1 lane is closed or more? To any sensible driver, the FACT that there is a reduced speed limit is enough to heighten awareness; if you’re doing 50 and not paying attention you’re just a ballistic hazard and far more dangerous than someone doing 60 and reading the road.

Is that in the middle lane, Gerald?

Firstly there are now just to many vehicles on our roads and this will only get worse with the increase in our population. That said increased vehicle automation is the future, yes the driver is still responsible for the vehicles actions on the road and the driver should still “read the road” even if the vehicle is also doing that as well.

With the decline in police numbers, traffic police have almost completely disappeared from our roads and the standard of driving on our roads has greatly decreased and the number of vehicles headlights and tail/brake lights not working has increased. Also look how many vehicles are driving in poor weather or very poor light conditions with no lights turned on, true these are mainly older model vehicles, but they are being driven by people who fail to understand that they are invisible to other motorists. Smart vehicle lighting will mostly solve that safety problem.

Modern technology on and in our vehicles can and is going a long way in helping to solve these problems. For example I can set my Skoda Fabia to have its lights come on and go off automatically, the only thing they do not do is to automatically dip or go on high beam automatically, but this is beginning to come into some high value brands. A large percentage of my driving is done using predictive cruise control, it is a marvellous piece of kit, smarter than you, because if you set it to your road speed limits correctly it never wavers and you cannot be done for speeding. True it relies on you to input those speed limits, but the smart speed limit system using GPS will soon talk to your car and set that speed on your car. That is providing those authorities responsible for our roads provide the correct transponders set the right road speed.

Just stop and think, modern day driving on UK roads is not pleasant and we have a great number of poor drivers and that requires your fullest attention out on most of those roads so why not embrace technology to make that driving experience a bit better and easier. Why have a gear shift, go automatic. Why manually push on an accelerator when a predictive cruise control maintains the correct safe vehicle speed and all you have to do is flick a switch stalk to maintain the legal road speed. All vehicles should have reversing cameras and eventually 360 degree cameras, they do not make door and internal rear view mirrors obsolete, but they sure as hell make life easier. Automatic parking, lane control, fatigue sensors, electric tailgates, climate controlled air conditioning gives you comfortable and safe cabins. Embrace smart technology on your vehicles and visit a classic vehicle show, you were lucky to have safe brakes and windscreen wipers that worked properly. Car heaters?

Phil says:
8 December 2019

On automatic my lights don’t come on when I think they ought and I’d be opposed to automatic dim/dip. Like any automatic system it could only respond not anticipate so wouldn’t dim for the driver approaching the next bend until they were actually in view and being dazzled. It’s also useful to be able to dip lights when approaching narrow bends, pinch points etc to check for approaching vehicles. Earlier attempts at automatic dim/dip were also fooled by white painted walls and other reflective surfaces.

Mind you I’d like to see automatic fog-lights that idiot boy racers couldn’t turn on when it isn’t foggy.

Likewise many automatic wiper systems I’ve come across are either too sensitive or the reverse and I believe on some new cars there’s no manual override* although the sensitivity can be adjusted through the software.

Automatic parking systems do too much dry steering for my liking, apparently it makes writing the software easier.

*I guess there has to be somewhere for the MoT tester ditto lights.

I have automatic lighting and, so far, it has worked well. The system doesn’t have main and dip settings but swivels the lights in the appropriate directions to avoid dazzling oncoming drivers or those in front. There is the facility to operate the lights manually in which case there are just preset main and dip settings, but have not yet had the need to use this facility.

4 March 2020


Yes, but safety is paramount and the risk of serious injury of a cyclist or pedestrian in a collision is greatly reduced at 20 mph compared to 30 mph. It might be irksome driving in second gear for a long time but I suspect that reduced tyre and brake wear and other factors compensate. Driving at excess speed does the vehicle no favours either. Area-wide 20 mph zones are preferable from an environmental viewpoint than 30 mph roads with frequent humps or other impediments and the sighting of potential hazards is much improved.

Also driving at reduced speed tends to produce lower emissions, as there will be less aerodynamic drag to overcome. Smart motorways will sometimes impose a 50mph limit to meet emissions targets, even when there is not a congestion problem.

If your car has a fuel economy gauge it is easy to demonstrate that driving at a constant speed of 20mph is more economical than you might imagine.

Had the situation today. I was on a local twisty B road and following a van, not wishing to swallow his exhaust I had dropped back about 20 yards but still keeping pace . A SUV behind busting to push me , finally got past only to end up behind the van and there he stayed for the rest of the trip .

When I did a defensive driving course for work, we were advised that, if being tailgated, we should drive with more than a 2 second rule gap behind the vehicle in front, to give more time for the vehicle behind to react and slow down in the event of slower or stopped traffic ahead.

Leaving a bigger gap also makes it easier for following traffic to overtake if that’s what they really, really want.

I think an important aspect is obeying the 2second rule — which is keeping a gap of 2secs between each vehicle. I am always aware of the tailgater who is putting my life at risk. So if we could reduce those idiots by some means it will make us more safe. This is also true of motorway and dual carriage drivers who do not go back to the inside lane after the ‘suggested’ 10secs. Some will even sit in the outside lane with 1/2mile of empty road in front of them – idiots, can’t they be given a warning by using camera footage?

A year and a half ago I bought a fairly modest Peugeot car that has a speed limiter built in, in addition to the traditional cruise control system. It is easy to operate using steps of either 1mph or 5mph, depending on how your finger lingers on the fingertip control. I would never buy another car that did not have such a system. It has taken much of the stress out of driving in built up areas, or through motorway 50mph roadworks. I reset the limiter each time I pass a changed speed limit and can then concentrate on all the other aspects of safe driving.
On no occasion have I encountered a situation where driving faster than the limit would have “got me out of trouble”. The only small downside is when another driver behind – usually a motorcycle or large SUV – gets frustrated and overtakes unsafely. I live in an area where there is a universal 20mph limit on local roads, and it is taking time for some drivers to come to terms with the new requirement.
So my vote would be to require all new cars to have a speed limiter fitted as standard equipment.

Its good idea to be reminded if speeding. This is already available on my Sat Nav, you set the speed & warning level beeps. Do I use it no. Should I use it no. So long as you can deactivate the new proposed system it will assist the new drivers & some mature drivers ! Having driven my daughters car with a black box I was soooo frustrated by the constant reminder of having to slow down. I think its dangerous on some roads & may make pollution worse. Most urban roads near me are 20 MPH with sleeping Police man. Ive driven in Germany alot & well they have got it spot on in my opinion. Live & let live, great safety records & if you want to utilise your cars performace go for it. You can over & undertake same as States. Me, just glad to return my daughters Fiat 500 & drive my Merc e class V6 diesel

Reliant Robin says:
27 August 2020

There is no reason for any car in this country to be capable of more than about 100/110 mph. This is what the average family (petrol) car is capable of and provides plenty of leeway for emergency overtaking etc. There should be an overall limit on speed and power and the ridiculous cars capable of over 200mph should be completely outlawed as they have no legal reason for existence. Fast cars kill far more people than guns, which are highly restricted. A driving licence is another licence to kill.

There should be no legal car available to the public that should exceed this speed of about 100/110 mph and further fixed limiting of top speed is probably justified. No-one buys a fast car with the intention of never using its illegal excessive speed capability so why are they allowed to be sold?

I don’t believe any limiting should be done by electronic surveillance (connected cars) unless it is a self driving car, but there should be more built in speed limit warnings as long as the likes of Google etc are not involved. There is far too much electronic spyware already built in to cars which cannot be switched off. This cannot be in line with European GDPR regulations.

The other downside of all the new car electronics is that this is the main source of unreliability and hackability nowadays.

A logical extension of this would be to ensure no car could exceed the UK maximum national speed limit by incorporating a 70 (75?) m/h limiter. However that would not help in 20/30/40/50/and 60 m/h limits. We would still rely on driver behaviour. So a GPS based system would, as the intro says, have to be used. However, that would only apply to new vehicles, so 36 million would be unaffected. I wonder what the value would really be in the foreseeable future? And it would not be mandatory – pressing the accelerator would override it.

If we were to be really mean we could incorporate a black box in every car, new and old, that recorded actual speed within all speed limits, downloaded automatically every month, and fines issued for every contravention. Should bring in vast amounts to help our economy. Would you vote for me if I were Minister of Transport?

It might also be worth noting that some of us will want to tour in Europe, where different speed limits apply and where, in a few places, no speed limits are imposed.