Damon Hill wants UK speed limit reducing to 55mph


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    Keith Collantine

    Damon Hill opposes raising the speed limit on UK motorways from 70mph to 80mph – he told the Radio Times he wants it cutting to 55mph:

    Some quotes here:

    Honestly, the speed limit going up to 80mph makes me shudder. Because people drive too fast on the motorway. Mostly they drive too fast, too close to the car in front, and they think they know what they’re doing. And they don’t.


    Mark O’Donnell

    He’s such an old man!

    Even in the US, its still 65mph on motorways outside of urban areas so where has 55mph come from? He has hit the nail partly on the head around people driving too close and also in the wrong lane. I would like to see more robust policing against this type of driving.



    I would prefer to see more police patrols on the motorways to deter people from speeding, Audi-ing tailgating and changing lanes without signalling. Speed is not the problem, it’s the organic bit behind the wheel that needs educating (and punishing when required).

    On another note, temporary reduced speed limits (Active Traffic Management) only work when there are speed cameras such as on the M6 around Birmingham. On most other motorways drivers generally ignore them so there can be a significant closing speed coming up behind a driver who is sticking to the speed limit.



    I cannot comment on the UK situation but basically I’m against high speed limits. Let’s leave the racing to race drivers and use the roads solely to move from point A to point B. The speed limit outside populated areas in my country is 90kph (~56mph) and I have to say I don’t feel comfortable when going much faster than that.

    I’m pretty sure that the roads in the UK are better but the main problem is, as Hill describes, that ‘they think they know what they’re doing. And they don’t.” The people’s driving skills are often mediocre and even the most experienced and best drivers make mistakes. Crashing even at 40mph certainly doesn’t feel nice and can already have unpleasant consequences. Of course, there needs to be a compromise between driving at a snail’s pace and flying at F1’s speeds but there is another thing that should be taken into account: The fuel (energy) consumption should be decreased wherever possible as lack of energy resources is and will remain an important global issue.


    Keith Collantine

    I’m a total hypocrite on speeding. I think everyone else should have to do 60, I should get to do 90. In my own personal lane. In a Ferrari F40 (hey, while I’m dreaming…).



    Has he tried driving at 55? It’s the most boring speed possible to drive a car! There’d be loads more people not paying attention and piling into each other, and it would take hours and hours to get anywhere…

    It’s a good story for the week before the British GP of course. I agree with his point about standards of driving, but he could’ve chosen his words better. It sounds like he’s jumping on the knee-jerk “Speed Kills” bandwagon, I bet he’ll get some stick on TV over the weekend for this…



    As long as motorways are fitted with ATM, like on the M42, M1 and now the M62, and people learn to not tailgate and sit in the middle lane, speed isn’t the issue.
    By Einstein’s law of special relativity, time is relative to the observer. Thus, if everyone is travelling at close speeds to one another, the precise value of the car’s velocity is insignificant.

    *this is only for motorways. Driving at high speed is, of course, a major problem if in a built up area.



    55? Thats just stupid. It would take hours to get anywhere. 80mph is perfectly safe on a motorway, as is 90 95% of the time.

    The most dangerous thing you can come up against on the motorway is someone doing 55 whilst you’re doing 70. Get back on the B-roads, love.



    Don’t agree with Damon. 55mph isnt a good idea on motorways and I doubt for a moment that anyone would follow it, so used to driving at 70mph (which is the speed limit) for so long. Nor do I think raising it will help, if the speed limit now is 70, people drive at +85mph on the motorways, and by raising it to 80, more people will drive at +90mph.

    I actually believe that changes in the speed limits or similar isnt quite the way to go, rather a large portion of drivers need re-education in driving. The longer the time since learning to drive means the more time you learn bad habits. I think theres more benefits in leaflets on road conduct (the highway code in the UK), reminders of speed limits on the motorways, looking after cars (tyre tread depth, oil checks, brake checks etc) The only tests here in the UK that im aware of post-drivers test is the compulsory eye test for OAPs. Im not suggesting that people are re-tested and failure nulifies their license, but a refresher course/leaflets every 5years or so.


    I wouldn’t complain if they did reduce the speed limit to 55mph. I really don’t see the problem, to be honest. It’s really easy to not speed.

    Also, when is the UK going to join the 21st Century and switch to the metric system fully? Coming back to Britain from Aus, it’s like stepping back in time.


    Keith Collantine


    when is the UK going to join the 21st Century and switch to the metric system fully?

    Don’t get me started! It’s long, long overdue…



    The problem here is enforcing it, and any government that does bring it in will loose a ton of votes next time round. Lower the limit, people will complain (commercial firms, commuters) and how do you govern it? More speed cameras? More highway patrols? Thats a certain move to piss people off even more. It wont happen.

    Because its easier to ask for a Pint of beer rather then asking for 568ml of beer ;)

    I dont know actually, because we’re British and stubborness is part of our nature. Besides, if the French do it, we’re less likely too…. maybe?



    55mph is ridiculous. As others have said here, speeding isn’t a problem as long as you keep your distance. I drive at 80mph all the time on motorways perfectly safely.

    The most dangerous drivers aren’t the fast ones, they’re the ones who are driving out of their limits or far too close to each other, whether it’s at 55 or 80.



    if the speed limit now is 70, people drive at +85mph on the motorways, and by raising it to 80, more people will drive at +90mph.

    I disagree. I think the reason people drive at 80mph isn’t because they can get away with that small margin above the speed limit of 70, it’s because it’s around the fastest you can go safely and it feels natural on wide open roads like the M1.



    @driftin sorry but I dont agree. Just because you or any member on this site believe they are safe driving at +80mph doesnt justify anything. I dont mean that as an attack at anyones driving ability, but the greatest danger on the road is usually from someone else. Me and you might believe we’re fine at 75/80 or whatever, and thats probably true. But the guy behind/in front of us, or in the other lane might be a uncertain driver, or even a complete liability. Do we want/need those people loose on motorways driving (legally) at 80mph or quicker. Ofcourse you an avoid the Motorways altogether, but I wouldnt want to try to journey anti-clockwise on the M25 from say the A3 junction 10 to J1? The options are a drive through south London or circumnavigate Surrey & Kent! Neither take my fancy.

    I dont mean to be argumentative, I can see points made by people, but I am trying to play devils advocate on these issues.

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