A common misconception held by some drivers in the UK could lead to some very serious consequences while on the roads. There is a myth that it is fine to exceed the speed limit while overtaking the vehicle in front of you, so long as you tuck back in and slow to the speed limit immediately after doing so.
Although you should complete an overtaking manoeuvre quickly, never exceed the speed limit for the road. If the vehicle in front of you is overtaking then do not assume that it will be safe to follow.
The speed limit is the speed limit, full stop. "It's the maximum you're legally allowed to travel on that road, no matter what you happen to be doing. “Overtaking is no excuse for speeding. And if you have to break the speed limit to perform an overtaking move, then you should think twice about doing it."
If you cannot allow the minimum distance, do not overtake until you can. At speeds of 30mph or above, the Highway Code recommends a car width may be needed to overtake safely. Rule 139 of the Highway Code states “give cyclists at least as much room as you would a car when overtaking”.
The Highway Code outlines situations in which overtaking is and isn't permitted in the UK. Rule 162 says driver must ensure that the before overtaking that the road is sufficiently clear ahead, road users are not beginning to overtake you and there is a suitable gap in front of the road user you plan to overtake.
The Highway Code states that when overtaking a cyclist, drivers should give, 'as much room as you would give a car'. It doesn't specify a minimum distance that drivers must leave between the cyclist and their car, which is a source of confusion for many.
You will not get a ticket provided your speed does not exceed the limit by more than 10 per cent, Gareth says. So for example, travelling at 35mph or above in a 30mph zone will be recorded as a speeding offence. However, Go Safe say thresholds vary and can change without notice.
Since 1965, the speed limit on motorways has been capped at 70mph. However, many drivers default to speeds closer to 80mph, lulled into a false sense of security by the fact that relatively few drivers caught driving between 70-80mph are prosecuted.
Top speed: 205mph
The mid-engined, rear-wheel-drive two-seater was put into police livery by London's Metropolitan Police. It can blast from 0-62mph in just 2.5 seconds, and while it's unlikely to hit its 200mph-plus top speed in any pursuits down the Hackney Road, at least it'll get people moving out of the way.
Overtake only when it is safe and legal to do so. You should: not get too close to the vehicle you intend to overtake. use your mirrors, signal when it is safe to do so, take a quick sideways glance if necessary into the blind spot area and then start to move out.
leave at least 1.5 metres when overtaking cyclists at speeds of up to 30mph, and give them more space when overtaking at higher speeds. pass horse riders and horse-drawn vehicles at speeds under 10 mph and allow at least 2 metres of space.
It's also acceptable to undertake on motorways where average speed limits are in operation. Along these stretches of motorways, overhead gantries will often advise vehicles to 'stay in lane'. Therefore, it may be safer to pass a car travelling below the average speed limit on your right if your lane is moving faster.
The speed limit will be reduced to 60mph on four stretches of motorway in an effort to reduce air pollution. Highways England is set to introduce the trial by the end of September to improve roadside air quality.
Generally, to be fined for driving too slowly on the motorway, you need to be causing some kind of an issue for other drivers around you. In the case that you've outlined, where your friend is the support vehicle for you, it's unlikely that you would be fined for driving at around 50 mph.
The 70mph speed limit on motorways was introduced in 1965 because of the high number of collisions caused by drivers going as fast as they liked. The 70mph limit is the front line of motorway safety, the importance of which is underlined by heavier penalties for speeding than on other roads.
The usual tolerance guideline is 10% + 2mph to face prosecution. So if you're in a 70mph zone, 79mph is the absolute maximum. However, you can still get points and fines for going even a couple mph over the speed limit so always be cautious. Everyone speeds a little now and again.
As the law stands, a driver is liable for a speeding ticket the minute he or she exceeds the speed limit. That means driving at 31mph in a 30mph limit, 41mph in a 40, and so on.
The 'rule' itself is quite straightforward: if the speed limit is (for example) 30mph, the rule states that you won't get a speeding ticket unless you are going 10% plus 2 mph faster than the limit.
You're currently allowed 10 per cent of the limit plus 2 mph. The 10 per cent allows for a difference between your speed and the cameras and the 2 mph on top is because all car manufacturers set speedometers around 2 mph below the speed you're actually doing in an attempt to slow people down.
It isn't illegal for cyclists to undertake vehicles but it comes with a critical warning: never, ever undertake a long vehicle such as bus or an articulated lorry unless it is completely stationary and will remain so until you are safely past. If in any doubt, don't attempt to undertake.
Cars overtaking cyclists
They should leave more space at higher speeds. When cyclists are going straight ahead at a junction, they have priority over traffic waiting to turn into or out of a side road, unless road signs or markings indicate otherwise.
Regardless of what type of road you're travelling on, you should always indicate when overtaking another moving vehicle or changing lanes. Special consideration should be given, however, when overtaking cyclists, with the width of the road playing an important role.
Give way to oncoming vehicles if you're overtaking parked cars. Only overtake on the left if the vehicle in front is turning right. Give motorcyclists, cyclists and horse riders the same amount of space you would give to a vehicle.
It is illegal if there are signs or road markings clearly prohibiting it, or if it's done in an unsafe, reckless or uncontrolled way. Examples of this include when you don't have clear visibility of the road ahead – maybe in poor weather, such as rain or fog – or if you must break the speed limit in order to overtake.