We all know that driving over the speed limit can increase the chance of getting into a car accident.
But speeding can cause more than just a nasty crash - it can have many consequences, from costing you money in fines and fuel to losing your licence and even damaging your vehicle.
The minimum penalty for driving over the speed limit on a UK road is a £100 fine and 3 penalty points added to your driving licence.
If you receive 12 or more penalty points on your licence within 3 years, you could even be disqualified from driving altogether.
However if you’re caught speeding within the first 2 years of passing your test, your licence will be revoked once you receive 6 or more penalty points, so you’ll need to retake your test.
It’s not just the cost of a Fixed Penalty Notice that could hit your wallet if you drive at excessive speed.
Generally, the faster you drive, the more fuel your car uses up in a shorter space of time. So the fuel economy of your car (or how far you can drive on a tank of fuel) is less efficient.
According to the Department For Transport, slow and steady saves the pounds as driving at 50mph instead of 70mph can improve fuel economy by 25%1. And a car speeding at 80mph uses 10% more fuel than one cruising at 70mph.
Damage to your vehicle
As well as the extra fuel you’ll be using, speeding can actually damage your vehicle, even if you do avoid a crash.
Running your vehicle at high speed over a long time or rapidly braking and accelerating can damage your tyres and engine, causing more wear on your car, often resulting in more breakdowns and repair costs.
Turn off your engine in stationary traffic jams if you can, and don’t roar off at high speed after starting the engine because this will damage it. Drive smoothly and avoid harsh braking and cornering at speed, as this can take a toll on your tyres.
Pollution and climate change
It’s not just your car that you’ll be damaging by speeding.
As your car uses more fuel while speeding, the engine is producing a larger amount of CO2 emissions – contributing to the high levels of air pollution we see in built-up areas 1.
By maintaining a steady and safe speed, you’ll not only be saving fuel, the volume of harmful emissions your car produces will decrease 1. And if everyone made a small change to their speed, together we could make a big change to the planet.
You won’t get there any quicker
Research shows that people tend to overestimate time saved by speeding .
Our recent research reveals that if you’re driving at 60mph in a 50mph zone on the average commute (14 miles), you’d cut your journey by just 2:48 minutes.
If you then receive the minimum speeding fine (£100) for this journey, you’d be paying £35.71 per minute saved.
That’s a pretty expensive trip, and you haven’t got to your destination any quicker nor you’ve put yourself and others in danger as you go.
Speeding is stressful
Speeding creates stress, road rage and anger, which can very easily become a habit or, even worse, an addiction.
According to Dr. Chris Tennant of the London School of Economics and Political Science: “Drivers themselves create the very environment they often find stressful.” 1
In a survey of nearly 9000 people, 87% agreed that when one driver helped them, they were more likely to help another later on their journey. Oppositely, when one driver impedes you, you are more likely to be less helpful to, or possibly even to impede another. This all creates more stress on the road (which is often a cause of accidents or a loss of concentration).
By allowing more time for your journey and following the rules of the road, you’re less likely to find yourself in stressful situations. In turn meaning you’re likely to be more mindful of the road and other drivers.
What happens if I get caught speeding?
Getting caught by a speed camera
If a speed camera captures you driving over the speed limit, you (as the registered owner of the car) can expect to receive a ‘Notice of Intended Prosecution’ (NIP) in the post from the DVLA.
You’ll be asked to provide details of who was driving at the time of the offence. If it wasn't you, you’ll need to provide the name and address of who was driving. If you were driving, but you dispute that you were speeding, you’ll still need to give your details, and you'll be asked to attend a magistrates court to plead your case.
Remember, it’s an offence to give false details at this point and you could be prosecuted – which could land you with 6 penalty points, a disqualification or even a prison sentence.
Depending on how fast you were going, the police could require you to attend a speed awareness course, receive a fine (or, ‘Fixed Penalty Notice’) or even a court summons.
Getting caught speeding by the police
If you’re stopped by the police on the road, the officer can deal with a speeding offence in 2 ways. You may be issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice or be sent a court summons in the post, depending on how fast you were going.
You have 28 days to reject the FPN if you want to, but you’ll then have to go to court to plead your case where you could face higher penalties such as a a fine of up to £1,000 (or £2,500 on the motorway) or the loss of your licence.
Impact of speeding on your car insurance
Any activity that demonstrates to insurers that you're a higher risk driver is likely to increase the cost of your insurance.
Penalty points on your licence (or 'motoring offences') are considered by insurance companies when assessing the risk you pose on the road (or the likelihood of you claiming on your insurance).
Maintaining a clean driving licence by staying within the speed limit will not only help you to stay safe on the road, but will help demonstrate to insurers that you're a safe pair of hands behind the wheel.