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Q: I was driving on the freeway in England recently and noticed plenty of signs warning of traffic cameras and reduced speed zones, but nary a sign posting the speed limit. What’s up with that?

A: As in the United States, all drivers in the U.K. have to take a driving class — including U.S. military members — in which they learn the speed limits for various roadways. So, if there’s no sign posted, you’re just supposed to know what the limit is because you’ve memorized it.

But how do visitors like myself know the limit? Here’s what you need to know when driving a car or motorcycle in the U.K., according to the government’s Department for Transport.

The speed limit is 30 mph in built-up areas — which applies to all traffic on all roads in England and Wales with street lighting unless signs show otherwise.

On single carriageways — or two-lane highways — the limit is 60 mph. The speed limit rises to 70 mph on dual carriage-ways — or four-lane highways — and remains at 70 mph for multi-lane motorways.

Except for in built-up areas, the limit drops by 10 mph in all areas for cars towing caravans or trailers.

And keep in mind, there’s a good chance that traffic cameras are watching. Speeding is a criminal offense, and, if you get caught, you’ll likely get a stiff fine and penalty points on your license.

Got a question about goings-on Europe? E-mail Stripes at:


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