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PostPosted: Sat Aug 06, 2011 08:20 
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Help, I'm 21 years old and have never been on a motorway before until last week (been driving for 3 years in total) I had to go on it for a week to drop my other half off at a new work placement.

The motorway i did was the m42/m40 from redditch - leamington spa and back 4 times a day for a week.

It was only yesterday that i realised there was speed cameras by them signs that show up 60 mph hear and then. unfortuantly i thought they was only a guide line speed if heavy traffic so i generally stayed at the speed of the motorway 70mph and above for over taking.

It has come to my horror today to realise that these zones are riddled with cameras and that the speed limit is actually the speed you are supposed to do even when road is clear.

Im really really upset atm, as i know it is a possibility, due to a highway code misunderstanding (you don't get taught motorway driving on your driving test) that i could have over 30 speeding tickets that week.

I really don't know what to do , i Know this means i will most likely be in jail, I'm in my final year of an Artificial Intelligence degree as well so I won't be able to finish my degree with a fine of 2500 pounds * 30

What do I do I feel like jumping in front of a train.

I have made a huge mistake, I'm generally a really safe driver had no convictions on normal roads, just been owned like a noob on the motorway.

Any advice would be amazing, shall i ring the police now and come clean?


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 06, 2011 08:28 
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I'd wait and see how many tickets you actually receive before getting too worried. Also bear in mind that the cameras in the M42 Variable Speed Limit will be set to enforce at limit + 10% + 2 mph, so in a 60 section you won't trigger them unless doing at least 68. Plus, most speedometers underread by 5-10%, so even an indicated 70 could well be OK. Anyway, fingers crossed...

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 06, 2011 08:34 
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Hey dude, I would love to think that my needle was at 70, however a lot of the time i had an audi up my arse and had to go a faster to avoid it hitting into me, so i often went 80 on my speedo in order to help keep a distance, I was just copying the other road users as i did not know how to drive on the motorway that well.

What happens if it is 30 tickets or so or even 10, what do i do is that it game over , never drive again , loose the future i have worked so hard to build for myself


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 06, 2011 09:06 
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No, I think you'd be looking at a totting-up ban of six months, no more than that.

There is precedent where a number of offences have been committed in a short period of time that are basically of the same nature for the courts to disregard some of them. I'd guess they would only actually impose four fines to take you up to the 12 points needed for a ban. Plus as a student you'd have a good case for pleading financial hardship.

This of course illustrates one of the key drawbacks of automated speed enforcement, in that it fails to provide a rapid feedback loop. If you had been pulled over by a copper at the time of your first offence and been given a stern lecture you probably wouldn't have done it again.

Anyway, let us know after a couple of weeks how many tickets you've actually got and we'll take it from there.

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 06, 2011 09:33 
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You're so right, I had no idea i was doing anything wrong for over a week, I was just copying other road users and saw a lot of people going past in the excess of 100 so I figured 70-80 would be fine on the motorway.

If one of the cameras actually showed me I got in trouble then I would not have repeated the offence a further 30+ times, I was just igronent of what the speed signs meant and was more worried about the other cars around me and where they was and what they was doing. I was busy making sure i was doing enough speed to stay 3 car lengths ahead so that I avoided being tail gated.

All my driving instructor told me about motorways is that you look out for other cars and keep a consistent speed, letting others enter the motorway from the left, I never knew you had to change your speed in other zones on the motorway. It might have been in my theory test but that was 3 years back.

It really sucks, Is there any ways i can hold off the fines until i get a full time job after my degree in one years time as I will really struggle to afford anything atm, I'm living of beans and bread atm due to lack of money a fine would do me in big time


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 06, 2011 14:05 
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You might be OK for the times when you were keeping pace with other traffic (not passing them). However, if you were maintaining your usual speed, when the limits shown on the overhead gantries showing 60, 50, 40, etc, and you were passing traffic, then you have cause for concern.

You will know within the coming 2 weeks if the situation is as bad as you believe. Notices of Intended Prosecutions must be served within 14 days from the date of offence (assuming the vehicle is registered to your address, otherwise your wait could be up to 6 months).

Chances are your total fine won’t be anywhere near as bad as you believe, certainly not £2500 x 30. Things won't be so bad if you were within 26mph of the speed limit. There is a slim chance that you might not even receive a driving ban.



It does irk me that learner drivers are banned from getting hand-on motorway tuition.
There is something important you might not have realised about driving on these fast roads.

The next time you feel another driver is getting too close behind you, I strongly recommend that you move into the lane to the left (you might have to slow down to the speed of traffic in that lane, but that’s OK); you don't have to react by speeding up.
The middle and right-hand lanes are "overtaking lanes"; they absolutely are not "fast lanes"; the left most lane is not a 'truck lane'.
Drivers who simply remain within the middle/right-hand lanes are usually referred to "middle lane numpties" as they cause needless congestion, they usually cause some frustration for other motorists.

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 06, 2011 14:49 
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For a start, there is no point in worrying yourself silly. Imagining worst case scenarios like those you have been considering do you no good at all. Relax. Maybe nothing will come of it. Those cameras don't always work/aren't all active for a start. In fact on the M25 ones there are lines in random places, like under bridges, where there are no cameras at all.

Also, they take 5 minutes to be enforcible. Or possibly longer. So from the moment the limit is 60 there is a grace/tolerance/good will period where the cameras are not switched on.

In my experience, very few people get caught by these systems. I don't know why, just seems that way. I mean people do get caught but not with the frequency I'd expect considering there is a camera every few hundred yards in some cases and the amount of people I see disregarding the limit. I would have expected a search of google to throw up hundreds or thousands of unlucky motorists but in reality I have seen a lot of posts like yours 'I was exceeding the limit on stretch of motorway covered by a variable limit system' and then weeks later they have had nothing in the post. I have been travelling in the car with people who have completely ignored them when it was safe to do so -been 20 or more mph over the set limit- and the motorway was clear and not had anything come back. On the M1 with certain sections you can tell those which have cameras or not as you approach as there is a visible ariel on those gantries with active cameras.

I would say you won't get anything through in the post and your worry will be for nothing. If I am wrong, post up on here and we'll go from there.

The other thing is, from memory the variable speed limits on the M42 aren't the same as the M25. They're cheeky. They look like the flashing advisory limits you get all over the place. The ones we all know and love where you hit a stretch of completely clear motorway at night and it's suddenly advising 40mph and you slow and sometimes trundle along for miles before you realise that someone has forgotten to switch the signs off. Whereas the M25 has big red-circled values, much like a digital version of the standard speed limit sign. I don't know if you get a ticket whether that would be worth persuing. I am not sure of the legality, but would say whilst the M25's are definitely enforcible, if the M42 use a different type, maybe they are not? I know the M20 or M2 (whichever one that has VSL in Kent - I always get them muddled up) originally had the temporary signs when the cameras were first introduced and then swapped to the M25 red-circled value signs. While they had the advisory type I never heard of anyone getting done. Plenty of people querying it on message boards but never heard of anyone getting points or a fine. I am sure the situation is maybe different now.


PeterE wrote:
This of course illustrates one of the key drawbacks of automated speed enforcement, in that it fails to provide a rapid feedback loop. If you had been pulled over by a copper at the time of your first offence and been given a stern lecture you probably wouldn't have done it again.


Or, more than likely, a copper wouldn't have even bothered. What cop is going to enforce a 60mph limit on a clear motorway? Another reason why I am against this type of active traffic management system. There are many other reasons, but in this instance their or their operators seeming inability to detect appropriate speed for conditions and the lack of common sense seem the only ones worth mentioning. What sort of justice is it if worriedman gets a ticket for exceeding a limit that was inappropriate?


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 06, 2011 14:57 
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The VSLs on the M42 and M6 in the West Midlands all have clear red rings visible when the lower limits are in place, plus large signs saying "Variable Speed Limit". They're completely different from the advisory gantry signs.

My experience is that these roads tend to be pretty busy 7-7, 7 days a week, and the regulars are well aware of the limits and tend to treat them as SPECS zones, even though they are point cameras. Thus it's hard to get the chance to significantly exceed the limit, even if you wanted to. I'm not saying the "Audi up the arse" scenario isn't true, but it doesn't accord with my experience.

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 06, 2011 15:45 
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Thanks for all your help guys, you have made me feel safer

Its a shame i went though over 50+ of these cameras without knowing that the speed limit was NOT and advisory speed limit =[

If i do get done with 30+ speeding tickets then i will get it published in the sun as "Worlds stupidest driver, mistakes speed signs on motorway as advisory and ends up with over 30 speeding tickets in 1 week"

Kinda funny to think that in my A.I degree I'm actually designing the algorithms for self driving cars and it was in my exam last year, Kinda scared now that the car i make will also do the same mistakes i did haha, Best avoid them self driving cars for a bit guys considering idiots like me are making them.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 06, 2011 17:01 
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Worriedman - try not to worry, mate. You will probably find it's a lot of fuss over nothing. Unfortunately, the government puts these type of schemes in to place and we are expected to automatically know what a variable speed limit is and how to react to it. No one teaches us.

As for the self-driving can? Hmmm. No thank you :? :lol:


PeterE wrote:
The VSLs on the M42 and M6 in the West Midlands all have clear red rings visible when the lower limits are in place, plus large signs saying "Variable Speed Limit". They're completely different from the advisory gantry signs.



They didn't used to. I am pretty sure the M42 was the square advisory signs when I travelled on it a few years back. Has the M40 got those variable limits on it too? The M25 now has more on, the M1 has them all ove rthe place - when will it end? Dumb question I know.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 06, 2011 17:11 
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They definitely do have the red rings, one of the reasons I take the M42 to the M5 to go round Birmingham! Thankfully there are far fewer actual cameras than there are sets of witness marks on the road. I remember hearing once that these cameras are set to a higher setting than the usual 10+2, though I have no clue as to the veracity of this.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 08, 2011 10:10 
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Ah, don't you just love it when you have a nice Audi or BMW stuck behind your ass and you can't drive slowly? My sister is terrified of fancy cars getting stuck behind her in traffic. Especially worse if it's like tiny streets and sharp turns.

I would wait to see what happens, before worrying too much about it. Variable speed limit is such bull, in my opinion anyways, but then again I refrain myself from driving cause I can't afford my own vehicle and I'm terrified of crashing someone else's LOL. :)

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 08, 2011 17:34 
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irrelevant wrote:
Ah, don't you just love it when you have a nice Audi or BMW stuck behind your ass and you can't drive slowly?


I've never known this to be the case. You just drive at your own rate, and move over to let them pass if on a multi-lane road, or slow down at a suitable overtaking place if on a single carriageway. Unless they are ramming you and pushing you along you are still in control of your car, and solely responsible for how you drive it.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 08, 2011 22:37 
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RobinXe wrote:
irrelevant wrote:
Ah, don't you just love it when you have a nice Audi or BMW stuck behind your ass and you can't drive slowly?


I've never known this to be the case. You just drive at your own rate, and move over to let them pass if on a multi-lane road, or slow down at a suitable overtaking place if on a single carriageway. Unless they are ramming you and pushing you along you are still in control of your car, and solely responsible for how you drive it.

My thoughts exactly!

Further to that: if a following driver is metaphorically up your exhaust, you should consider leaving additional gap to the vehicle in front of you, not to frustrate or 'teach a lesson', but so you can brake more gently should the vehicle in front slam on the anchors, otherwise the following one will end up being literally up your exhaust.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 09, 2011 04:05 
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:welcome: worriedMan
We can and will try to help and advise all that we can, but if this becomes a legal situation you really must seek proper legal advice. Some of the users here are Magistrates or Police, who can advise from personal or professional experience (and they are badged accordingly). I appreciate that you have not 'stated this as fact' but be aware that claiming on a public forum that you might have been 'travelling above the posted limit' is not always wise.
Without doubling up on what others have already stated ...
What you relate is really quite troubling, if this is the standard that is being currently taught. Who was it that taught you to drive ? (Do send a PM (Private Message) if you prefer.)

It is very unwise to 'be a sheep' on the roads by following everyone else, far better to ensure that you know all the facts and information for yourself, making the best judgements possible and managing risk as well as you possibly can.
At the end of the day it will never be the 'other drivers' who might have to stand in front of a judge, but the motorist who, for whatever reason, finds themselves in Court.

Purely as a matter of interest, have you been on many dual carriageways prior to this new situation? In some ways driving at 70 on a dual carriageway (DC) can see a few principal similarities to Motorway driving. For example, the vehicles are all travelling in the same direction on your side of the carriageway, you can travel up to 70mph (cars/motorbikes) and use L2 (lane two) for overtaking, pulling back in to L1 afterwards, some also have many similar gantry signs although not identical.

I can understand the financial burden that you are already in, and were this to end up in front of a Judge then a clear 'statement of means' will likely show that you could only afford a small sum each month for quite some time, if it came to this.

Motorway Signs: Full Sign manual Here here here and pdf doc here - pg 13 and M/way Laws here and here.
Electronic Signs (Messages & speed limits) here.
Active Traffic management here (signs & meanings, Plus a graphic 'drive through' also explaining signs) here- section 2.3 (M42 Project) and here (M42 J5 Report).
The advisory [url]Motorways sign[/url] (amber flashing lights) is different from the enforceable one (red ring), but any police patrol can always decide to book you for going above the speed posted limit if they so decide (e.g. 31 in a 30), but this is rare. Police usually take the ACPO guidance of 10%+2 (so 35 and above in a 30mph).
Whilst I cannot verify the 5 minute leeway mentioned previously, (although it makes sense) there is not anything in Law that I can find (yet) to back this up. DoktorMandrake have you got a reference to this ?
I cannot be too sure that I'd rely on looking for a antenna to ensure the presence of a camera or not, not that I am implying that anyone is or might consider, travelling over the posted limit! (Motorway cameras - here.)

worriedMan wrote:
If one of the cameras actually showed me I got in trouble then I would not have repeated the offence a further 30+ times, I was just igronent of what the speed signs meant and was more worried about the other cars around me and where they was and what they was doing. I was busy making sure i was doing enough speed to stay 3 car lengths ahead so that I avoided being tail gated.
Sadly in law ignorance is no defense.
I am curious though if your theory test was only 3 yrs ago, have you really forgotten so much already ? Have you only recently been driving since you passed ?
Trying to 'outrun' those who are behind you is unwise, and I can only reiterate what others here have stated, pull over, and always allow closely following cars (or badly driven one's) to pass you, far better to have them in front than bothering you from behind.
This is also where gaining valuable experience gives you confidence and a developing ability & skill, and by using confident sensible manoeuvres known to be legal you can grow and learn. Some 'A (DC) roads' would be good training ground and every Learner should have some hours of training on them, and/ or a few follow up hours of Motorway training after passing the driving test. I know some learner centres that have done just this.
worriedMan wrote:
All my driving instructor told me about motorways is that you look out for other cars and keep a consistent speed, letting others enter the motorway from the left, I never knew you had to change your speed in other zones on the motorway. It might have been in my theory test but that was 3 years back.
Your speed should always be in accordance to conditions, and so you should expect it to fluctuate readily. As you gain more experience you will realise that motorway traffic is in little 'bunches' so choosing to travel in the clear sections affords you a massive safety advantage (when traffic is not all stopped or very busy). All Motorway signs should be understood and observed, and if you are unsure slow to the observed sign until you know otherwise. By coming here, you are learning as well as tapping into a vast wealth of knowledge and experience from many corners of the the Globe. :)

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 09, 2011 12:26 
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SafeSpeedv2 wrote:
:welcome: worriedMan
The advisory [url]Motorways sign[/url] (amber flashing lights) is different from the enforceable one (red ring), but any police patrol can always decide to book you for going above the speed posted limit if they so decide (e.g. 31 in a 30), but this is rare. Police usually take the ACPO guidance of 10%+2 (so 35 and above in a 30mph).


This may offer some consolation to worriedman. It would be in keeping with common sense on a fast flowing road like a m/way to maybe have the trigged value on the camera set slightly higher -

"Each speed limit also has a user-settable threshold, so that the actual speed at which an offence occurs is the sum of the speed limit and this amount (e.g.. a 40mph limit with a 10mph threshold means it will enforce at 50+mph.). Generally the threshold is no less than 10%+2 of the speed limit, but this is merely a guideline and it can be anything from 0-99mph, and is entirely at
the discretion of the operator" (source: http://www.ukspeedtraps.co.uk/gatso10.htm)

For a start, if they set the threashold too low, the whole system would grind to a halt as they'd be printing tickets til the end of time.


SafeSpeedv2 wrote:
Whilst I cannot verify the 5 minute leeway mentioned previously, (although it makes sense) there is not anything in Law that I can find (yet) to back this up. DoktorMandrake have you got a reference to this ?


Unfortunately, it's not a law. I got it off the internet. So I cannot vouch for its veracity but...

"1, Starts a timer for a user-set "grace period", to allow the motorist time to react to the new limit. This is generally set at 5mins." (source: http://www.ukspeedtraps.co.uk/gatso10.htm)


SafeSpeedv2 wrote:
I cannot be too sure that I'd rely on looking for a antenna to ensure the presence of a camera or not, not that I am implying that anyone is or might consider, travelling over the posted limit!


I would never travel over the limit! That would be suicide! As we all know, exceeding the posted limit is a dangerous disregard for the safety of oneself and other road users only attempted by people with an underdeveloped survival instinct! From personal investigation, I have found that on sections of the M1, those with active cameras do have what I presume to be a little square antenna in the middle of the gantry that is visible some distance off. One for each camera. Those without cameras do not have these. So you can be sure, in my experience, when approaching one whenther it has a camera or not. Some of the gantries also have an, admittedly tiny, sign at the bottom stating 'camera not in use'.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 09, 2011 13:25 
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DoktorMandrake wrote:

SafeSpeedv2 wrote:
Whilst I cannot verify the 5 minute leeway mentioned previously, (although it makes sense) there is not anything in Law that I can find (yet) to back this up. DoktorMandrake have you got a reference to this ?


Unfortunately, it's not a law. I got it off the internet. So I cannot vouch for its veracity but...

"1, Starts a timer for a user-set "grace period", to allow the motorist time to react to the new limit. This is generally set at 5mins." (source: http://www.ukspeedtraps.co.uk/gatso10.htm)


I knew I'd seen somethign about this more formally before, but 5mins sounded wrong. This is the relevant legislation for VSL on m42:
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2009 ... ion/3/made

Quote:
Variable speed limits
3.—
(1) No person shall drive a vehicle on a section of a road which is subject to a variable speed limit at a speed exceeding that indicated by a speed limit sign.
(2) A section of a road is subject to a variable speed limit in relation to a vehicle being driven along it if
(a)the road is specified in the Schedule;
(b)the vehicle has passed a speed limit sign; and
(c)the vehicle has not passed
(i)another speed limit sign indicating a different speed limit; or
(ii)a traffic sign which indicates that the national speed limit is in force.
(3) In relation to a vehicle, the speed limit indicated to a vehicle by a speed limit sign is the speed shown at the time the vehicle passes the sign, or, if higher, the speed limit shown by the sign ten seconds before the vehicle passed the sign.
(4) For the purpose of this regulation a speed limit sign is to be taken as not indicating any speed limit if, ten seconds before the vehicle passed it, the sign had indicated no speed limit or that the national speed limit was in force.

(5) In this regulation—“national speed limit” has the meaning given by regulation 5(2) of the 2002 Regulations;“road” includes the adjacent hard shoulder and verge;“speed limit sign”, in relation to a vehicle, means a traffic sign of the type shown in diagram 670 in Schedule 2 to the 2002 Regulations which is
(a)situated on or near any part of a road specified in the Schedule; and
(b)directed at traffic on the carriageway on which the vehicle is being driven.


There may well be a guideline written or not as to when it's actually enforced as opposed to actually legally enforceable.

SafeSpeedv2 wrote:
I cannot be too sure that I'd rely on looking for a antenna to ensure the presence of a camera or not, not that I am implying that anyone is or might consider, travelling over the posted limit!


on the original m42 section (not sure about the mor recent extensions) it's easy to spot as there are ALWAYS cameras on both sides of the carraigeway at any given gantry. So if you can see the cameras facing you on the opposite side there will be cameras in your direction too. Vice versa there are NEVER cameras facing one way but not the other. [Don't take my word for it, but it's easy / entertaining to spot those drivers that know this and those that don't.. i won't generalise as to what cars they drive :wink: ]


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 10, 2011 11:34 
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Hey thanks for all your comments, can not believe some of the effort you guys have put in to give me information.

I have been continuing to travel on the M40/M42 for the past few days, I have noticed two sets of cameras on the signs on the way back from leamington towards Birmingham (on the section where the M40 joins the M42).

I have been sticking to the posted limits but have found it hard to be safe while doing this as so many cars overtake me or come up real close to my car. Had on instance yesterday when the sign changed from 70 - 40 at last moment so I slammed on my breaks (as I was going the originally posted 70) and almost caused an accident.

While travelling through the variable speed limit area i found that lots of cars still go in an excess of 80 -90mph through the cameras. This does not set a good example for new drivers on that motorway as this is what caused my original confusion in the first place. I could not for the life of me figure out why people where not slowing down for the signs.

Anyways I have kept below the speed limit on my travels and I hope to god that the cameras are set much higher than the posted limit, or are simply deactivated.

I want to take a pass+ course as I find it daunting driving through a new area or stretch of road and meeting different kinds of road signs and signals.

To answer your question on ho experienced I am, I come from the Cannock area and have had no reason to ever be on a motorway or dual carriageway, this means my experience mainly lies within 30-50 mph roads over the past 3 years i have been driving.

The mistake i did was just a stupid one, I saw the word variable speed limit and failed to understand what it meant, I looked at the other cars around me and saw they where not even bothering to slow down for the signs. This is what triggered the confusion over what to do when you see them signs.

Obviously after coming to this forum and discussing it I have a perfect idea of what to do and how to react. I just wish i had a reason to visit this forum earlier on.

Fingers crossed I don't loose my license and that I don't end up with a heavy fine.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 10, 2011 17:32 
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I come from the Cannock area and have had no reason to ever be on a motorway or dual carriageway, this means my experience mainly lies within 30-50 mph roads over the past 3 years i have been driving.


Have to feel sorry for you there, it's a terrible area for density of speed cameras....I bet you didn't realise that the NSL on single carriageways is actually 60MPH because as far as your local council goes..."it just aint OK!"....;-)... (stupid pillocks)

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 10, 2011 19:52 
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Actually you have a point there, all single carriageways in Cannock are like 50 Mph limits


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