Nev reflects on the common concerns over speed cameras and shares his knowledge on the obscure ones.
‘Have I just been flashed by a speed camera?’
It’s a common thought. Dark mornings and dusky evenings are upon us which only adds to the risk of getting it wrong regarding speed limits, especially on unfamiliar roads.
I find that an increasing number of drivers that attend our driver training courses confess to being convicted of speeding offenses. Much of this is simply down to the advancement of speed cameras that now watch over our roads across the UK.
With this in mind, prevention is better than cure. Let me give you an insight on what to look out for.
How many variations of speed cameras do we currently have in the UK?
The answer that I normally get to this question varies from four to six, or just ‘no idea’. The answer is actually 15.
Let’s take a look at some of the more obscure cameras rather than the obvious ones that you may already know about.
Truvelo Combi Forward Facing
This camera can also be set for rear view activation too, but is mainly used for forward facing as it not only captures the car details but takes a photo of the driver, too. This stops fraudulent claims that a different driver was behind the wheel of the vehicle at the time of the offence.
This one is new to our roads and connected to the ANPR (Automatic Number Plate Recognition) network. This camera takes a photo of your vehicle and works with the surrounding ANPR cameras to calculate the average speed in a set area. This camera is normally set up in towns, near schools or sensitive areas.
This little gem also takes a picture of your vehicle and communicates this information with up to 1,000 other cameras in a set area, using the GPRS and 3G networks. Used as an average speed camera system.
Highway Agency Digital Enforcement System. You will find these above the gantries on motorways or at the side of Smart Motorway networks and cover up to five individual lanes. They take three photos, two that are used for confirmation of speeding, and a third that verifies the driver.
This really is the ‘pièce de résistance’ and is called the Long Ranger for a very good reason. This mobile speed camera can read a number plate together with your approach speed from 1,000 meters away. In other words, you will see the camera way too late to respond in time, should you be speeding.
The above is just five of the 15 cameras in use in the UK, If you want to brush up with the more common ones, go to Whatcar.com for a full rundown.
Meanwhile, here are a few tips to keeping you safe this Christmas
Know that you are in a 30 mph area. If you see street lamps and no speed limit reminders, assume that you are in a 30 mph zone. However, 20 mph zones are becoming more common in town and city areas. These are normally well signed posted and you tend to get repeater signs.
Check side roads for speed limit signs. If you see a speed limit sign at the start of the side road, then you are normally on a different speed limited road.
Schools, hospitals and other sensitive areas may have speed limits that change at particular times of day. Look out for temporary, flashing speed limit signs in these areas.
If you are in the vicinity of a 30 mph speed camera, you tend to get a small 30 mph reminder on a blue background sign. 40 and 50 mph speed limit camera signs are normally set on a yellow background board.
Don’t trust the 10% leeway! All speedometers on vehicles are set at between 3-5% above your actual speed so you cannot sue your vehicle manufacture for wrongful conviction should you claim that you were simply following the vehicle’s speed on the dial. Many people that receive a conviction have played this game of chance.
My golden tip for avoiding a conviction is… don’t go over the speed limit in the first place!
Save the camera flashes for selfies of your Christmas jumper and not for an unwanted letter in the post.
Happy conviction-free driving this Christmas!
For more information, take a look at our Speed Awareness online training modules here.