Are motorway speed limits too low? Vote in our poll!

Vehicles have improved dramatically in the 46 years since the 70mph ceiling was set, so is it about time we raised the British national speed limit?

Automobiles

When the UK's 70mph national speed limit was introduced back in 1965, it couldn't have been better suited to the time. Back then, few cars could physically exceed 70mph and even if they could, few drivers wanted to go that fast, given the lack of safety systems and questionable braking efficiency of cars of that era.

Vehicles have improved dramatically in the 46 years since the 70mph ceiling was set, however. They're faster, safer for drivers and pedestrians and stop a hell of a lot quicker, so is it about time we raised the British national speed limit?

In 1965, lawmakers estimated drivers would typically require around 96 metres (315 feet) to come to a full stop -- 21 metres thinking distance and 75 metres braking distance. Obviously humans haven't changed much in this time -- our reflexes have remained largely the same, despite 20-odd years of twitch-heavy video games -- but cars produced in the years since these rules were established require far less time and distance to come to a standstill.

Just ask Top Gear, that bastion of thorough scientific research. Jeremy Clarkson demonstrated that a 1998 Lexus saloon could stop, without factoring in thinking times, from 70-0mph in 43m. Clarkson also showed an old Escort achieving this in 60m and even a heavy Land Rover Discovery managed it in 68m -- well below the 95m set out by ancient lawmakers.

Fast-forward 13 years and we've no doubt modern cars, with their anti-lock braking systems, brake assist and grippy modern tyres, can come to a standstill in even less time. So is this reason to justify increasing the national speed limit to 80mph? Should we abolish motorway speed limits entirely on some roads, as they have done in Germany? Should we leave it at 70mph, or do you think 70 is too dangerous and we should be thinking about lowering the speed limit?

Each of us at Crave Towers has our opinion on the subject, but we want to hear yours, so head on over to our Facebook page and vote in our poll. Last one there's a rotten egg.

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