Despite speed being one of the main causes of road accidents in the UK new research by The Co-operative Insurance shows that over a third of drivers are motoring along Britain’s fastest roads with no idea what the speed limit is.

The national speed limit on a single carriageway road is 60mph. However, over a third (38%) of drivers cannot correctly say what the national speed limit is on these roads with 25% believing that it is 50mph, and a tenth believing that it is 70mph or more.

Drivers’ knowledge of the speed limit on a dual carriageway, where the national speed limit is 70mph, isn’t much better. Over a third of drivers (36%) are unable to identify that this is 70mph. More than a quarter of drivers (27%) believe that it is 60mph, one in twenty (5%) believe that it is 50mph, with 2% thinking that it is 80mph or more.

And when it comes to motorways, 1 in 10 (12%) drivers don’t know that the speed limit is 70mph.

Younger drivers are more clued up when it comes to speed limits on single and dual carriageways (67% know the limit on single, 66% on dual) with older drivers aged 55+ knowing the least about the national speed limits on these roads than any other age group (59% know the limit on single, 62% on dual).

Drivers in London seem the most baffled by speed. Over half (53.5%) couldn’t say what the national speed limit is on a single carriageway, 46% on a dual carriageway and (22%) on a motorway.

Steve Kerrigan, Head of Telematics at The Co-operative Insurance said: “These figures show that all too often drivers are getting into their cars and driving with no real awareness of the speed limits in place.

“It is interesting that younger drivers – who are so often thought as being more dangerous – are so much more aware of national speed limits than older, often more experienced drivers.

“The impact of not being aware of speed limits on the roads can’t be underestimated; speeds are set for a reason and driving without knowing speed can have harmful consequences to other road users and pedestrians, especially if you are travelling too fast.”