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Speeding and road safety

Road accidents are the main cause of accidental death in the UK, but taking some simple precautions can help to keep you safe.

Drive SMART is a partnership between Surrey Police and Surrey County Council (including Surrey Fire and Rescue Service), with the aim of reducing road casualties, tackling anti-social driving and making the county's roads safer and less stressful for everyone.


Road accidents are the main cause of accidental death in the UK, but taking some simple precautions can help to keep you safe.

It's the driver's legal responsibility to ensure that the vehicle they are driving is roadworthy. The driver will receive a fine and points on their licence if the vehicle had a defect. Regular checks should include fuel, lights, fluid levels, tyres and windscreen wipers. It's a good idea to carry spare bulbs and keep light lenses clean.

It’s important that you check your tyres on a regular basis. The legal minimum tread depth for a car is 1.6mm across the centre three-quarters of the tyre, around the whole circumference.  In winter it is recommended that you have at least 3mm of tread depth to deal with weather conditions and to reduce aquaplaning.  The less tread on the tyre, the less grip on the road and the longer the stopping distance becomes.  Don’t forget to check the spare wheel at the same time.

Check the weather forecast and road conditions before you travel. Visit  and 

Follow @SurreyTravel for an overview of travel in the county.

  • Before you set off in icy or snow conditions, make sure you have enough fuel, carry warm clothing, a blanket, spade, food, water, a charged mobile phone and a torch.
  • De-ice windows and remove snow from your vehicle’s roof and lights. Make sure the battery is fully charged
  • Select second gear to pull away, choose a lower gear going downhill and avoid braking too sharply
  • Make sure someone knows when you are leaving and when you aim to arrive. Allow extra time for your journey, take it carefully and be patient
  • Reduce your speed and increase the distance between you and the vehicle in front.  If you start to skid, ease off the accelerator but never brake suddenly
  • Use dipped headlights if visibility is poor and use your rear fog lights if visibility falls below 100 metres.  Don’t forget to turn them off if there is a vehicle directly behind you
  • If you find yourself stranded in your car please keep calm. Check where you are and note any identifying features e.g. a tree is not a unique enough landmark. Call the police on 101 and family/friends to let them know the situation. Keep warm and dry and run your engine for 10 minutes every hour to keep warm, unless the exhaust is blocked by snow. If it is blocked, switch off the engine and clear the blockage. Unless you know where you are and there are houses nearby, remain with your car and wait for help. If you must leave your car, leave a note inside your vehicle saying where you have gone and when. Include your name and contact numbers. 
  • In hot weather, check your coolant and oil levels.
  • Top up your windscreen washer fluid with a good quality screenwash.
  • Check your tyre pressures especially if you're carrying heavy loads such as a car full of luggage and people.  Check your spare tyre too.
  • Check your battery if you are taking a long summer road trip. According to the RAC, three year replacement cycles are a good rule of thumb.
  • Make sure you take bottles of water with you in case of delays.
  • Remember never to leave pets in the car on hot days.



Even the smallest amount of alcohol can affect a driver's skills without them realising. Everyone is different so it’s best not to have any at all if you are driving; or to make alternative travel arrangements.

If you suspect someone may be planning to drink and drive, please call us on 101 with as many details as you can (name; make, colour and registration of car; location). You could save their life, and perhaps someone else's.

Excessive and inappropriate speeds are the root cause of many deaths and injuries on our roads due to the damage caused when vehicles and objects collide.

The vast majority of drivers recognise the need to moderate their speed and our aim is to change the behaviour of drivers who continue to use excessive and inappropriate speed.

Excessive speeds are those over the speed limit, and our work with speed cameras, other enforcement and community involvement looks to reduce these.

Inappropriate speeds, meanwhile, are often those below the limit but inappropriate for the road type or conditions – for example 28mph through heavily built-up double parked area or outside schools at the busiest times of day can be inappropriate. We use a range of advice and educational tactics to help change this behaviour.

Changes to the Consequences

From Monday 24th April 2017, motorists caught speeding could be fined more than they are at present. Fines for motorists driving well over the speed limit will start from 150 per cent of their weekly income rather than the existing level of 100 per cent, up to a maximum of £1000 or £2500 if caught on a motorway.

Following consultation in 2016, revised Sentencing Council guidelines issued to the magistrates' courts now place a greater emphasis on the potential harm that speeding poses and the risk to the public. The Sentencing Council have said the move aims to ensure there is a ‘clear increase in penalty as the seriousness of offending increases’.

Fines are divided into three bands – A, B and C – which correspond to how serious the speeding offence is.

Drivers caught at speeds up to 10 mph over the limit are classed as band A, with band B fares relating to offences where motorists were clocked at 11-21 mph over the limit.

The most serious category of offence is band C, which applies to drivers exceeding the speed limit by more than 21 mph.

Band  Speed over limit  Fine 
1 - 10 mph  25% - 75% of weekly wage 
11 - 21 mph  75% - 125% of weekly wage
21+ mph   125% - 175% of weekly wage 


Abnormal load

How do I get a permit to move an abnormal load across Surrey and/or Sussex?

All abnormal load movements must be notified to Surrey and Sussex Police and the relevant bridge or highway authority a minimum of two clear working days before they are moved.

An abnormal load becomes notifiable to police when it exceeds any of the following:

Width - 2.9 meters
Lateral projection of load - 305 millimeters
Length - 18.65 meters
Weight - 80 tonnes (bridge authorities must be notified if load exceeds 44 tonnes).

Abnormal loads that require a private escort are loads that exceed:

Type of road Single carriageways                 Dual carriageways
Overall width 
3.6m or above 4.1m or above
Overall length 27m or above 27m or above
Overall weight 130 tonnes or above 130 tonnes or above

Conditions of movement
The notification of acceptance  is granted on the understanding that it relates only to vehicles operated by the named company and does not include subcontractors.

The driver and haulier of the abnormal load are responsible for ensuring that the load travels safely and is properly secured and marked at all times
All abnormal loads must comply with all road traffic legislation whether being escorted or not
Vehicle must be able to maintain speed of 30mph on level ground.

No movement during peak hours: Monday to Friday 07:30 to 09:30 and 16:30 to 18:30.

No movement during the hours of darkness (lighting up time).

No movement from 12:00 on a Friday before bank holiday weekends until daylight on the following Tuesday excluding the M25 and M3 transiting only.

A copy of the original notification and a copy of the Notification of Acceptance (NRRN) from police MUST be with the driver.

Load to be properly secured including hydraulic arms.

Haulier must ensure the route is suitable & approved by other authorities where required.
  • The extremities of the load must be clearly marked with approved marker boards - and if visibility is reduced these must be illuminated
  • No deviation from the notified route
  • It is the hauliers responsibility to make sure that there are no roadworks that could effect the route before commencing the journey
  • If a load exceeds total width of 3.5m then another person is required in addition to the driver.

Notifying of a movement of an abnormal load
Hauliers must agree the date, time and route in advance and obtain the appropriate licences, insurance and permissions. The Highways Agency has developed the ESDAL (Electronic Service Delivery for Abnormal Loads) website to help hauliers plot routes and identify the appropriate authorities.

For more information and to notify an abnormal load movement, contact the Surrey and Sussex Police abnormal loads office:

Telephone: 01273 404187
Correspondence address: Sussex Police Headquarters, Abnormal loads Office, Church Lane, Lewes, East Sussex, BN7 2DZ.

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