What’s a dual carriageway, its speed limit, and sign? These are common questions which every road user must know. However, you will have complete knowledge of these queries after reading this.
“A dual carriageway is a roadway or a type of highway which has a dividing area of land in the middle that separates the rows of traffic, moving in opposite directions”.
On the other hand, the road without a dividing area of land in the middle is a single carriageway regardless of the number of lanes. The dual carriageway is a British term. While, in the USA, the common term for dual carriageway is divided highway.
In 1924 the first Italian autostrada from Milan to Varese was opened and it has a length of 34 miles (55). Similarly, Great West Road is Britain’s first dual carriageway which was opened in 1925.
From the 1950s and onward, these roads became popular for improved road traffic safety and also for the higher speed limits.
What is a Dual Carriageway?
A dual carriageway is a subset of highway with roadways for public transport, traveling in opposite directions separated physically by reserve area of land or concrete down the middle. This roadway may be a single lane, two lanes, three lanes, and four lanes.
The 2 lane dual carriageway refers to the road with two lanes in each direction. There is a dividing area of land or concrete wall in the middle that separates each lane. On 2 lane, drive in the left lane except when overtaking.
This 2 lane or 2+2 road is a specific type of dual carriageway which is mostly found in Scandinavian countries and Ireland.
The three lane dual carriageway consists of three lanes in each direction. Central reservation or concrete wall in the middle separates the traffic of both sides. On three lane dual carriageway, you can use the right and middle lanes for overtaking. However, always use the right lane for turning on the right side.
The four lane dual carriageway refers to the road with four lanes in each direction. There is central reservation or concrete down the middle to separate the traffic of both sides.
On four lane carriageway, you can drive in the second row. You can also drive in third row especially when there is a vehicle moving slowly in the second lane. But do not stay in the third and right row unnecessarily.
Can a learner driver go on a dual carriageway?
Yes, learner drivers can drive on a dual carriageway, unlike the motorway. Because according to the UK current law, on motorway or freeway learner drivers do not have permission to drive a vehicle. But if a learner driver has a qualified driving instructor accompanying him, then he can drive on the motorway as well.
what is the Central Reservation on Dual Carriageway?
The reserve area that separates opposing lanes of traffic is called the central reservation. Central reservation may be a reserved area of land, median barrier, dividing strip or railway line, etc.
Single vs Dual Carriageway
A Single Carriageway is a road with one paved surface without any reserve or separation area in the center. It is a British term. While the common term for this type of roadway in the United States is an undivided highway.
On the other hand, a dual carriageway is a road with two paved surfaces having separation in the center. The separation may be as a reserved area of land, barrier, any dividing strip, or median. This is a British term. While, in the United States, the common term for this type of highway is divided highway.
The basic difference between these two roadways is the difference in speed limit. In the UK, the speed limit on a dual carriageway is 70 mph whereas on a single carriageway it is 60 mph.
Difference Between Dual Carriageway and Motorway
Both roadways play a role of a line of communication between one place to another. A motorway is a revolutionary form of the dual carriageway where vehicles can move at a high speed. Hence, there are few basic differences between dual carriageway and motorway which every road user must know.
However, the first difference between these two roadways is that there will be no entrance or exit ramp on the dual carriageway which the motorway has. Some other differences between these two roadways are as below:
Firstly, slow-moving vehicles don’t have permission to go on motorway while you can drive slow-moving vehicles on a dual carriageway. Secondly, learner drivers can’t drive any vehicle on the motorway but they can drive on the dual carriageway.
Thirdly, cyclists and pedestrians can not on the motorway but they can go on a dual carriageway. Fourthly, motorways have a hard shoulder which dual carriageways do not have. Finally, the road signs of both types of roadway are also different, so that you can aware of which roadway you are approaching.
Dual Carriageway Speed Limit
Dual Carriageway speed limit refers to the maximum legal speed for vehicles using public roads in that particular country. In most countries, the legal speed limit is set as maximum or minimum speed, firstly for a particular road and secondly, for the particular vehicle.
The speed limit is also set for a particular section of a road at which vehicles can travel in that particular section of the road. Therefore, the speed limit varies according to the different roads, different vehicles, and also different countries. The national speed limit on a dual carriageway in the UK for each vehicle is as below.
What is the National Speed Limit on Dual Carriageway in UK?
In the United Kingdom, the national speed limit on a dual carriageway is 70 mph (113 km per hour). However, keep in mind that the national speed limit on a dual carriageway varies according to the vehicle, you are driving.
Moreover, on some sections of the dual carriageway, the speed limit is also restricted, which you can see on the road sign. In that case, you have to drive at the indicated speed limit in the restricted section of the road.
|Speed Limit for Cars, Bikes and Car-derived vans in UK||70 mph|
|Speed Limit for Car with a trailer in UK||60 mph|
|Speed Limit for Buses, Coaches and mini Buses up to 12 meters long in UK||60 mph|
|Speed Limit for Goods Vehicles weighing up to 7.5 tonnes in UK||60 mph|
|Speed Limit for Goods Vehicles weighing up to 7.5 tonnes in Scotland||50 mph|
The speed limit will be different in built-up areas, therefore, be careful while driving in the built-up section of the dual carriageway.
Are all Dual Carriageways 70 mph?
The speed limit on dual carriageways may be less than 70 mph because local administration can fix the speed according to the road condition and safety of drivers and other road users. Other than this, in the UK, most dual carriageways are 70 mph.
On the other hand, if you are traveling in the United States. The national speed limit will be between 55 and 75 mph according to the different states.
The speed limit on each road is indicated on a nearby traffic sign. Traffic signs may show a speed limit in mph (miles per hour), in km per hour, or may use a national speed limit (NSL).
Dual Carriageway Sign
The dual Carriageway sign is a warning traffic sign for drivers. It provides useful information to drivers and all road users about the rules that are in place there for their safety. This sign is very helpful and communicates to the drivers about the rules which help firstly, maintain traffic flow and secondly, reduce any kind of accident.
Dual Carriageway Ahead Sign
The dual Carriageway Ahead sign informs the drivers that they are about to approach the dual carriageway, which is a one-way road. It has a division in the middle by reserved area of land, concrete down the middle, some kind of physical barrier or median.
Therefore, drivers approaching the dual carriageway should be aware of the dual carriageway ahead sign. They should also aware of all other additional traffic signs that may be present there for their safety.
Moreover, the dual carriageway sign informs the drivers that now they have to follow dual carriageway or one-way road driving rules and conditions. Where traffic rules and driving conditions are different from a single carriageway road.
End Of Dual Carriageway Sign
The end of the dual carriageway sign is a warning sign. Because it communicates to the drivers that the dual carriageway or a section of one-way traffic is coming to an end. Finally, they are approaching a single carriageway road. So, they have to follow the rules and conditions of two-way traffic now.
More importantly, when you see the end of the dual carriageway sign, then always slow down your speed. Because the national speed limit on a single carriageway is different than on a dual carriageway. Similarly, driving conditions are also different on both roads. In addition, on a dual carriageway, traffic of both sides is separated by central reservation, which is not present on a single carriageway road.
Therefore, be careful and obey the traffic laws while driving, as you see the end of the dual carriageway sign to avoid any mishap.