Whether or not you’re a fan of speed cameras, as a driver on UK roads, you’ve got to get used to them. As such, it can be useful to know how to distinguish different types of speed camera, so that you can always drive within the legal speed limit on any journey you make.

What are the different types of speed camera on UK roads?

If a camera captures a driver speeding, it will take down details like the time and date of the offence, make and model of the vehicle, and speed of travel. Some types of speed camera also capture the face of the driver behind the wheel.  A typical penalty for speeding is a fine and three points on your driving licence – but penalties can be worse if the speed limit was significantly exceeded.

Fixed speed cameras

Fixed speed cameras include the Gatso speed camera (first introduced to the UK in 1991), as well as the Truvelo Combi and Truvelo D-Cam speed cameras. The Gatso speed camera is rear-facing in order to avoid blinding drivers with their flash, which gave rise to the Truvelo Combi, which is forward-facing and uses infra-red technology to capture speeding.

Mobile speed cameras

These are typically deployed by the police, who will use them on particularly accident-prone stretches of road.

As the name indicates, mobile speed cameras are operated from within police cars and can move around or be mounted roadside on a tripod. They’re also manually operated by police in the form of radar or laser guns. Be aware that mobile speed cameras can operate in unmarked cars.

Speed and traffic cameras

These are usually used in urban areas, where you’ll see them mounted above the road on purpose-built poles. They use sensors in order to gauge whether a motorist is speeding or not, but can be used to monitor traffic and road junction violations too. They can also be found along dual carriageways in busy areas.

Average speed cameras

Average speed cameras work by recording a vehicle’s speed at two different points, and are therefore designed to keep traffic flowing evenly, as they aim to prevent drivers from slowing down when they see a camera and then immediately speeding back up. This is done via infrared sensors. They’re typically used on motorways and in towns and villages, as well as at sites of roadworks.

Variable speed cameras

If you’re a regular driver on smart motorways, you’ll be familiar with variable speed cameras, where they’re used to ease congestion or in case of hazards like accidents or weather events. Unlike the alternative types of speed camera, they’re less likely to be in use 24/7.

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