Driving In West Yorkshire: Tips for Tackling City Centres & Avoiding Speeding Fines

Driving in bustling city centres like Leeds or Bradford can be a test of patience at the best of times, especially with West Yorkshire topping the charts for speeding tickets in the UK. And as road closures, bus lanes and pedestrian zones expand, the frustration for many drivers is reaching new heights.

In this article, we look into the reasons behind West Yorkshire's speeding surge, share tips to avoid future speeding tickets, and guide you on how to safely tackle driving in a city centre like Leeds (or any city centre).

West Yorkshire: 'The Speeding Region'

West Yorkshire has its fair share of speed demons. Recent statistics released from the Ministry of Justice reveal a staggering 27% surge in speeding tickets in 2022, marking the highest convictions recorded since comparable records began back in 2014.

Caught exceeding the limit? Brace yourself for a £100 fine, penalty points, or enrollment in a retraining course. Cases involving severe incidents or individuals contesting speed limit violations may escalate to court, with motorway speeding fines reaching a maximum of £2,500.

So, what’s causing the record rise in speeding offences?

Whilst many drivers accidentally creep above the limits rather than deliberately speeding, the rise in speeding offences is attributed, in part, to the widespread implementation of 20mph limits across councils.

How to avoid getting a speeding ticket

The obvious answer is not to speed at all, but as many motorists claim ignorance, how can you avoid unknowingly slipping into speeding territory?

Don’t rely on GPS trackers

GPS tools like Google Maps may not always offer accurate speed readings. Many people rely on these tools for speed warnings, but this could leave them with an unwanted fine due to discrepancies in the data.

In fact, the faster you’re driving, the more inaccurate the speed reading tends to be.

Account for car speedometer inaccuracies

Your car's speedometer may not be spot-on either. Contrary to common belief, a car's speedometer doesn't precisely measure the speed from Point A to Point B. It operates by tracking the rotation of the car's driveshaft, axle, or wheel. Through some calculations, it then computes that rotation, determining the vehicle's speed.

However, the accuracy of this calculation is based on the consistent diameter of the wheel and tyre. Changes, such as fitting new tyres (with more tread that wears down over thousands of miles) or adjusting tyre pressure, can disrupt this calculation.

In simple terms, if the wheel's revolution covers a greater distance, your speed reading will be higher.

Whilst UK regulations dictate that car speedometers are not permitted to read under the actual speed, malfunctions can still occur, so you should regularly test to see if it’s firing accurately.

Remember to check in during hands-free calls

Hands-free calls are now a common distraction for many drivers - it’s easy to lose yourself in a heated discussion or in planning a visit with a friend.

Get into the habit of checking in with your speed during any hands-free calls, to avoid going on auto-pilot and experiencing speed creep.​

Tips for driving in Leeds city centre (or any city centre!)

It’s fair to say that driving in Leeds city centre could be up there with the worst in Yorkshire (and the UK). With its circular routes and restricted zones (and the fact you often have to drive out and then back in again, just to leave!) all leading to considerable driving headaches for motorists.

This comes as more and more roads have been closed off in the city centre, whether for building works, maintenance works, new bus lanes or the new pedestrianised zones.

Here are five useful tips to consider before you take on the city centre labyrinth that is Leeds (or any tricky city centre), so that you can drive with confidence.

Plan your journey in advance

To make things easier, and to avoid getting lost in the endless city centre loop, plan your journey ahead of setting off. You can use handy online maps or journey planners to view your route in advance, so you have a better idea of the roads you need to follow.

Take a closer look at those more difficult parts of the route to be fully prepared and stay ahead of the game.

Be mindful of new bus-only restrictions

Leeds recently introduced further bus-only routes within the city, making access to certain areas off limits. This includes Leeds City Square, which can now only be accessed by emergency vehicles, cycle users and approved taxis.

Check if your vehicle’s emissions meet the CAZ standards

Neighbouring city centre Bradford also has recently, as of September 2022, introduced the Clean Air Zone (CAZ), which was brought in following rising air pollution within the city. This essentially means that many drivers of buses or vans (or any vehicles not meeting the required emissions standards) must pay a charge for driving in the area. It covers the majority of the city, from the outer ring road to the Air Valley corridor, including towns such as Shipley and Saltaire.

Take advantage of GPS

Use GPS tools like Google Maps during your journey to help you navigate the city centre roads. Remember though, they rarely give you enough time to change lanes before you need to, so make sure you’re always one step ahead and know what’s coming up.

Pro tip: If you turn your phone horizontal when using Google Maps it clearly shows you which lane you need to be in (rather than just showing ‘turn right’, for example).

Learn how to master your SatNav on your Suzuki here and ensure you never miss a turn again.

Drive at quieter times

Nothing makes driving a new route more stressful than rush hour traffic - so opt to travel at quieter times if you can.

Upgrade your car

Ok, we might be biased here, but if you’re going to take on driving in the city centre, you may as well do it in style!

Why not take a look at some of our latest offers on new cars, nearly new and used cars available across our Colin Appleyard dealerships, so you can enjoy your city centre drive (no matter how long it takes!).

Whether you're eyeing up the sleek sophistication of a new model or the reliable charm of a pre-loved gem, we have an extensive range that caters to every driver. Why settle for the ordinary, when you can cruise through the city centre in a vehicle that reflects your personality and enhances your driving pleasure?