>> According to Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speed_limit#United_Kingdom ), the speed limit for motorways was set at 70mph in 1965. Over 40 years of motor car evolution has meant cars are safer, have better brakes with ABS, better tyre construction, more stringent MOT's etc yet the speed hasn't been increased.
In 40 years the motorways have also become a heck of a lot more crowded (though faster speeds would theoretically reduce that).
>> It is now impossible to drive on a motorway outside peak hours in the fast lane
without technically braking the speed limit.
As others have pointed out - "Fast Lane"?? WTF. Surely the outer most overtaking lane you mean? If you are travelling at 70 off peak, there is little chance that you will have to spend much time in the third lane.
>> It is guaranteed that someone will flash their lights behind you to get past.
Yes and those people are very nearly as annoying and just about more hazardous than those who hog the 'fast' lane.
>> I do a lot of motorway driving and I can tell you that I feel a lot safer when cars are driving at sensible fast speeds for the conditions with 2+ car distance between each other rather than all bunched up being limited to 70Mph.
What is a sensible fast speed when you are a 2 car length's distance from the car in front? Again WTF!!
6 metres certainly isn't a safe distance when you are travelling at 30 metres a second (70 MPH). Try adding a 10 to that number, i.e. 2 seconds distance, say 20 car lengths - as a minimum.
I agree that the speed limit should be raised for Motorways - Rob Farnell demonstrates there are many things more dangers taking place on the road which are rarely penalised i.e. tail gating, lane hogging and stupidity.
WRT to urban speed limits, I think they are fine as they stand (with the odd exception, where they have been wrongly applied). If you are attempting to merge onto a 30 MPH road, it is significantly more difficult and dangerous when cars are travelling at 40 MPH.
>> There are times when most of the UKs motorway network can safely be driven at 140MPH in the right car. (Dazed and Confused)
On a clear, straight road, in clear conditions perhaps - all of which are pretty rare in the UK. Travelling at 60 metres/second doesn't allow ther drivers travelling at half that speed much opportunity to see coming - and it would be entirely your fault if they moved into your path - likewise you would have very little oppourtunity to see a stationary queue of traffic.