Speed limits

A vehicle's speed can affect the risk of a crash and the severity of injuries.

The faster you drive, the longer it takes your vehicle to stop.

Speed limit signs tell you the maximum speed you're allowed to drive in good conditions.

If you drive over the speed limit, you:

To avoid offences or penalties and reduce your risk of crashing, you must:

  • obey the road rules
  • follow the speed restrictions for your licence, permit and area or drive at a speed to suit:
    • traffic conditions
    • type and conditions of the road
    • weather conditions
    • capabilities of your vehicle
    • your own driving ability
  • follow the default speed limits - where there is no posted speed limit sign
  • allow enough time to travel to your destination so you don't need to speed.

Speed restrictions for your licence

For your driver licence type or permit, there are certain speed limits you must follow.

Learner licence holders are restricted to a maximum speed of 80km/h - unless accompanied by a licensed driving instructor.

Provisional licence holders are restricted to a maximum speed of 100km/h.

Drivers of heavy vehicles must not exceed a maximum speed of 100km/h.

Heavy vehicles include:

  • buses of more than five tonnes gross vehicle mass (GVM)
  • other heavy vehicles of more than 12 tonnes GVM.

Vehicles travelling under permit conditions may also have a maximum speed imposed.

Read more about driver licence classes and conditions.

Default speed limits

In and outside built-up areas, there are different default speed limits you must follow.

A built-up area is an area where there:

  • are buildings, not over 100 metres apart, next to the road
  • are street lighting at intervals under 100 metres for a distance of at least 500 metres, or for the whole road if the road is shorter than 500 metres.

In built-up areas, a default speed limit of 60km/h applies - unless the town has gazetted a lower default speed limit.

Many towns and communities across the NT have chosen to have a default speed limit of 50km/h or less.

Where a default speed limit applies to a built-up area, a speed limit sign is placed on each road approaching that locality.

Outside built-up areas, the default speed limit is 110km/h - unless a speed limit sign states otherwise.

Other speed limits apply in some areas.

For example, some sections of the following highways has a maximum speed of 130km/h as indicated:

  • Barkly Highway
  • Stuart Highway
  • Victoria Highway
  • Arnhem Highway.

Speed limits near schools and road works

Around schools and road works, there are certain speed limits you must follow.

You must drive at 40km/h or less in a school zone.

This speed limit only applies on school days and during the times shown on the sign.

At work zones, temporary road work signs are used to warn drivers and riders to:

  • slow down
  • look out for any hazards.

You must:

  • be prepared to stop
  • obey any signal from a traffic controller and give way to any worker
  • follow the speed limit signs.


If you have any questions, email road.safety@nt.gov.au.

You can also refer to the Road Users' Handbook.

Last updated: 10 December 2020

Give feedback about this page.

Share this page:

URL copied!