Speed limits can be inconvenient if you enjoy driving quickly, but they are necessary for everyone’s safety. However, we made this quick explanation to help you understand how speed limits work and how you may be a safer driver because sometimes they can be a little ambiguous and deceptive.


How do speed restrictions become set?


It makes sense that speed restrictions are posted everywhere given the connection between driving too fast and auto accidents. The somewhat useless response to the questions of why and what the speed restriction is in a residential area, school zone, or work area is that it depends.


There are various kind of speed restrictions, which might range between and even within states, so bear that in mind when thinking about how they are set.




These are for particular kinds of roadways, like interstate highways, rural highways, and city streets, and they are set by state legislatures. State-by-state variations exist, but generally speaking, speeds can range from 15 to 25 mph in residential areas, 50 to 55 mph on rural roadways, and 70 to 80 mph on interstate highways.




Speed limitations in work zones are implemented to safeguard employees and facilitate the smooth flow of traffic through the area. Since school zones are designated areas surrounding schools and are enforced during specified hours of the day when children are commuting to and from school, they are more noticeable.


Variable speed restrictions may be implemented in the event of inclement weather, in very crowded areas, following an accident, or beside potentially hazardous sections of roads, including steep curves.


THE 85TH PERCENTILE: WHAT IS IT? How Speed Limits Are Assigned by State Laws


To add even more background, are you familiar with the 85th percentile rule? It’s a traffic engineering guideline that roadways are used to determine speed limits. The guideline basically states that, in free-flowing traffic, the speed limit should be set at the speed that 85% of drivers naturally travel at or below.


The 85th percentile rule is based on the assumption that most drivers, given the circumstances, their car, and their experience, will drive at a safe and appropriate speed. It is thought that by putting the speed limit at this level, more people will abide by it and that overall road safety will be increased for all drivers.


The 85th percentile rule is not applied in all states, and additional variables like as pedestrian safety, road conditions, and accident history may be taken into account when determining speed limits. However, the 85th percentile rule is a widely accepted guideline that is regarded as a recommended practice for establishing speed limits.


restricted access highways


Limited access roads are expressways or highways with restricted access points via interchanges that are intended for high-speed transit between two locations. They are ideal for uninterrupted long-distance travel because they are not designed for local traffic.


In order to maintain safety when driving on restricted access roads, it is crucial to abide by the laws and regulations. Depending on the state, the speed restrictions are frequently between 65 and 80 mph, which is greater than on other kinds of roads. Always drive at a comfortable speed and abide by the posted speed limit.




The answer to the question of whether you can exceed the speed limit by five miles per hour is that you can, but you risk receiving a ticket. In addition to being inconvenient and expensive, receiving a speeding ticket is one of the ways that auto insurance companies identify “high risk drivers”—people with a history of speeding.


Going five miles over the speed limit has serious consequences that are more significant than the citation. A study discovered that a 5 mph increase on freeways and highways was linked to a 2.8% rise on other routes and an 8.5% increase in fatality rates. Stated differently, it is possible that exceeding the speed limit by only 5 mph on a highway, where the limit is typically greater, could be significantly more dangerous than doing so on a residential street.


A time when reckless driving gives way to speeding?


According to some experts and advocates, the issue with American speed limits is that drivers tend to follow the design of the roads, which are long, straight, flat, and wide to accommodate high speeds. Additionally, posted speed limits are sometimes set so lowly that they have little effect on drivers’ behavior.


The Federal Highway Administration discovered that numerous state agencies really set speed limits that are significantly lower than what traffic engineers recommend. In essence, speed increases the risk of auto accidents, but setting absurdly low-speed limits is insufficient to deter drivers from speeding.


The exact amount of speed beyond the limit that constitutes reckless driving is unknown, but as you have seen above, speeding on roads and freeways frequently leads to more fatalities due to the severity of the crash. A City Limits study found that the probability of death rises exponentially with vehicle speed.


Ten percent of those hit by a car traveling at 23 mph will die. 25% of those struck by a car traveling at 32 mph will die. Half of those hit by a car traveling at 50 mph will not survive. In essence, the quicker you go, the more reckless speeding gets.


Car crashes can be less deadly and less likely to occur when people slow down. To be ready in case of an accident, take into consideration these vehicle accident preparedness suggestions, as you have no control over the weather or other people’s driving.


How long is a speeding ticket recorded on your driver’s license?


You might be curious about how long a speeding ticket will remain on your driving record if you’ve received one. The majority of states require that speeding fines stay on your driving record for a minimum of three years. The precise period of time, however, may differ based on the state in where you are found and the gravity of the offense.


Tickets for speeding can sometimes remain on your record for ten years. A history of speeding tickets may have an effect on your auto insurance premiums and even result in the suspension or cancellation of your driver’s license. Thus, it’s critical to abide by the speed limit in order to prevent receiving a ticket in the first place.


If you do obtain a speeding ticket, you could be eligible to lower the fee or have the penalty erased by enrolling in a defensive driving school. To find out if this is an option in your state, contact the DMV in your area. It is imperative to drive cautiously and adhere to speed limits, not only to comply with legal requirements but also to ensure the safety of other drivers and yourself.




Even if you believe the given speed limit is excessively low, it is illegal to drive over it. However, you might not be aware of the situations in which driving below the speed limit is also illegal.


You can also find yourself in a difficult situation if you drive too slowly when driving. Driving below the speed limit is prohibited if it impedes the regular flow of traffic. On a highway, for example, if you’re traveling 20 miles below the speed limit, other cars may find it impossible to pass you or speed, which could result in an accident.


Which states’ speed limits are the highest?


We’ll offer you a tip as to which state has the highest speed restriction. There, everything is larger, even the posted speed limits. Yes, Texas is the only state with posted speed limits that can reach up to 85 mph in certain places.


Other states that allow speeds up to 80 mph on some (but not all) interstates are Nevada, Montana, Idaho, Oklahoma, Wyoming, Utah, South Dakota, and Wyoming.


Whether you’re driving on a highway, in a rural area, or in a city, pay attention to the official speed limit, but also remember that your safety depends on your ability to stay attentive and maintain your eyes on the road at all times.

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