Every state has roads, and every state has speed limits, which makes it easy to assume that the laws applying to them are pretty much the same wherever you go. However, this is not the case. In California, speed limit laws are done a bit differently. How so? Allow us to explain!
1. California’s Speed Limits Are Set Based on the Way People Drive
California’s speed limits are based on the premise that “a reasonable speed limit is one that conforms to the actual behavior of the majority of drivers.”
The state accomplishes this by basing their speed limits on what they call the “85th percentile speed.” In essence, if you took 100 vehicles traveling down the same road, the speed of the 85th fastest vehicle would be used as the speed limit. This means that the speed limit of a given stretch of road can change at any moment based on the assessment of the department of transportation.
2. The State Is Required to Regularly Reassess Its Engineering and Traffic Speed Studies
These are the studies that the posted speed limits are based on. If the state does not reassess a road every 5-10 years, the posted speed limit is no longer considered enforceable. This means that even if you are caught speeding, any punishment for the offense cannot be enforced unless the speed is so far over the speed limit that it would be unreasonable to assume it was safe.
3. The State’s Basic Speed Law Means that You Are Not Always Safe Even if Following the Posted Speed Limit
Let’s say you are driving on a road where the engineering and traffic speed studies are up to date; you should unfailingly stick to the posted speed limit, right?
Not always. The state’s fundamental speed law states that you may never drive faster than is safe for the conditions at any given time. What could this look like?
Let’s say you are driving in the San Francisco Bay area on a road where the posted speed limit is 55 miles per hour, and there is very dense fog. You reduce your speed to 45 miles per hour. This means you are okay, right? After all, you are traveling 10 miles under the speed limit. Except if the fog is exceptionally dense, 45 miles per hour may still be too fast, and you can still be cited for your rate of speed.
4. If There Are Children Nearby, Your Speed Must Drop
Most people are used to reducing their speed in school zones during specific hours on school days, but California does not limit this to areas around schools. If children are nearby at a park, playground, or in residential areas, you are required to drop your speed to at least 25 miles per hour, possibly less if there is a lower speed limit posted. So if you see children nearby, reduce your speed.
5. Alleys Have Their Own Speed Limits
If you are driving in an alley, you cannot travel at more than 15 miles per hour. Now, depending on where you live, your definition of what is an alley may vary. To be safe, speak with locals to get an idea of what is and isn’t an alley.
Of Course, Speeding Tickets Aren’t the Only Problems on the Road
Should you run into trouble while driving in Southern California, call NK Towing. We are available to help you at any hour of the day or night. For fast and friendly service, choose us.