Exit ramp speed limits

I’m a little confused about the speed limit signs for exit ramps from freeways. Here is an excellent example of what I’m talking about. How exactly is that sign applicable? If you slowed down to that speed of 30 MPH before entering the ramp, you’d be causing a dangerous situation and in violation of the minimum speed limit of 40 MPH on the freeway. If the sign applies to any part of the ramp after the sign (like typical speed limit signs), you still have the issue that you’d have to slow down on the freeway before hitting the ramp or else there’s no possible way you could slow down enough in time. There is probably enough ramp there before the sign to slow down from 40 MPH to 30 MPH, but suddenly slowing down to just over 40 MPH does not seem like a good idea on a freeway where the speed limit can be up to 85 MPH (highest speed limit in my state) even if you’re not in violation of the minimum speed limit. If it means to slow down to that speed before the end of the ramp, well… there’s a stop sign at the end of the ramp, so you have to completely stop anyway. Is it merely a suggestion that you slow down to that speed within a reasonable distance and isn’t actually enforceable?

The yellow ones? Those aren’t speed limits*, they’re suggested safe speeds for the ramp/curve/whatever under ideal conditions.

*That doesn’t mean you can’t still be ticketed for ignoring them recklessly.
edit:wiki has a page on this http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advisory_speed_limit

I thought that might be the case. So it’s like my last suggestion in that they’re just suggesting you slow down below that speed within a reasonable distance and they don’t expect you to be doing 30 MPH by the time you pass the sign.

Unless the exit ramp is short, and this one does not look short, You should maintain freeway speed until you enter the exit. The sign is yellow in most states that sign is advising not mandating.
Two causes of backup on the freeways are people slowing down before exiting, and waiting until they are on the freeway before accelerating to freeway speed. I see it all the time someone taking the next exit doing between 40 and 50 way before their exit. Or entering the freeway at 30 instead of accelerating on the on ramp.

For what it’s worth I’ve never seen a cop monitoring a exit ramp nor have I ever heard about someone being pulled over for driving to fast on an exit ramp.

I’ve heard of cops monitoring exit ramps, but not to catch speeders. Some of ours are two lanes, which go off to the left and right. If one of these lanes is crowded, some clowns always try to go to the other and then cut off the legal drivers. Cops sometimes park near the top and grab them.

Good for them. While I’m typically not pro-ticket as it seems to me most moving violations are more revenue raising than public safety I have to say that these asshats that run an empty lane and then try to cut to the front of the line are scum. I wish more cops did this.

I just let off the gas when I turn onto an exit ramp and let friction slow the car down. I only use the brakes if I have to because a steep curve is coming up, or in some cases, the exit ramp merges into a city street and I need to slow down to merge into traffic.

I wouldn’t sweat it. Drive in a manner that is safe and not too hard on your car. If you get a ticket, use defensive driving or an attorney to mitigate the damage. Your main concern when you are driving a car should be the fact that driving is one of the most dangerous things you do every day - not some minor tax/fine of a few hundred bucks.

It is only very recently that I’ve heard of this concept, that a posted speed limit sign might be merely advisory, and not required. And frankly, I didn’t really believe it either, because it is (to me) so very counter-intuitive. I honestly thought that this view is espoused by jerks who choose for themselves which signs make sense vs which signs show an unreasonably slow limit. Specifically, how can one know whether any particular sign is a command or a suggestion?

The link above seems to be saying that (in the US) if the words “Speed Limit” appear on the sign, then it is a legal requirement, but if those words don’t appear then it is only advisory. Am I close?

Well there is a reason to keep a 3 second gap between vehicles… the vehicle in front may slow down to take a corner, that you can’t yet really see very well.

So with a 3 second gap, the distance between vehicles on the freeway is LARGER…
So when the stream of vehicles all take the exit together, they can all drive closer to together in distance, but still keep a 2 second gap ( at the lower speed, 2 seconds is ok)
So anyway , the reason its not a hard speed limit is to discourage people jamming on the brakes exactly at the speed limit sign… because they fear a overly officious copper sitting there… (cops are never fulfilling a quota or SCORE system …nah … )

I’m no expert, but my recollection was that this varied by state. IIRC, a handful of western states (?) have laws such that driving faster than the speed limit isn’t inherently illegal. In other words, you might be able to successfully argue that is “reasonable and prudent” to drive 100 mph along a highway through the desert when the weather is clear and there are no cars or potential obstacles for miles in any direction.

Wiki sez that Texas, Utah, and Rhode Island have “prima facie speed limits”. However I’m certainly not planning to argue that 15 mph over the limit is “reasonable and prudent” if I am ever pulled over in Rhode Island.

Back to the OP: I was always under the impression that the yellow speed signs were really meant for trucks driving in less than ideal conditions. In that particular example, if you’re driving a fully loaded semi driving in the rain, with a line of stopped cars at the end of the ramp, you damn well better be driving 30 mph when you pass that sign. Also, the ramp quickly turns into a two-way access road with a handful of driveways to businesses.

Other ramps curve hard enough that a semi could roll over if they went over the recommended speed. There are so many curved ramps with a 25 mph posted speed where your grandma would be comfortable driving 35, and any car with better-than-average handling could take it at 45+.

Frankly, this seems like an unnecessary, unnecessarily confusing, and even potentially dangerous type of signage. I can imagine a driver trying to obey what they think is a posted limit and causing an accident by slowing down too rapidly.

Anyway, snailboy hardly seems like the type of person to be exceeding speed limits. :stuck_out_tongue:

The sign warns that the ramp contains a section that, in their estimation, it would not be safe to negotiate above 30mph. In this case, it would seem to be the tighter curve to connect to Frontage Road, which appears to be about 500 feet from where the ramp separates from the highway (roughly by the sign).
A car should be abole to stop from 60mph in 200 feet, so slowing to 30 in 500 feet should be easy.

But another part of the answer is that things like the Minimum Speed on highways only apply to the travel lanes: as soon as you are in the exit lane, you can start slowing down, which in this case gets you another 150 feet.

Also relevant is that yellow speed limit signs are more of a suggestion (although if you get in an accident and are exceeding that speed, it will be argued the cause was your unsafe behavior.)
And lastly, those yellow signs generally assume pretty bad road conditions, since people used to assume that if it said the curve was safe at 30 then it was, even in torrential rains. Since people wouldn’t adjust their speed for the weather, the traffic engineers started doing that for them.

Most people ignore the yellow “5 MPH” signs on exits like this one on the 110 Freeway exactly once, in my experience.

Hair-raising exits on a generally hair-raising freeway…

Until today, I never noticed that some of these signs are white and some are yellow. I wonder if this distinction was pointed out (or if it even existed) when I learned to drive in NJ in the early 1970s? In any case, I’ll be watching in the future, to see if the yellow ones consistently omit the words “speed limit”.

Thank you all! Ignorance fought!

It is my understanding that as a yellow sign it was a warning. The sign on the ramp lets you know the speed limit on the frontage rd/surface street you are exiting onto.

When they changed the speed limit on the frontage rd close to my house, they changed the yellow sign on the ramp to match.


Odd combo of OP username and post. :wink:

As others have said the signs are advisory to let you know how sharp the upcoming (and sometimes blind) curve is. When approaching, be prepared to slow to that speed.

When I see such a sign I now have an idea as to how much to slow down, or be prepared to slow down.

The signs do not have the word “LIMIT” on them, and they are yellow signs which is the standard color to communicate a Caution.

The Harbor Freeway is one of the oldest freeways and was designed when cars were expected to go about 30-40 MPH on freeways. Some of the on- and off- ramps, especially near downtown L.A., are short so they give very little space to speed up / slow down, and yes some of them have a very sharp turn like the one you link to.

Yowza. The expressways in downtown Chicago used to have “suicide ramps” that were only about a city block long, but that’s downright leisurely compared to that exit.