Speed limit - where does it change?

Say what? I do 60+ on unpaved roads all the time. So does much of the population of Saskatchewan. True, the limit on gravel is 80kph, but most people do around 100. So long as they’re well maintained, there’s no problem.

This is the California basic speed law for highways. Sign or no sign, the speed limit is whatever is reasonable for the conditions, subject to a maximum speed limit of 65 MPH (CVC 22349), sometimes 70 MPH (CVC 22356).

If you look at the statutes that talk about localitites setting different limits and posting signs, you will see that the signs create “prima facie” limits, not actual limits.

Thus, you may be cited for driving faster than the limit posted on any sign, regardless of color (of the sign that is), if the court thinks the limit posted on the sign is “reasonable”.

Alternatively, if the sign reads “35” and you are going 45 in broad daylight on a straight road with high visibility in dry conditions with no traffic, you have a good argument that your speed is legal because it is reasonable, despite the sign. This is especially true if you have a traffic / road survey on your side that shows the reasonable speed is 45 and the limit posted on the sign is artificially low.

It works in theory anyway.

There is a road near me that it is almost impossible to obey the law without causing a huge accident and straining your car.

There is a lane with several sharp bends wending it’s through the countryside with high hedges on either side. These hedges prevent you seeing anything beyond the next bend and has led to several accidents.

The speed limit is the national limit of 60 mph for a single lane in each direction (it’s 70 if there are 2 or more lanes in each direction). At one particularly sharp bend the limit drops to 40 mph, with good reason, and is equipped with a GATSO speed camera. Now as you are driving along at 60 mph you come around a small bend and see a sign just ahead saying 40. You have plenty of time to slow to 40 before reaching either the camera or the bend but you will have passed the sign.

So if you want to obey the law you have to slam on your brakes. Fine if the road is deserted and not wet or dusty. However you more than often have someone very close behind you and if you slam on your brakes you run the risk of causing an accident.

Even when you know the sign is ahead and slow down in advance a car behind you will often close up even further to try and force you to go faster. Needless to say most people speed and several have been prosecuted by the police.

When we have complained about the arrangement we were told that the camera was there as a deterent but that it couldn’t be positioned anywhere else. The sign has to be positioned a certain distance from the camera and unfortunately leads to visibility problems. The fact that the police than prosecute people because of this is just an unfortunate consequence.

KK, usually in situations like this, there will be a sign posted that reads “reduced speeds ahead”, or something similar. To warn you to start thinking about slowing down.

Next time you talk to the powers that be, ask to have a similar sign posted.

Snoorysaid, “According to a cop teacher of mine, the limit changes at the sign, and that’s what you’re supposed to drive as soon as you hit the sign. How you get from 65mph to 35mph instantaneously is your problem.”

Well, you`re not supposed to drive at the posted speed, that is merely the max that you can do in that zone. Prudent acceleration after the posted sign and decceleration after the posted sign is all that is required.

Kaptain Karnage, if you have troubles reducing your speed before you reach the sign then you have been WAY too fast in the first place! Your speed should be so that you are able to STOP before you overrun whatever obstacle may come into sight behind a curve, knoll or the like, not just slow down. Imagine an overthrown biker lying on the road. Do you think you could avoid him when you can hardly reduce your speed to 40?

With a name like Kaptain Karnage what do y’all expect? :wink:

Obviously the state has mistakenly assumed some common sense must be present in licensed drivers. You should naturally begin slowing when you see the sign posting a slower speed. IIRC no more than a 15 mph drop in limit should be posted at intervals of 1000’ (hiways/not city) In other words, the state can’t go from 70 to 40 in one sign or in less than 2000’ w/ some exceptions of course.

YMMV :slight_smile:

I’ve always found this particular situation kinda funny… I mean, think about it:

You can’t obey the posted speed limit until AFTER you pass the speed limit sign.

You can’t see the sign, once you pass it.

If you don’t know the speed limit, you MUST drive the ‘default’ speed limit.

If you enter a road with a very fast speed, from a side-road, without seeing a sign, you MUST, therefore, drive the default speed, regardless of what speed the other drivers are going.


Why can’t the state do that? Just how many signs at which distances do you think the state has to place before the state can set up a stop sign, then?

Actually there should be a sign posted at every state maintained intersection and on/off ramps within 1000’. If not, you have a case. Notice I said state maintained, locals are expected to know the speed limit. So you can’t go to court whining that you just got on and didn’t know …blah blah…the officer writing the ticket has some power here. If he saw fit to write it, the judge will more than likely support him.

Local=you’ve been down this road before.