Speed Limit Zone

It might vary by state but does the speed limit change at the sign or when I see the sign? If I am in a 35 zone but I see the 45 sign ahead can I go 45 since that is what is displayed to me? If a cop pulls me for doing 45 I would say the sign I see says 45.

In Ohio, at least, it’s effective at the plane of the sign. Though of course, except in the strictest jurisdictions you’re unlikely to be ticketed for accelerating as you approach it.

I suspect that this is the case for most states, because what’s the standard for “when you can see the sign”? When a state route passes through a town and temporarily becomes “Main Street” (with a lower speed limit), if the road is straight and uncluttered, you might already be able to see the sign at the far end of town as you’re entering.

But can you actually read the speed on the sign?
I got a ticket many years ago where the officer told me the speed goes into effect (in this case a reduction in speed)when the sign is visible, not where you pass the sign. Which makes no sense except as a revenue source.

Yeah, that’s horseshit. They put up ‘Speed Reduced Ahead’ all over the place. So speed is not reduced right here. It’s reduced ahead.

The limit goes into effect at the point of the sign, not at its visual. I will have to look it up but there is a statute mandating this in my state.

You certainly wouldn’t stop the moment you saw a stop sign 500 feet ahead, would you?

Is it possible that you were so close to the sign that you wouldn’t have been able to slow down to the stated limit in the available distance? That’s the only reasonable interpretation I can think of. Otherwise, yeah it’s equine poo.

Not a chance, it was 35 dropping to 25, I was maybe 60-75 yards away.

Did you “tell it to the judge”? If so, with what result?

Sounds like you simply got outrightly speed-trapped.

That’s quite common in California, and I assume many other states. But I don’t assume it’s universal. I believe California has explicit laws against speed traps.

This was long before the internet so there was no easy way to look anything up. My work hours didn’t make it easy to spend hours in the library trying to find out. At the time, it was easier (and cheaper than the fine) to go to traffic school.

I think that means it was also long before there were laws (at least in some places) against speed traps. AIUI, speed traps were once a much more common scam than they are now, until enough outrage was developed to pressure (some) states to put a stop to it.

I always thought (or was it just an urban legend?) that the AAA auto club published (and maybe still publishes?) a directory of known speed trap towns.

I’m in a different country, but you may be interested: my state is deliberately ambiguous.

As near as I can figure, the law here is that speed limits apply to the road following the sign. But, many years ago that was challenged in a different state, and rejected in court. Which has no direct legal effect in my state, does not establish a precedent, in spite of the fact that we have matching road regulations. And somehow, in spite of the fact that our law hasn’t changed, and there is no legal precedent — the practice of how and where speed limit signs are placed has changed in my state, as if there had been a rule change.

Our road signs are now thoughtfully placed where people can see them, and so that people can see them in a place where it is reasonable to slow down because of road conditions ahead and where people can’t see them until it is reasonable to speed up

So coming up out of the turnpike tunnel (50mph), I don’t see the 60mph sign until after the road turns. Maybe it’s legal to go 60mph when I see the sign: maybe it’s only legal to go 60mph after I pass the sign: they’re having a bet each way: they’ve placed the sign so that I can’t see it until I’ve passed the place where they think it’s safe to go 60mph.

That may have more to do with:

  1. Ensuring you have time to slow down and achieve the required limit prior to it going into effect. To do otherwise—to place a sign for a lower limit around a bend where you can’t see it until you’re almost there—would force drivers to either break suddenly (and possibly excessively) or risk violating the limit, and so be subject to possible fine. Ideally, you would be able to approach a reduced limit with sufficient advanced notice to just take your foot off the gas and coast down. To position the sign elsewhere is a classic speed trap tactic.

  2. For increasing speed signs, I suspect it’s more to do with safety. Don’t tell someone “okay, go ahead and speed up now” if they really shouldn’t be because the turn they’re approaching would warrant a reduced speed. Also, don’t increase the risk of a rear end collision by telling drivers “okay, speed up,” as more cautious drivers ahead of them might naturally be taking the turn at reduced speed.

In short, I don’t think either of those changes are incompatible with “the limit goes into affect at the sign, not before.” If anything, it reenforces it by ensuring that speed limits are practical to achieve at the sign (rather than putting a sign in a spot where it would be difficult or even dangerous to comply with it).

In my state, the policy on the placement of speed limit signs has changed.

The signs are now deliberately placed so that you can’t see them early.

This, placing speed signs on the far side of a corner, has not had the
effect of giving more advance notice: it has the opposite effect. It gives
less advance notice.

I’m sure that changes in road layout have improved safety. Personally, I’m
sure that this particular change has been influenced by what the courts have
found to be an enforceable road regulation, in contrast to the black letter
of our road regulation.

There’s a speed-trap town in the Cleveland area (literally 1/5 of the adult residents of that municipality are employed in the traffic-enforcement business), and the state has tried a number of tactics to curtail them, but so far, they’re still figuring out ways around them.

I once saw a photo of a signpost with three traffic signs on it: “End 35 zone”, “Speed limit 55”, and “Minimum speed 40”. No matter where that’s taken to be in effect, it’s presumably the same location for all three signs, which poses some problems for continuity.

Huh? That seems perfectly clear to me. The part of the road before the sign has a speed limit of 35 mph. The part of the road after the sign has a minimum speed of 40 mph and a maximum speed of 55. Where is the continuity problem.

Now, when I was 16 there was a confusing sign on the way out of town to my job in the rock quarry. The sign said end 45 mph speed limit. For my entire drive out to work there were no signs telling you what the speed limit was. I found out, after I was arrested for driving 70 mph, that in California unmarked roads are all 55 mph.

You can’t legally conform to the speed limit because it would require infinite acceleration to jump instantaneously from 35 mph to 40 mph. And presumably in places like this they wouldn’t give you the 2-4mph minimum leeway most places give because they’re interested in generating revenue.

I haven’t see a lot of Speed Zone signs recently but I can’t recall one that didn’t say Speed Zone Ahead. I remember from my drivers ed a few centuries ago in PA that it means the speed could go up or down although no one could think of a sign where it was followed by an increase in the speed limit.

But it isn’t instintaious. You’ve got roughly the length of your car so if your car is 20’ long you need to accelerate at 5mph/2.75 seconds which is fairly sedate. Even if your car is 10’ long the time and you have to do twice that its equivalent to a 16.5 second 0-60 time. Which it only top end for something like a smart car.

Maybe Linndale?

Yup, Linndale. I only didn’t mention the name because most Dopers wouldn’t be familiar with it.