When it comes to driving anywhere, particularly in the US it is important to not drive faster than it is safe to do so for the prevailing road conditions. The faster that you drive then the less time you have to react to dangers and the longer it takes to stop your vehicle. It is also true that the faster you go the more damage and the higher the risk of injury if you are involved in a collision or an accident.
National Speed Limit
Speed limits were first introduced in the US in 1901. This occurred in Connecticut where a speed limit for motorised vehicles was introduced and they were prohibited from going more than 12mph. In 1974 President Richard Nixon introduced a National speed limit of 55mph. It aimed to reduce costs and improve road safety. As cars became safer and car design was improved this speed limit was increased to 65mph in 1988. In 1995 Congress handed control of speed limits back to the individual states. This means that as of today the speed limit varies by state.
State Speed Limits.
The Speed limits on rural freeways now vary by state with the slowest limit being 55mph in Washington DC. The highest is in Texas were certain stretches of freeway allow speeds of up to 85mph. Most states average in the 65-75mph range, however. Most states also mandate a MINIMUM speed for freeways and this tends to be around 40mph. The only other variations you might see are that certain states mandate a different speed limit at night and these will be well indicated where present. The best thing to do is to check with the state that you are in before you travel.
Avoid Excessive Speed
Whilst most drivers in urban areas will tend to drive carefully and not drive at excessive speed, when it comes to freeways then some drivers tend to become ‘hurried’. The average driver on the freeway travels at around 5mph above the posted speed limit. Therefore it can be tempting for you as a driver to follow suit. However you are only responsible for your own driving, therefore you should ensure that you stick to speed limits rather than just following the pack. Exceeding the speed limit not only endangers yourself and other drivers but it can also lead to you getting a citation for speeding. If you come across a rural town with a slower speed limit along an otherwise fast highway then be extra careful as many officers will lie in wait in a ‘speed trap’ to try and catch drivers out as this provides a lucrative source of revenue for these towns.
It is also true that you should avoid being the slowest vehicle on the road as well as this can potentially cause problems with other cars trying to get passed you. It is important that you drive sensibly and an appropriate speed at all times whilst in a vehicle. Don’t be tempted to go faster to get their quicker.