September 2, 2011

NEWS FOR YOU… from the Iowa D.O.T.

By Debra Carney
Driver License Supervisor
Office of Driver Services
Iowa Department of Transportation
Davenport, IA

While driving at or just below the speed limit may ensure you don’t receive any tickets, it may not always be the safest. How fast should you drive if it’s raining hard? Foggy? Snowing?

There are three factors which determine the speed at which you can safely drive your vehicle: the posted speed, road conditions, and weather conditions. When you consider all three factors, you are driving at the appropriate speed, not just the “posted” speed limit. Traveling at the “posted” speed limit is the FASTEST speed you can legally drive under ideal driving conditions.

The following general limits have been set:
• 20 mph in any business district.
• 25 mph in a residential district or school district.
• 45 mph in any suburban district, or for any vehicle pulling
another vehicle unless it was designed for that purpose.
• 50 mph on unsurfaced secondary roads from sunset until sunrise, and for all trucks on secondary roads at any time of the day.
• 55 mph on all primary roads, urban interstate highways and secondary roads, including unpaved roads from sunrise to sunset.
• 70 mph on rural interstate highways.

A lower limit may be set for any of the conditions listed above.

Speed Limit Signs

These signs indicate the maximum or minimum safe speed that is allowed. The maximum limits are for ideal conditions , and you must reduce your speed when conditions require it, such as when the roadway is slippery (during rain) or it is difficult to see clearly down the road (during fog). Some high speed roads have minimum speed limits. If this minimum speed is too fast for you, then you should use another route.

Driving too fast is a major cause of traffic accidents, as well as paving the way for a speeding ticket. Driving too slow is also an important cause of traffic accidents and could lead to a ticket if there is a minimum posted limit. If you tend to drive slower and notice you are frequently passed by other vehicles, or you notice a large number of vehicles behind you, pull over when it is safe to do so and let them pass. If possible keep with the general flow of traffic on any road, not exceeding the appropriate, posted speed. And remember, if the speed seems too fast for you, you should chose another route.