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Same road, different speed limits.Follow

#1 May 05 2012 at 4:42 PM Rating: Decent
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There is one road right near my house that has a strange posted speed limit. From the very north end of the road, where I live, if you drive south there is no posted speed limit. Being that it is a very rural area, straight road, and not populated, that places the speed limit at 55 mph. But a few miles south, the speed limit changes to 25 mph as it enters a dense, twisting, resort area on the lake. If you head north on the same road from the resort area about 100 feet before leaving the resort area, there is a posted 25 mph speed limit. This is the last posted speed limit sign.

Does this mean that this particular road has a 55 mph speed limit going south and a 25 mph speed limit going north?
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#2 May 05 2012 at 5:18 PM Rating: Good
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TirithRR wrote:
Does this mean that this particular road has a 55 mph speed limit going south and a 25 mph speed limit going north?


No. It means that the relative safe speed to drive the road is what is posted. All roads are checked by engineers to set a safe speed limit. A clear fairly
straight piece of road would be 55mph. A twisty wooded section is slowed down to 25mph to make it safe for all cars and trucks to negotiate safely.
I do know the secret Max over the posted limit you might just be able to drive in perhaps a Vette or a Porsche. I think that is best left safe with
me because too many of you would try to test it and get killed and then I cant wish you another survival year.

Edited, May 5th 2012 7:19pm by Tailmon
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#3 May 05 2012 at 5:33 PM Rating: Good
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Tailmon wrote:
No. It means that the relative safe speed to drive the road is what is posted. All roads are checked by engineers to set a safe speed limit. A clear fairly straight piece of road would be 55mph. A twisty wooded section is slowed down to 25mph to make it safe for all cars and trucks to negotiate safely.


I don't know if you misunderstood or not. But the exact same stretch of road has two different speed limits, one posted if going north, the other if going south. I'm not talking that the speed limit changing part way through due to road conditions.
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#4 May 05 2012 at 6:20 PM Rating: Excellent
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It varys by state, and states are allowed to set their own interpertations of the rules. For most states though, speed limits are in effect from the moment you pass the speed limit sign, and only apply to the direction of travel that sign applies to. Or at any rate where the sign is supposed to be. Also speed limit signs generally apply for the entire duration of the length of road until the next intersection. The theory being that if someone turns onto the road after the sign is posted, they wouldn't know the speed limit.

So, for example, in Washington, rural area speed limits are by law 50MPH unless posted otherwise, rural areas being defined as any rural road outside incorporated city limits. So if I exit the 70 MPH freeway onto a rural road and i do not see a speed limit sign, the limit is 50MPH. If I see a 35MPH sign ahead of me, I am legal to continue traveling 50MPH right up until my front bumper crosses the sign post plane. Physics of course make that somewhat difficult. Now the tricky part is that if the appropriate authorities placed a sign, and 3 minutes before I got there some drunk driver ran the sign over and it is no longer in place or visible, I am still required to obay the 35 MPH speed limit in theory. In actuallity, if no sign was visible you would have to probably go to court to contest the ticket, but most police officers wouldn't give youone, and most judges would rule in your favor due to the missing sign. Our 35 MPH speed limit is in force until we get to an intersection 3 miles ahead, where someone could turn onto the same stretch of road we travelling on. At that point, in most states, without a new posted speed limit sign, the speed limit would revert back to the generic rural area speed limit, in this case 50 MPH.

Speed limits do vary sometimes even on a 2 lane road. In a long curve, one of the lanes will be in a tighter radius than the other. This effect gets magnified if there is a large center median or turn lane, etc. It's unusual to find a major speed discrepancy though, so likely either someone hit the sign, stole the sign for metal content, or the lower sign on the one side was illegally put up by someone who thinks the speed limit is too high on that stretch of road.

if you run into an ambigous signing situation, call the county road maintenance office and ask. usually if nothing else that will get them out there with new speed limit signs to make things less confusing.

Other things to consider, you are required to obay the speed limit whether the sign is visible or not, but the appropriate government agency that maintains whatever stretch of road is also required to maintain signs in good working order and comply with minimum sight line distances (meaning that X speed sign must be visible for so many feet before you get to it, allowing you time to slow down, that usually varies based on the speed and the amount of change from the last posted limit). If there is a bush obsuring a speed limit sign and you ever get nabbed for speeding, thats usually an automatic get out of ticket free pass.

Edited, May 5th 2012 5:21pm by Kaolian
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#5 May 05 2012 at 6:56 PM Rating: Good
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Dread Lörd Kaolian wrote:
It's unusual to find a major speed discrepancy though, so likely either someone hit the sign, stole the sign for metal content, or the lower sign on the one side was illegally put up by someone who thinks the speed limit is too high on that stretch of road.


I've lived here for 18 years, and while I haven't paid close attention or been driving all those years, I don't think any of these are the case. I hadn't thought about the "til the next intersection" possibility. There is a small road that T's off about half a mile from the posted 25 mph sign while traveling north.

I don't travel the road often, since it's a heavy tourist route with the resorts and all. But every time I do I always feel like I'm breaking the law by traveling 50+mph. Luckily I've never seen a cop on that road in all the years I've lived here.
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#6 May 05 2012 at 8:58 PM Rating: Decent
I'm going to say that a sign is missing? There is something similar here in my town.
It goes from 30 (in town) to 50 when you are going Northbound (out of town). The next speed limit change isn't for almost 5 miles where it drops down to 45 (back into the back side of the next town).
However, coming south @ that same 45 sign there is a 55mpg sign and no change until you get to town (where it informs you it is going to drop to 30).
The speed limit for the Northbound road actually does change up to 55, but the sign was knocked down years ago and has for some reason never been replaced. If you go and pull over, you can see where the base of the pole is still in the ground and you can see where it was bent/broke at. The 50mph limit is for the curve that happens to be there, and then there was the speed up sign.
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#7 May 05 2012 at 11:34 PM Rating: Excellent
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It may just never have been installed then. Definitly call about it. Maintenance people generally don't mind getting calls along those lines, because it allows them to spend money to improve "their" road that they wouldn't have otherwise been allowed to spend without a citizen question to drive the improvement. Same thing with potholes, etc. Many counties have web forms you can submit questions and maintenance requests online too. Or if its a state road, all the states have online maintenance forms. the wierd iffy ones are city roads. those are really hit or miss.
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#8 May 07 2012 at 2:46 PM Rating: Good
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Yeah. Sounds like it's missing a sign. My understanding is that legally you're supposed to continue to obey the last posted sign on your route. Which given there's a side street, creates some really odd conditions here. It's not just that the speed limit would be 50 going one way and 25 going the other, but it would be 25 for anyone who was on the main road all the way from the winding section, but 50 for anyone who entered from the side street. So you could theoretically have two different speed limits for cars driving the same direction on the same road!

That's just silly though, so I'm going with Kao's explanation. After the intersection, the speed limit is assumed to be whatever the default is for that type of road. So 50 should be correct, whether there's a sign indicating the change or not.
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