General Question

Mariah's avatar

Does your city have "end speed limit" signs, and what is their point?

Asked by Mariah (19395 points ) June 21st, 2012

Sometimes on the outskirts of my city where it changes to more rural driving, there’ll be a sign that says “end 30 mph speed limit.” I guess you’re supposed to assume at that point that the speed limit goes up to 55, but wouldn’t it be less ambiguous to just use a “55 mph speed limit” sign?

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18 Answers

Rarebear's avatar

To move traffic along?

Mariah's avatar

But why say “end speed limit” as opposed to specifying the new speed limit?

Rarebear's avatar

In our state there is a default speed limit of 55 mph on rural highways.

bolwerk's avatar

States tend to have a default speed limit, and that limit may vary based on conditions. So it makes sense for, say, a village speed limit to end, but for the one outside the village to vary based on prevailing weather/visibility conditions.

thorninmud's avatar

New York state’s signage policy says that these signs are “a substitute” for a standard speed limit sign, and that they are to be used in instances where the stretch of road immediately beyond the sign is not actually suitable for full highway speeds (e.g, there’s a curve in the road ahead, or a school). In other words, just because the 30 MPH speed zone ends there, don’t get the idea that you should go 55 just yet. The rules then say that a standard speed limit sign should be placed just beyond the area of concern.

Mariah's avatar

@thorninmud I’m actually in New York, so that makes sense. Thanks!

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@Mariah Also in NYS. I think it’s for traffic enforcement? You know where you can pick the speed up again without risking a ticket.

Trillian's avatar

I always want to know if the line of demarcation is where I first see the sign, or actually at the sign.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@Trillian When you get to the sign.

JLeslie's avatar

I think most states I have lived in just post the new speed limit. Here in TN that is what we have. Although, we do have “Reduced Speed Ahead” signs in some areas to warn when the speed is going to go down, and then an actual sign with the lower speed to mark the start of the slower requirement. In one state I lived in, at least one, maybe more, the default speed for local roads was 35 mph unless otherwise stated. I just remember being tested on it. Might have been NC?

Zaku's avatar

In Washington State, we sometimes have “SPEED ZONE AHEAD” followed by “SPEED LIMIT 30” and then “END SPEED ZONE” signs. Like the above, I think it means an exception to the usual speed for the type of road.

iphigeneia's avatar

We definitely have them, and people regularly complain about them in the newspaper. I do think they’re ridiculous. Everybody should know what the default speed limits are, but tourists probably won’t, and it takes a little bit of extra brain power, without good reason (Is there a good reason? I’d love to know.)

Lightlyseared's avatar

The maximum speed limit for various vehicles types is often different so its probably to avoid confusion.

bongo's avatar

We don’t get these in the UK that I have seen although in areas where there are schools within a 30 zone you will get a sign saying 20 mph zone then end 20mph zone with a 30mph over the top like this however we just get national speed limit signs which is 60mph on single lanes and 70mph on dual carriage ways and motor ways (unless you are driving a lorry or a van)

Interesting that your national limit is only 55mph…In some areas of the autobahns in Germany there is no speed limit for cars (awesome!)

thorninmud's avatar

@bongo No, the 55 isn’t a national speed limit here, just the most widely used limit for highways other than interstate highways (interstates are like your motorways). Here, states set their own limits, even on the interstates. Texas has some stretches of highway through remote areas with a limit of 80mph, and they’re considering increasing that to 85.

bongo's avatar

@thorninmud but most highways in the rest of the US are 55? Also what is your normal limit for interstate highways then? 80mph too or is this just Texas? (I would need to bear this in mind when I eventually visit the US and hire a car!)

JLeslie's avatar

@Bongo Most interstates are 65 or 70. Densely populated areas, as you near cities, they are less, wide open spaces with no one around for miles the limits can be higher. Interstates generally have a speed sign as you enter the interstate, so you should not have to guess. Many Eastern states the people say highway meaning the interstate, the word is used interchangeably, in fact out east they almost never say interstate. Towards the center and southern parts of the country they use interstate, because “rural highways” are much more common. It seems very confusing, but honestly, I don’t think you will have any problems. Interstates are also called freeways depending on the state you are in. We have Turnpikes and Toll roads also. No matter where you are if you say I90 pronouncing the letter, eye ninety, people will understand that to be Interstate 90, or whatever number you are trying to get to.

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