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What is safest speed to drive?

Florida Driver Handbook: Speed Limits

Study for your upcoming driver’s license test or learner’s permit exam with the Florida Driver Handbook.

Florida Driver Handbook: Speed Limits

5. Driving Safety

  • 5.1. Distracted Drivers
  • 5.2. Getting Ready to Drive
  • 5.3. Defensive Driving
  • 5.4. Driving Safety for Mature Drivers — Tips to Help You Drive Safer . Longer
  • 5.5. When You Back Up
  • 5.6. Avoiding Rear-end Collisions
  • 5.7. Emotions
  • 5.8. Basic Driver Improvement
  • 5.9. Safety Belts
  • 5.10. Protecting Children
  • 5.11. Speed Limits
  • 5.12. Following Officer’s and Fireman’s Instructions
  • 5.13. Crossing Intersections
  • 5.14. Right-of-Way
  • 5.15. Stop Signs
  • 5.16. Open Intersections
  • 5.17. Roundabouts
  • 5.18. Driveways
  • 5.19. Emergency Vehicles
  • 5.20. Making Turns
  • 5.21. Turnabout (Three-Point Turn)
  • 5.22. Turn Signals and Emergency Signals
  • 5.23. Traffic Lanes
  • 5.24. Blind Spots
  • 5.25. Passing
  • 5.26. Minimum Safe Following Distances
  • 5.27. Parking
  • 5.28. Expressway Driving
  • 5.29. Night Driving
  • 5.30. Animals
  • 5.31. Reduced Visibility
  • 5.32. Handling Emergencies
  • 5.33. First Aid

Speed causes many crashes. More drivers are convicted of speeding than any other offense. To avoid being fined or involved in a crash, obey the speed limits. Speed is very important in a collision. If you double the speed of a car, you increase its force of impact four times. If you triple the speed, the impact is nine times as great.

70 Does Not Always Mean 70

Remember that speed limits show the fastest speed you may drive under good conditions. You are responsible for adjusting your driving speed to the road conditions. For example, if the weather is bad or there is a lot of traffic, you must drive more slowly than the posted speed. The safe speed is the one that allows you to have complete control of your vehicle and avoid collisions with other vehicles and pedestrians.

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Florida «Standard» Speed Limits

Municipal Speed Areas30
Business or Residential Area30
Rural Interstate70 *
Limited Access Highways70
All Other Roads and Highways55 *
School Zones20

The 55 MPH maximum speed limit is still in effect in Florida except where otherwise posted. Speed limits are 70 MPH on some rural Interstate highways. Speed limits may be changed on other multilane highways and in areas where the conditions require lower speeds. Drivers should not assume because the area appears to be a particular urban, municipality, business or highway area that the speed is the standard or expected speed zone. Observe and obey the posted speed signs as there may be frequent changes from area to area along the selected roads or highways.

Speed limit signs are posted at the beginning of a speed zone and drivers must be driving no higher than that speed starting at the location of the posted sign and continuing until there is a posted speed limit change.

5.11.1 — Driving Too Slowly is also Against the Law

Drive with the flow of traffic (within the speed limit). You should not drive so slowly that you block other vehicles moving at normal, safe speeds. When driving slower than the flow of traffic, keep right so others may safely pass. You can be issued a ticket for driving too slowly. When the posted speed limit is 70 mph, the minimum speed limit is 50 mph.

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Appropriate Speed Limits for All Road Users

There is broad consensus among global roadway safety experts that speed control is one of the most important methods for reducing fatalities and serious injuries. Speed is an especially important factor on non-limited access roadways where vehicles and vulnerable road users mix.

A driver may not see or be aware of the conditions within a corridor, and may drive at a speed that feels reasonable for themselves but may not be for all users of the system, especially vulnerable road users, including children and seniors. A driver traveling at 30 miles per hour who hits a pedestrian has a 45 percent chance of killing or seriously injuring them. 1 At 20 miles per hour, that percentage drops to 5 percent. 1 A number of cities across the United States, including New York, Washington, Seattle and Minneapolis, have reduced their local speed limits in recent years in an effort to reduce fatalities and serious injuries, with most having to secure State legislative authorization to do so.

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States and local jurisdictions should set appropriate speed limits to reduce the significant risks drivers impose on others—especially vulnerable road users—and on themselves. Addressing speed is fundamental to the Safe System Approach to making streets safer, and a growing body of research shows that speed limit changes alone can lead to measurable declines in speeds and crashes. 2


Posted speed limits are often the same as the legislative statutory speed limit. Agencies with designated authorities to set speed limits, which include States, and sometimes local jurisdictions, can establish non-statutory speed limits or designate reduced speed zones, and a growing number are doing so. While non-statutory speed limits must be based on an engineering study, conducted in accordance with the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) involving multiple factors and engineering judgment, FHWA is also encouraging agencies to use the following 3 :

  • Expert Systems tools.
    • NCHRP 966: Posted Speed Limit Setting Procedure and Tool

    Based on international experience and implementation in the United States, the use of 20 mph speed zones or speed limits in urban core areas where vulnerable users share the road environment with motorists may result in further safety benefits. 4


    When setting a speed limit, agencies should consider a range of factors such as pedestrian and bicyclist activity, crash history, land use context, intersection spacing, driveway density, roadway geometry, roadside conditions, roadway functional classification, traffic volume, and observed speeds.

    To achieve desired speeds, agencies often implement other speed management strategies concurrently with setting speed limits, such as self-enforcing roadways, traffic calming, and speed safety cameras. Additional information is in the following FHWA resources:

    • FHWA Speed Management website.
    • Self-Enforcing Roadways: A Guidance Report.
    • Noteworthy Speed Management Practices.
    • Jurisdiction Speed Management Action Plan Development Package.
    • Traffic Calming ePrimer.

    Safety Benefits:

    Traffic fatalities in the City of Seattle decreased 26 percent after the city implemented comprehensive, city-wide speed management strategies and countermeasures inspired by Vision Zero. This included setting speed limits on all non-arterial streets at 20 mph and 200 miles of arterial streets at 25 mph. 5

    One study found that on rural roads, when considering other relevant factors in the engineering study along with the speed distribution, setting a speed limit no more than 5 mph below the 85th-percentile speed may result in fewer total and fatal plus injury crashes, and lead to drivers complying closely with the posted speed limit. 6

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