What are California's default speed limits?

It goes without saying that speeding can increase the chances of a person being involved in or causing a car accident in San Jose. Yet many people may miss the general purpose of speed limits. They might think that is the speed at which one traveling through an area must drive. Likewise, some might actually think that there is no speed limit through an area where none is officially posted. These assumptions may lead the person that caused your car accident to claim that they were not violating speed limit laws. A better understanding of general speed limit restrictions might suggest otherwise. 

According to the California Department of Motor Vehicles, there are indeed default speed limits that should be followed. For example, on a divided two-lane highway where no speed limit is posted, the default speed limit is 55 mph. That is also the standard speed limit on such a road for vehicles hauling trailers. 

In residential areas, the default speed limit is always 25 mph. There are exceptions to this rule, however. These include: 

  • When driving through blind intersections
  • When driving through an alley
  • Within 100 feet of a railroad crossing where traffic is not controlled by a signal or gate and less than 400 feet of track is visible in both directions

In these areas, the default speed limit is 15 mph. It drops to 10 mph when passing buses, streetcars or trolleys. 

There may also instances where the person who hit you was still violating speed limit laws even though they were not exceeding the posted speed limit. In bad weather or conditions causing poor visibility, drivers are to drive no faster than is reasonably safe. Also, people traveling so slow as to unreasonably impede traffic may be cited for speed limit violations. 

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