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Driving primer: Speed limits in California

Drivers around the world, whether in California or on the Autobahn, have to follow the laws and rules of the road. These laws and rules are in place to keep people as safe as possible. When you don't follow them, you can receive a ticket (or worse, of course, when accidents occur). This means that you will have to come out of pocket to pay a fine. You might have to appear in court. If you get enough tickets, it can impact your ability to legally drive.

One common traffic violation that people face in California is speeding. The speed limits on the roads here are set according to the maximum speed that people can drive without it becoming overly dangerous.

Basic speed law

California uses the concept of the basic speed law to govern speeding in the state. This means that you can get a speeding ticket even if you are going the posted limit if the conditions on the road make it unsafe to go that fast. For example, driving 45 mph on a road with that speed limit can get you a ticket if there is dense fog.

Another point of the basic speed law concept is that you can't drive faster than the posted speed limit. Contrary to popular belief, you can't legally drive five miles per hour over the speed limit. You can get a speeding ticket for driving one or two miles per hour over the posted speed limit.

General speed limits

On most roads in California, the speed limit is 65 miles per hour. There are some roads that have speed limits as high as 70, but there are also some roads with slower speed limits.

School zones have a reduced speed limit of 25 miles per hour when children are going to or leaving school.

Alleys have a speed limit of 15 miles per hour.

Two lane undivided highways have a speed limit of 55 miles per hour unless other limits are posted.

Construction zones also have a reduced speed limit that is stated by signs leading to and in the work zone.

Business and residential areas have a maximum speed limit of 25 unless there is another limit posted.

Actions for a speeding ticket

You can simply pay the fine stated on the ticket. However, this might not always be the best course of action. You need to find out how the points will impact your license and insurance. You might decide that you are going to fight the ticket, which is possible if you know that you weren't speeding or contesting the circumstances of the ticket.

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