Have you driven through multiple states and noticed that the speed limits change? In some states, they are higher, while in others, the limit is reduced. Why is that? Well, the answer isn’t perfectly clear, because there can be several contributing factors to what a certain roadway was assigned a specific number.
One reason is that road classification matters in determining speed limit. Road classifications can vary state to state, but overall, there are three main types of roadways: Arterial, Collector, and Local.
Arterial roadways have the highest speeds and have few access points; this would be an expressway/interstate/highway with on and off ramps.
Collector roadways, also known as country road, have a few more access points, so there maximum speed is more balanced.
Local roadways are neighborhood streets, and since they have so many access points the speed limit is significantly lower.
When there are fewer access points and intersections, there are fewer people moving perpendicular to each other, so they are able to drive at higher speeds with less risk of a collision occurring.
The state’s population and the population of the local area also play a part in determining the speed limit. With higher populations, the speed limit signs showcase a lower number.
Thirdly, the speed limit sign is also based on what types of vehicles will be traveling down it. For highways/expressways with commercial trucks on them, the speed limit is usually not higher than 55 mph.
Overall, speed limit signs are determined with safety in mind. The type of road, the area, the number of people within it are all factored together.
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