Law and conditions dictate top speed

Speed Limit 75 MPH Sign

Your job as a driver is moving from one place to another as rapidly and efficiently as possible—with due regard for safety...your own safety, safety of the vehicle and cargo, and, above all, the safety of the public— any persons who may be using the same public ways. Although the term, “as rapidly as possible” denotes speed, the word “efficiently” must suggest caution. A trip cannot be efficient if it is not safe. To an immature driver, the word, “speed,” might mean “give’er all it's got!” But let's hope we have no such drivers. If you're not all skillful and experienced operators who always use sound judgment about what speed is proper for all situations and under any and all conditions, we face a tough job of coaching and retraining—or weeding out.

You might say speed for driving a motor vehicle of any kind is a relative term. Top speed on the open highway (for good drivers) does not mean the fastest possible with a powerful engine that responds so readily to your gas pedal. Let's repeat that top speed is variable, always a matter for sound judgment. On a good, dry open highway, top speed must never be faster than the law allows—the posted speed limit. If it starts to rain on that beautiful pavement, top speed must be much slower than the posted limit. If a fog rolls in, top speed may seem little more than a crawl—or must be reduced even to zero!

There are many reasons for a driver to decide that reducing speed is smart, aside from weather conditions. The traffic thickens so there is a problem maintaining safe following distance with our dropping back...an irresponsible driver is trying to gain time by weaving in and out of traffic lanes...up ahead there is a farm truck barreling along a side road that intersects the highway...on a superhighway, drivers start cutting across lanes to reach an exit or on a city street there may be children at playing close to the roadway...and many other reasons. Proper speed is a matter of judgment. The driver who does not quickly learn to choose the proper speed limit in any situation may not be driving very long.

Speed Limit 75 MPH Sign
This document is intended for general information purposes only, and should not be construed as advice or opinions on any specific facts or circumstances. The content of this document is made available on an “as is” basis, without warranty of any kind. This document can’t be assumed to contain every acceptable safety and compliance procedures or that additional procedures might not be appropriate under the circumstances. Markel does not guarantee that this information is or can be relied on for compliance with any law or regulation, assurance against preventable losses, or freedom from legal liability. This publication is not intended to be legal, underwriting, or any other type of professional advice. Persons requiring advice should consult an independent adviser. Markel does not guarantee any particular outcome and makes no commitment to update any information herein, or remove any items that are no longer accurate or complete. Furthermore, Markel does not assume any liability to any person or organization for loss of damage caused by or resulting from any reliance placed on that content.

*Markel Specialty is a business division of Markel Service, Incorporated, the underwriting manager for the Markel affiliated insurance companies.
Was this helpful?