Roadside Chat - Cruise at a safe speed or risk a shipwreck

2-16 cuise at safe speedWhat type of “cruiser” are you? Are you more of a pontoon captain behind the wheel who goes with the flow of the others on the road, or do you treat your vehicle like a speed boat, weaving in and out of traffic and disrupting traffic flow?

For some, it’s a matter of perspective and what you consider a “safe speed?”  If the conditions are dry, visibility is clear, and there isn’t a lot of traffic, the speed limit posted on signs in the area is what has been determined as a safe speed.

Speed limit types

Did you know there are several types of speed limits?

  1. A statutory speed limit is set by the legislature. Examples of these speed limits include:
    • 25 mph in residential or school districts,
    • 55 mph on rural highways, and
    • 70 mph on rural Interstate highways.

  1. Posted or regulatory speed limits are those posted on signs and enforceable by law. These could be the same as a statutory speed, or be adjusted by a city, county, or state DOT.

  2. School zone speed limits are used during specific times when children are present near schools.

  3. Work zone speed limits are set as part of the work zone traffic control plan to help keep both motorists and workers safer.

  4. Variable speeds are displayed on lighted signs and can change when conditions change. We haven’t used these much in Iowa, but we’re studying the benefits.

  5. Advisory speed limits are signed in areas like curves or ramps to inform drivers of a safe speed, but they are not regulatory, meaning you can’t be ticketed to going faster than the number on an advisory speed limit sign.

Whatever speed limit sign you see, please keep it in mind. Speeding wrecks lives.

So far in 2024 in Iowa, 18 people have been killed in traffic crashes. That’s an increase of one since last Friday. In Iowa in 2023, there were 377 traffic-related deaths. To see statistics published daily by the Office of Driver Services, go to the daily fatality report at

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