Speed Limits in Texas
The typical maximum speed limit for Texas roads is 70 MPH. However, the Texas Transportation Commission may set a speed limit of 75, 80, or even 85 MPH if a traffic or engineering study finds that a particular road can be safely travelled at those speeds.
While studies are usually requested by city governments or the Texas Department of Transportation, citizens may also request speed zone studies on highways by contacting the TXDOT district office that has jurisdiction over the roadway.
About Speed Zone Studies
Speed limits in Texas, as well as nationwide, are set using the 85th percentile method. That is, researchers observe free flowing traffic and determine the 85th percentile speed. To get an accurate reading, speed checks are made on typical weekdays under normal weather conditions during off-peak hours.
However, the safety limit may be set to 10 MPH below the 85th percentile speed if one or more of the following conditions are present.
- Narrow roadways (20 feet or less)
- Sharp curves or steep hills
- Hidden hazards such as driveways
- Large number of driveways
- Highly populated residential area
- No road shoulders
Once the study is finished, signs are posted along the road to indicate the speed limit.
Speed Limits – Safety
Contrary to popular belief, lower speed limits do not always equal safer roads. In fact, unreasonably low speed limits can increase the number of accidents in some instances. The goal of setting a speed limit is always primarily to ensure that all travelers arrive at their destination safely.
In addition to setting appropriate speed limits in Texas, other measures are often taken to reduce accidents and collisions. The Texas DOT may set up road blinkers to inform drivers of the speed limit, when they are approaching an intersection, or when they are entering school zones.
However, drivers should always use common sense when deciding their car’s speed. Poor road conditions, such as rain, fog, or sleet, may require drivers to drive at a speed that is slower than the posted limit. Always take conditions into account, and allow at least three seconds of space in between your car and the car in front of you.