In California, speed-related fatalities are sadly on the rise.
According to the Berkeley Safe Transportation Research and Education Center, about 32% of California’s motor vehicle fatalities in 2020 involved excessive speed. Most people are aware that speeding is dangerous and can result in a fine. However, there are circumstances in which it is not safe to drive as fast as the posted speed limit. In these situations, California’s basic speed law applies.
What is the basic speed law?
California’s basic speed law states that motorists shall not drive faster than is “reasonable or prudent,” regardless of the posted speed limit. According to the statute, drivers must consider not only the posted speed limit but also the weather, visibility, traffic and the condition of the road.
When should you slow down?
In some situations, excessive speed can put you and others at risk even if you never exceed the posted speed limit. You should reduce your speed if the conditions on the road are less than ideal.
Driving in the rain can be hazardous, especially when it has just begun to rain. Wet roads can lead to hydroplaning, a dangerous phenomenon in which the vehicle’s tires lose contact with the pavement and begin gliding on the surface of the water. Rain also causes oil residue on the road to rise to the surface, reducing traction.
Use caution when driving with reduced visibility. A number of factors can affect visibility, including hills and bends in the road, obstacles, bad weather, sunlight and bright lights.
Obeying posted speed limits is essential for your safety and the safety of others. As a driver, you should also be aware of risk factors on the road and reduce your speed as necessary.