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States with slowest, fastest roads by speed limit

Texas is fastest with an average of 78.3 mph, Alaska and District of Columbia are the slowest.

By Douglas Newcomb Aug 25, 2014 12:26PM

Image courtesy of YouTube.Whether you’re stuck behind a dawdling driver (or two) on the interstate or inching along in an urban traffic jam, it can sometimes seem as if everyone around you is moving syrupy slow. But that could also depend on where you live or drive.


In New York -- the state and not just the city -- you may find yourself going slower since it has some of the lowest overall speed limits in the nation, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association. Whereas in Texas you may find yourself driving quite a bit faster since the Lone Star State ranks as having the highest overall speed limits in the U.S.


The nonprofit GHSA, a group that represents the highway safety offices for each U.S. state, placed Texas at the top of the list for having not only the highest speed limit in the U.S., 85 mph, but also the highest overall average top speed limits for both urban and rural interstates as well as limited access roads: 78.3 mph. This beats Idaho, the next fastest state with a top limit of 80 mph and an average top speed of 76.7 mph, by nearly 2 mph.


Texas has the 41-mile stretch of the State Highway 130 toll road near Austin to thank for its top-speed crown. It was named the nation’s first 85-mph highway almost two years ago. Idaho recently closed the gap with Texas after it raised speed limits to 80 mph on stretches of several interstates last month.


Although safety advocates have advised against raising speed limits, arguing that higher speeds lead to more traffic fatalities, the four western states of Idaho, Texas, Utah and Wyoming now have top limits of at least 80 mph on some interstates. A dozen other states have 75 mph top speed limits, while 22 have top speed limits of 70 mph.


While Delaware, Hawaii and New York each have an overall average speed limit of 58 mph and for Rhode Island and Vermont it’s 57 mph -- and they all have top speeds of no more than 65 mph -- these are not the slowest states. That crown goes to Alaska as well as the District of Columbia, with an average top speed on 55 mph, which is also the posted top speed.


[Source: USA Today]

54Comments
Aug 26, 2014 11:23AM
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In California, I am so tired of drivers not reading the DMV handbook.  I cannot count the number of times that some driver in lane 1, unofficially called the "fast lane" by many, decides they can just go whatever slow speed they want necessitating drivers from behind to have to change lanes.  The DMV handbook specifically says that slower traffic should move to the RIGHT.  Nobody OWNS that lane or has any right to drive where they want.  Driving is a privilege not a right.  I have a newspaper quote from a law enforcement officer that even mentioned that slow drivers in lane 1 can actually cause more accidents than speeders due to all of the lane changing by other drivers and not to mention road rage they may create.  It is also part of common driving courtesy.  When I see a car coming up faster than me then I move over to the right as soon as it is safe to do so.  If more people did this then we probably would have much less traffic (except for those peak times when everyone is at a crawl).  Or maybe we need lane 1 posted with a higher speed limit and cops can give tickets to those slow drivers in those lanes.  Also, drivers need to learn to travel at the same speed when merging onto the freeway.  Do not make the other freeway drivers have to slow down for you while you are merging.  I really wonder how some people get their driver's license.  Yikes!
Aug 26, 2014 10:39AM
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Texas is a rich enough state to not need parasitically lower limits to generate money, its as simple as that.  With the exception on a neighborhood with Kids, 90% of speed limits are nothing but Local Government ATM's...
Aug 26, 2014 5:50AM
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Where's the new "fatality data" for safety advocates use to further their cause.

 

Oh wait, it hasn't gotten worse!?.

 

Then let's try to figure out a way to manipulate the data to make it worse than reality.

 

The police are already helping though, by using "excessive speed" as the cause for most crashes even when it isn't.

 

 

Aug 26, 2014 12:39PM
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If you've ever had to drive across Texas,  you want to go as fast as possible, and it still seems to take forever!
Aug 26, 2014 12:26PM
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Hey - gotta love Texas! LOVE YOU COWBOYS!  Everyone there drives faster and they have less accidents. When it comes to driving - no state does it like Texas!   They also have a law that if you are driving slower in the left hand land than the person behind you - YOU MUST PULL OVER INTO THE RIGHT HAND LANE! 

Now the WORST! Obviously these writers have not frequented "rural Ohio."  Ohio is absolutely the worst state for "turtle drivers."  I swear (and I have learned a few choice words throughout my years in Ohio to use on some of the drivers)  people in the state are in some kind of "altered mind numbed state" when driving.  Not only are the speed limits ridiculously SLOW - the people there will sit at a green light  for 5 to 10 seconds before moving their car!  When driving the interstates - people in the left hand lane will NOT let you pass them. There are areas with four lanes of traffic in which a  safe speed limit of 40 mph would be sufficient is posted as 25 mph.  Hey - I cannot even get my car to drive that slow!  I also notice that many in Ohio drive recklessly.  Many do not pay attention to traffic around them - again clueless.    If you love driving DON"T GO TO OHIO!
Aug 27, 2014 3:23AM
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Hmm... The last time I checked, the District of Columbia was a territory, not a state. IJS.
Aug 26, 2014 2:25PM
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"Alaska as well as the District of Columbia, with an average top speed on 55 mph, which is also the posted top speed."

 

This statement is INCORRECT.   I live in Anchorage, Alaska and the highest posted speed limit anywhere in the state is 65mph.

Aug 27, 2014 6:20AM
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Texas .. Get north of Kerrville ( a town a little north of San Antonio ) and if your car holds enough gas you do not have to slow down, stop or go through a town for almost 500 miles till you get to El Paso .. speed limit should be 80 > at least lol
Aug 27, 2014 5:23AM
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Posted speeds should be dictated by common sense things like road conditions, weather and traffic not just a blanket limit that commonly takes none of these into consideration.
Aug 27, 2014 7:40AM
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DC should be last on this list because they have speeding, red light, rolling stop and surveillance cameras everywhere and adding more and more!
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