Minimum Speed Limit?

Discussion in 'Fuel Economy' started by m6soto, Mar 30, 2008.


What speed do you dare do on a 65mph freeway w/ traffic scooting along at 70mph?

  1. 40-45mph

    3 vote(s)
  2. 45.1-50mph

    7 vote(s)
  3. 50.1-55mph

    24 vote(s)
  4. 55.1-60mph

    36 vote(s)
  5. 60.1-65mph

    18 vote(s)
  1. lightfoot

    lightfoot Reformed speeder

    Yes on two-lane roads I try to go the speed limit when someone is behind me. I think most of us here do that. It DOES get frustrating when a passing zone free of oncoming traffic comes up and they don't pass me. Sometimes I even move right to the very edge of the pavement to try to encourage them.

    Where there is a posted minimum the police shouldn't be able to hassle you if you are going over the minimum. Of course this doesn't stop other drivers from hassling you.

    It's up to each driver to evaluate for themselves, but personally I feel uncomfortable under 47 in a 65 around here, even though with a 40 minimum it's legal. Anything higher than 47 works for me, but as I said I try to stay 50 or above.

    Also, heavier traffic slows the flow, so going slow is actually less of a safety problem above a certain traffic density. More of a psycho problem though because people are more touchy when they're tangled in a dense pack of cars.
  2. fanamingo

    fanamingo Well-Known Member

    I'm with JimboK. Safety comes first.

    In moderate traffic, in a 65 mph zone, I usually aim for 60. Actual speed ranges from 55 - 65 depending on terrain. In heavy traffic I aim for 65, dropping to 60 on uphills. In light traffic, I might try aiming for 55, but I'm still waiting to encounter light traffic on an interstate so I can give this a try. :(
  3. psyshack

    psyshack He who posts articles

    We have posted min and max speeds here on the multi lane hwys and toll roads. I stay in the right lane and wag finger at the pissy ones.

    I have ran at the min. speeds many times. And honestly. Thats when I post up my best tanks. But man does the daily grind get long as hell. And it can be very exciting. I get enough excitement and anger at work.

    So on hwys with a 65 mph max speed I target 57 mph. On the toll roads with 70 and 75 mph max speeds I target 60 to 65 mph depending on traffic.

    BUT in the last few weeks Ive had to haul ass here and there on the turnpikes and hwys. When Im on the clock I have to get the job done in a timely fashion. I can't be milking it. And it has beaten my tanks up pretty bad of late. :(
  4. applemac*fit

    applemac*fit Well-Known Member

    The posted minimum on most of the highways here is 45 MPH; the minimum is usually posted on a sign right under the speed limit.
  5. Chuck

    Chuck just the messenger

    Last year when Dan and I carpooled thru OK to HybridFest, Dan commented on the toll roads speed limits....said "No Tolerance"...i.e. almost everybody else lets you speed.
  6. Lugnuts001

    Lugnuts001 Well-Known Member

    Once in a while I take the turnpike in central FL where the limit is 70. I go 60-65 depending on slope. Most traffic passes and I'm pleasantly surprised that no one seems to be irritated by it.
  7. pumaman

    pumaman Well-Known Member

    When you are close drafting a truck, you are tailgating, the same thing you're ranting about when others do it to you.
  8. Ptero

    Ptero Hydrogen Nut, Battery Skeptic

    That's right, Dave. Can't you just see that truck driver white-knuckling his wheel and sweating in terror when my little Smart disappears between his mirrors? What's he thinking? "Oh, God, if i hit my air brakes he'll ram me and I'll be killed!" That's right Dave. There's no difference. Thanks for making a point. Have a day.
  9. pumaman

    pumaman Well-Known Member

    Ptero, I think if you talk to the truckers, you'll find they're just as upset about you riding their bumper as you are when others do it to you. In fact if you look, there's a thread here started by a trucker ranting on that exact topic. And this is why this forum doesn't condone close drafting. I think the only reason everyone was praising you up to this point is because they didn't catch that part of your first post. I'd go so far as to bet that they'll also caution you about close drafting. Just because your intentions are noble (saving gas) still doesn't make it right. It is hypocracy. Have a great day and be careful out there.
  10. lightfoot

    lightfoot Reformed speeder

    One of many good reasons.

    But just from a trucker's point of view they don't want you drafting because they don't want to kill or injure anyone else on the road. They're professional drivers, so they want to know where other traffic is around them at all times. If you're tucked in behind them, they can't see you so they are not sure if you are still there, and have to keep checking to see if you dropped back or took an offramp, which is distracting. From a practical viewpoint an accident investigation costs them time and may affect their safety rating and jack up their insurance rates.

    As far as saving gas, most trucks are still moving so fast that you can save far more fuel by simply slowing down and forgetting about drafting. The draft drops off rapidly as you get further back from the truck, so to maximize the draft you would have to be about 1-2 feet from the trailer, which would be extremely dangerous. I compared drafting 1-2 seconds behind a truck (which is still dangerously close) with 50-60mph P&G in the Subaru and found I did much better with P&G: mid 30's with P&G vs 29-30mpg drafting at 65-70mph.
  11. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi Lightfoot:

    ___You did not describe any of the types which some of the bigger numbers come from. Surf and Traffic side (the larger the differential, the better).

    ___Good Luck

  12. lightfoot

    lightfoot Reformed speeder

    Yes you're right. I grab traffic side every chance I get, but watching carefully to be sure the semi is not wandering into "my" lane. Instantly gives me several mph in the Insight.
  13. kwj

    kwj I hypermiled this

    I think three major points come out in this thread: 1. tailgating is illegal because it consistently produces accidents. 2. You can draft a truck from a legal and save distance, although that will usually be at an illegal speed. 3. You can drive more slowly in the right lane and achieve the same or higher MPGs, thereby avoiding all illegalities, giving hypermiling a bad rap.

    For me at least, it is more peaceful and less stressful to drive far to the right of the right lane. I don't mind paying more attention to what's coming up from behind (and warning trucks with a 4-way flash or two). I think this all keeps me better tuned in and much more aware than I'd be 10 feet behind a semi.

    If you must close draft trucks, just ensure you don't have any hyperming bumper stickers. I know when riding motorcycles, how a few can make it worse for the rest. I think that 70 and 75 MPH speed limits are totally nuts because it makes it just that much more difficult to drive sensibly, and the waste of fuel is not morally responsible (all said IMHO).
  14. Chuck

    Chuck just the messenger

    Just look up Is your life really worth a few mpg? and Don't surf with semis.

    The ATA published an article on drafting and as a result people started threads like the pair I linked ranting that we ALL close draft...last thing we need is a few to do it to fuel their assertion, even if the vast majority here don't. Now that truckers are on the alert, they often shake anyone that tries drafting.

    I added drafting in Dealing with Spammers, Trolls and Flamewars because we have newbies accusing us of promoting drafting - please review this post from time to time.
  15. kwj

    kwj I hypermiled this

    I forgot to add my 2cents about how going slow in the right lane makes me more comfortable. I dropped down to a 5W20 synthetic. My car revs at nearly 3 grand at 65-70 (truck speeds), but only at 2200-2400 at 50 - 55. I like to think I'm giving my engine more of a chance at lasting for at least 200,000 miles.
  16. atlaw4u

    atlaw4u Well-Known Member

    In Texas, unless it is posted, the miminum speed is quite discretionary. It is defined as "No persona shall drive so slowly as to impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic." Tran. Code ยง545.363(a).
  17. WriConsult

    WriConsult Super Moderator

    Boy, I didn't realize so many states had discretionary minimums like that. My understanding was that freeways have posted minimums (generally 45mph if the max is 65-70mph, 40mph if the max is 55-60mph) but other highways don't have a specific minimum as long as you pull over to pass if 5 or more vehicles are backed up behind you. At least that's in OR and WA.

    I believe our state's laws make a distinction between traffic obstruction and traffic impedance. If you're stopped you're obstructing traffic and that's generally illegal (subject to a long list of commonsense exceptions). Impeding traffic (driving slowly) is NOT illegal as long as you follow the 5-vehicle-delay rule. If you're going really slowly you may have to display the slow-moving-vehicle triangle and use your hazard flashers, but you still may use the road. This is critically important to me as a cyclist. I try to avoid it, but I do sometimes find myself on (usually short) stretches of road where there's one lane, I'm in it and it isn't safe for others to pass me. If I can get a ticket just for going slowly, that means I could get a ticket simply for being on a lot of roads.

    Anyway, I usually stick to low 60s on 65-75mph freeways, otherwise between 5 under and the speed limit on other highways. Sometimes slower on back roads, if I'm not on a long drive and no one else is around. If there are people are behind me on a 2 lane road, I try to stay very close to the speed limit. I don't doubt that there are cops who might try to write me up for that, but it'd be hard to make a ticket for failing to exceed the speed limit to stick in court. Of course, when away from home I excercise due caution about this: cops know that most people from out of their county aren't going to want to go on a road trip just to fight a ticket.
  18. m6soto

    m6soto Guest

    Your coworker sounds like an idiot. :D
  19. m6soto

    m6soto Guest

    Thanks all for the input! Sometimes, out there on the road, it can feel pretty lonely when everyone is passing me up. :D
  20. justpassinthru

    justpassinthru New Member

    Well, I've had an experience.

    On the morning of April 15, 2008 at 1 a.m., I was returning home from work in the slow lane of the 5-lane SR-91, and was stopped by the CHP for allegedly going too slow.

    I just bought a GPS and was testing it out. I was on cruise control at 48 mph, but my GPS said I was going 46 mph.

    No weaving, just listening to the radio.

    The cop asked if I knew how fast I was going, and I told him 48, and showed him my GPS too. When the cop asked for my papers, I asked him did he really need to see them even though I was travelling a legal speed? No answer. Why did he stop me? Impeding traffic. I told him there was no one to impede. There weren't 20 cars within 1/2 mile of us, both directions.
    Later on, he said they tracked me at 45..48 mph. I insisted the stop was illegal based only on speed without weaving or other erratic movement.

    Surprisingly, he said no, because drunks drive slow, he could stop me on suspicion. I don't think so. Some drunks drive the regular speed limit too, while sober folks like me (and others here) sometimes drive slower.

    Anyway, he/they never disagreed that 46 mph is a perfectly legal speed. They just said they had the legal right to stop you on that basis alone.

    I would have let the incident pass, but his partner was a real jerk about me challenging them, so I issued a formal complaint to the CHP about their behavior. I'll see how that goes.

    Because of this experience, I've looked long and hard for the actual minimum speed in California, and I can't find it anywhere. As indicated elsewhere above, the Calif DOT (Caltrans) has not apparently not issued any minimum speed limits anywhere that I can find. The only laws on point are CVC 21650 and CVC 22400, but don't say that there is a minimum speed, but just make sure you're not impeding traffic.

    As you might guess, I was justpassinthru...

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