Rachael Brennan has been working in the insurance industry since 2006 when she began working as a licensed insurance representative for 21st Century Insurance, during which time she earned her Property and Casualty license in all 50 states. After several years she expanded her insurance expertise, earning her license in Health and AD&D insurance as well. She has worked for small health insuran...

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Chris Harrigan has an economic degree from Limestone College and an MBA from Clemson University. He previously managed auto insurance claims for Enterprise Rent-A-Car. Currently, he is using his business and insurance expertise to provide insurance data analysis and visualizations to enhance the user experience.

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Reviewed by Chris Harrigan
Former Auto Insurance Claims Manager Chris Harrigan

UPDATED: Mar 7, 2022

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Key Takeaways

  • The safest speed to drive on the road is the speed limit
  • Speed limits for urban areas, school zones, and residential neighborhoods are automatically assigned a speed limit of around 25 mph
  • State officials are responsible for dictating the speed limit of highways and other high-traffic areas

Though many people may not enjoy driving slowly on the road, the safest way to keep everyone safe is to follow the speed limit. It may be boring for drivers who spend a lot of time on the road, but following these limits will prevent accidents.

In addition to maintaining the speed limit, knowing traffic laws can also keep you and other drivers safe. For example, some states allow drivers to turn right on red lights and encourage defensive driving techniques. Knowing your specific state laws is crucial. 

Driving at unsafe speeds or being negligent at the wheel can have serious repercussions. If bodily injuries occur to other drivers, you may face criminal charges for vehicular assault or be subject to fines. Car accidents also affect your insurance coverage for several years. This period largely depends on the severity of the traffic violation.

If you are unsure which car insurance company is right for you and your driving history, consider using your ZIP code in our free car insurance comparison tool for the best estimates on the market.

The Speed Limit Is the Safest Speed to Drive Your Car

Often, state officials are responsible for labeling safe speed limits for urban roads, highways, and other areas. Residential areas and roads near schools receive standard speed limits of around 25 miles per hour.

Speeding is dangerous. There is no doubt that a correlation exists between speeding and the risk of an auto accident. Without the expectation that a speed limit offers, many drivers may not feel safe on the road with other drivers exceeding the speed limit. This unease may cause less focus and increase the risk of an accident. Speed limits help keep the roadways moving at a predictable pace to keep drivers safe.

Not only do speed limits promote safe commuting, but they also maintain traffic flow and eliminate road risks present while driving at night or during poor weather conditions. When weather conditions make roadways hazardous, speed limits can reduce the risk of an accident as it keeps all commuters driving at the same pace.

If you encounter a road that does not specify a speed limit, the standard advice in the U.S. is to go no faster than 55 mph.

Additionally, speeding is never worth the risk. Speeding tickets can make car insurance rates more expensive, especially if a driver has several tickets. Insurance companies may continue to cover drivers who have received multiple traffic violations, but the cost will increase.

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Turning Right on Red Is Legal in all 50 States

“Right on red” is a popular colloquialism to residents of the United States, defined as the ability to make a right turn at a red light after stopping.

In many states, when you want to make a right turn, your car must be in the rightmost lane and enter the rightmost lane of the new roadway. If your vehicle is not in the rightmost turning lane, you run the risk of an auto collision. Since other drivers may not expect movement from your side of the road, they may believe it safe to proceed, causing you to be liable for an accident.

Though it may not be illegal to make a right turn from the inner lane of an intersection, it is an unpredictable move. Observe the drivers around you and be aware of the movement around you. This observation can give you a baseline understanding of how the community functions and how residents in that area drive.

Be aware of parked cars along the right side of the roadway you are entering. Parallel parking and other types of roadside parking mean you must pay special attention to your turn. Hitting a parked car affects insurance rates and can cause premiums to surge.

What is defensive driving?

Defensive driving incorporates techniques and methods to make driving on the roadways safe and predictable. It means being aware of your surroundings, making the safest possible choices, and keeping safety at the forefront of your attention while driving. Defensive driving also includes concepts like wearing your seatbelt, remaining undistracted, and following traffic signs. Additionally, defensive driving techniques enable you can predict danger and slow your car in time to keep everyone safe.

Be sure to pay attention to everything around you. This is one of the rules of defensive driving that is most likely to prevent a car accident.

Paying attention to your surroundings means keeping your eyes on the road, safely checking mirrors, using your signals to make a turn, and yielding to pedestrians. Remaining focused also means keeping a distance from reckless or careless drivers. Some of the signs of reckless driving are not using signals when turning, weaving through lanes closely to other vehicles, or brake slamming.

If you encounter others behaving erratically, keep your distance or try to get into other lanes. Observe their behavior and keep your distance to maintain safety for everyone on the road.

Be Aware of Blind Spots

Blind spots are areas in the rearview or side mirrors obstructed by parts of your vehicle. They have been the culprit behind many car accidents and traffic violations. Checking your blind spots means looking twice for motorcycles and looking backward to double-check for other cars in the lane you wish to turn.

While there are natural blind spots in your vision, the car you drive also contributes to blind spots. For example, the back columns of your vehicle may make it difficult to see and block much of your view.

Always double-check to ensure that the maneuver you wish to make is safe. A visual check around the area can help relieve any natural blind spots you may have.

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The Safest Speed Is the Speed Limit

Not only does the speed limit aid in keeping drivers safe, but it also offers predictability to drivers and helps maintain a healthy traffic flow. Abiding by the speed limit is the best way to stay safe, as going any faster can result in traffic tickets or citations. Drivers should also remember defensive driving techniques.

Now that you know more about the principles of defensive driving, you can avoid unsafe behaviors on the road.

Speeding is not worth the risk of your car insurance rates increasing. Repeated speeding violations may cause drivers to pay unaffordable prices. Consider using your ZIP code in our free car insurance comparison tool to see which companies have the best prices for you.