reasonable speed

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Reasonable speed is the speed at which it is safe to drive an automobile considering road conditions and other circumstances, such as rain, ice, traffic, the vehicle's condition, or visibility. Reasonable speed may be less than the posted speed limit and will never exceed the posted speed limit. For example, California Vehicle Code § 22350 states that “[n]o person shall drive a vehicle upon a highway at a speed greater than is reasonable or prudent having due regard for weather, visibility, the traffic on, and the surface and width of, the highway, and in no event at a speed which endangers the safety of persons or property.” Drivers who exceed reasonable speed can be cited for speeding or may be found to be negligent even if they were driving within the posted speed limit. For example, an Alaska Supreme Court case, Meyst v. East Fifth Avenue Service, Inc., affirmed that, even though a driver was driving the posted speed limit, he did not drive at a reasonable speed because he failed to apply his breaks when he came over a hill and saw an oncoming car in his lane because that car was going around a wrecker crew in the opposite lane.

[Last updated in December of 2020 by the Wex Definitions Team]