Identifying speed limits on different roads

Hello. First let me say I hope this is an appropriate place/section for this topic, I can’t find anywhere else to go to with the concerns I’ll address in the thread.

So I just recently got my TIP, and will hopefully pass my road test and get my actual driver’s license.

I’ve been practicing and don’t have many issues, concerns, etc. but about the only thing that I just can’t quite seem to get a grasp on is being able to know the speed limit of a road - more specifically when a speed limit sign hasn’t been posted within a decent distance of say like right after turning onto a new road.

As far as I can tell, there are usually typical limits in regards to the type of area/road that are a general guide; school, residential, urban, suburban, business, rural, highway etc. But I just can’t seem to be able to I guess properly identify/distinguish these areas sometimes, besides obvious ones like school, rural, highway etc.

So I’m just hoping somebody might have some advice, tips, knowledge etc. that could be of help. Thank you so much!

Edit: forgot to include I live in Lansing Michigan if that helps anything.

First, take driver’s training as soon as it’s offered. The experience will be well worth it. The question on speed limits will be in your drivers information booklet that you had to study to get your permit. Sets various speed limits for the various types of roads and what they are if they are not listed. Of course GPS and navigation systems will display the speed limits as you drive along.

Although Waze isn’t always correct, it would still be helpful to see what it displays in this case.

Nowadays, I don’t think that anyone should be without a GPS system unless he/she never leaves the town where they live. In addition to guiding you to your destination, the speed limit on a street or road will be displayed on the screen, as was mentioned by Bing. If the OP doesn’t want to go to the expense of buying a GPS device, all he has to do is to install the free WAZE app on his smartphone.

But I’m wondering if the OP is concerned about knowing the speed limit during their driving test. The test giver probably wouldn’t be too happy for the OP to be looking at their navigation ap. I’d drive the streets around where the test would be given to get a feel for what the speed limits are.

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Each state/city/community has a general guide to speed limit for each type of road. This is from the state of Michigan;,4670,7-127-1642-103522--,00.html


I asked a cop once what are the speed limits in a rural development that are not posted. he said 30mph.


Seattle defines Arterials as having a yellow center dividing line
Residential/non-arterial as no or white center dividing line.

Most major cities have similar signs when entering city limits.

So in Seattle you ASSUME those are the speed limits unless you see a sign saying otherwise.

Does anyone obey those 20/25 mph limits in Seattle, outside of school zones? I’d get run over 10x on the way to work…

Just a note that it is illegal in a lot of places now to be looking at your cell while driving whether with waze or not. I spose you could get by with a gps mounted but my gosh don’t do it during a driving test. I seldom would use a gps unless trying to find some obscure location after locating on a map.

Also seems unusual that a person could pass the written test for a permit without reading the part about speed limits. I suppose though passing is 70% so you can miss a whole lot with the 30%.


Seattle just reduced it to those speeds from 30/25 trying to reduce bicycle/pedestrian accidents.
To soon to tell if it’s working.

I don’t claim to be knowledgeable about statutes in every state, but all of the ones in which I usually drive state that the use of a “handheld” phone is prohibited. How would a cop determine that someone was looking at a windshield-mounted or dash mounted phone if he/she didn’t touch or hold the phone?

If the OP is in a fog regarding speed limits on the roads that he will traverse during his driving test, he should use Waze–or a comparable app–to determine the speed limit on those roads prior to his road test, and should not rely on any devices during the road test.

Our little city by the lake is taking some big steps in that direction. The school by me now reposted speed limits to 20 while in session, plus no parking on the south side of the street. Impossible to drive 20 though due to all the cars lined up parked on the south side and all the school buses parked on the north side. No need to change the speed limit.

Wisconsin was always 25 in the city, but best be followed since it is a revenue source for small burgs. Just IMHO.

I know of no general rules that govern speed limits around here. Seemingly identical roads can be 35, 40, or 45.

I was surprised when I was out in Bakersfield and some roads through town were 55, traffic lights and neighborhoods and all.

I noticed that all over CA some of the roads that were 55 would be 30/35 in WA

To clarify we were talking about roads that are unposted. Similar roads can be posted for various speed limits, but the issue is when a road is not posted with a speed limit, what are the rules. Virtually every state has rules that will cover so every stretch of road doesn’t need a sign. Rural gravel roads for example rarely are posted, but there is still a speed limit for them.

Well, that might not help the OP on his test, he’ll likely be on a posted road, just not near a speed limit sign.

My test was all in town with a 30 mph limit. Of course you couldn’t go that fast due to the blizzard so more like 20 mph. The tester didn’t mind at all after I parallel parked and got out to clean off the rear window. Eddie was happy to get back to the Armory and stretch his legs.

Many cities/towns have a general speed limit that says something like "Speed Limit is 30mph unless posted otherwise. We have MANY roads here in New England that you’d think are 40 or even 50, but they are only 30. Mainly due to the roads being widened to clear up traffic and the speed limit was never changed.