How Fast Can Commercial Trucks Safely Travel on Highways?
Bill Allen | July 12, 2022 | Truck Accidents
In the state of Florida, commercial truck safety is strictly enforced as a means to keep drivers and pedestrians safe. Whether you’re driving on an open highway or busy interstate, following the posted speed limit is important if you want to avoid dangerous truck accidents and incur hefty fines.
Every state has different driving laws for commercial trucks, and speed limits are determined by considering numerous factors, including weather conditions, visibility, traffic, and geography.
In Florida, the same speed limit laws apply to commercial trucks as those for cars and motorcycles. If you’re a commercial truck driver, knowing the speed limits and safety standards will keep the roads safer and help you avoid getting pulled over.
Understanding Florida Speed Limits
Although Florida has the same speed laws in place across the state, the limit will vary depending on what type of road you’re driving a commercial tractor-trailer on.
Differentiating between the following three types of highways is important.
These are usually two-lane roads used for long-distance travel from city to city. Because movement can be particularly limited on these roads, the posted speed limit is 60 MPH.
Interstates are large thoroughfares that cross more than one state.
The four interstates you’ll find across Florida are:
Interstates allow the highest speed limits and let drivers reach 70 MPH.
Multiple-Lane Divided Highways
If you find yourself in or near an urban area, you might encounter a multiple or four-lane divided highway.
These busy roads have a speed limit of 65 MPH.
Safety Standards and Commercial Trucking
Tractor-trailers are oversized vehicles designed for industrial applications. As such, drivers need to account for any relevant factors they might otherwise ignore in a regular passenger vehicle.
Two important factors commercial drivers need to consider are their truck size and total weight. Commercial trucks can be up to 30 times the size and weight of a standard family vehicle, according to the Department of Transportation.
Truck accidents can be catastrophic, especially when speed limits are not followed. Failure to follow driver safety laws can result in dangerous accidents. If you’re a commercial driver who crosses state lines, it’s important you know the different speed limits of the jurisdictions you plan to drive through.
Road Hazards at High Speeds
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) says tractor-trailer drivers should never exceed speed limits.
In bad weather, the FMCSA’s most important suggestion for commercial drivers is to reduce speed limits by one-third on wet roads and by one-half in snow/ice.
Overall, commercial truck drivers should consider reducing their speed if they encounter any of the following hazards and conditions:
- Inclement weather (rain, ice, snow, hail)
- High traffic density
- Construction and work zones
- Dark roads
- Major intersections
- Uneven or gravel surfaces
- Pedestrian areas
- Entering and exiting ramps
- Sharp turns and road bends
- Up and down hills
Even if a trucker has driven down the same highway many times, hazards can appear at any moment. Responsible truck driving means reducing speeds whenever safety is a concern.
Commercial Truck Speed Safety Statistics
Traffic experts at the FMCSA published a study that analyzed speed-related accidents involving commercial trucks and determined the following:
- Approximately 40% of speed-related fatalities happen on curves
- Roughly 23% of commercial truck accidents happen when speeding is involved
- About 25% of all speeding-related crashes happen when trucks are in adverse weather
- Between 20% and 30% of all truck accidents occur on or near ramps, even though ramps make up less than 5% of travel time
- While traveling at high speeds, trucks with a full load are ten times more likely to lose control and roll over than ones with empty loads
If you drive a commercial truck, you should know that speed can play a major factor in accidents. Following speed limit laws can reduce accident statistics, especially in hazardous conditions.
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