North Carolina Speed Limit
What is the North Carolina speed limit?
North Carolina traffic laws define the maximum speed that any motorist travelling on North Carolina roadways can legally drive. Driving over the North Carolina speed limit can result in a traffic citation, fine, license suspension, or even arrest.
North Carolina the speed limit in business districts is 35mph. It is illegal to go below 45mph in areas with a posted speed limit of 60mph or more when driving a passenger vehicle. The same goes for driving below 40mph in zones marked 55mph. This does not apply to vehicles that are towing another vehicle.
There are a total of 16 states with higher maximum speed limits than North Carolina.
North Carolina Speed Limit - Rural Freeways
The maximum speed limit on rural freeways and interstates in North Carolina is 70 miles per hour. "Rural freeways" are the sections of major highways that passing through rural and sparsely populated areas, and can safely allow faster driving. Rural highways will generally have the highest legal speed limits in North Carolina.
North Carolina Speed Limit - Urban Freeways
The maximum speed limit on urban freeways and interstates in North Carolina is 65 miles per hour. "Urban freeways" are the segments of large highways that are located within a city or densely populated area's limits, and are generally more prone to traffic congestion and other hazards.
In most cases, the freeway's speed limit will return to the rural freeway speed limit of 70 mph after the road passes through the most densely populated area.
North Carolina Speed Limit - Divided Roads
The maximum speed limit on divided roads in North Carolina is 60 miles per hour. Divided roads must have a concrete median or buffer zone separating opposite lanes, and may have one or more lanes going in the same direction.
Because the median helps protect drivers from head-on collisions, North Carolina has a higher maximum speed limit for divided roads than undivided roads.
North Carolina Speed Limit - Undivided Roads
The maximum speed limit on rural undivided roads roads in North Carolina is 55 miles per hour. This category includes most small backroads and local routes.
When these routes pass through a residential or heavily-trafficked area, the speed limit will usually drop to 35 mph or below.
North Carolina Speed Limit - Residential Areas
The maximum speed limit on residential roads in North Carolina is 35 miles per hour. Residential roads have the most potential for speed-based accidents and collisions, so residential districts tend to have the lowest speed limits with the most strict enforcement policies.
When driving in residential areas be on the lookout for school, hospital, and construction zones. These areas often have even lower speed limits, with strict enforcement and heavy fines for speeding.
North Carolina Speeding Tickets and Citations
Driving over the posted speed limit, driving too fast for conditions, or failing to obey special speed limit zones can result in a North Carolina speeding ticket, points on your license, and even a license suspension or revocation for repeat offenders.
North Carolina highway patrol officers monitor traffic using radar, speed traps, and cameras. Radar technology is not exact, and as a general rule an officer will not pull you over for exceeding the speed limit by less than 5 mph (75 mph on a rural freeway, or 60 mph on an rural undivided road). However, any speeds in excess of the posted speed limits can be considered a ticketable offence.