Like the rest of The Empire State, my native Northern New York is quite conservative with speed limits on roadways. Interstates and other freeways top out at 65 MPH in New York, all other roads can’t be posted above 55 MPH. This is due to a “one size fits all” for the entire state, and because anything higher than 65 isn’t practical downstate, the relatively flat plains along the Great Lakes are treated the same way.
Here in Arizona, Interstates and other freeways top out at 75 MPH. Two lane roads top out at 65 MPH (in my experience thus far), though speed limits here in Pima County tend to be slower along non-state maintained highways.
Texas is a different matter. Two lane roads, even barely paved farm roads, top out at 70 MPH and the Interstates and other freeways are usually 75 or 80 MPH. One toll road in the state is posted as high as 85 MPH.
These more realistic speed limits, which match the intended design of the roadway, nudge drivers in the direction of respecting speed limits. In my limited experience during last week’s storm chasing trip, I didn’t see folks exceeding the speed limit all that often. In the Northeast of the U.S., the trend is the complete opposite, speed limits are often treated as a minimum or a suggestion and are downright ignored.
There’s a lot to question in the way government handles thing in Texas, but I really feel like TxDOT handles speed limits brilliantly. I know more states west of the Mississippi take the same approach. As a person that leans on personal responsibility more than nanny state tactics, posting a realistic speed limit encourages better behavior from motorists.
And for me, that makes driving more pleasant.