Street Survival - Advanced Defensive Driving

🛈 Statistics on speed (WHO)

  • An increase in average speed is directly related both to the likelihood of a crash occurring and to the severity of the consequences of the crash. For example, every 1% increase in mean speed produces a 4% increase in the fatal crash risk and a 3% increase in the serious crash risk.

  • The death risk for pedestrians hit by car fronts rises rapidly (4.5 times from 50 km/h to 65 km/h).

  • In car-to-car side impacts the fatality risk for car occupants is 85% at 65 km/h.

This topic of speed is divided into the sub-sections below:

🛈 General speed recommendations

Here is a list of recommended driving speeds under various driving conditions, including weather, road types, locations, and terrain. These are general recommendations and can vary based on local laws and regulations.

Weather Conditions

  • Clear and Dry Conditions: Follow posted speed limits.

  • Rain: Reduce speed by 5-10 mph (8-16 kph) below the posted speed limit.

  • Snow/Ice: Reduce speed by at least 10-20 mph (16-32 kph) below the posted speed limit, or more depending on the severity.

  • Fog: Reduce speed significantly, usually to less than 30 mph (48 kph), and use low-beam headlights.

  • Strong Winds: Reduce speed to maintain control of the vehicle, especially on open roads.

Road Types

  • Highways/Interstates: Clear and dry: 55-75 mph (80-120 kph) (follow posted speed limits). Adverse conditions: Reduce speed by 10-20 mph (16-32 kph).

  • Urban Roads: Clear and dry: 25-35 mph (40-56 kph). Adverse conditions: Reduce speed by 5-10 mph (8-16 kph).

  • Rural Roads: Clear and dry: 45-55 mph (72-88 kph). Adverse conditions: Reduce speed by 10-15 mph (16-24 kph).

  • Residential Areas: Clear and dry: 20-25 mph (32-40 kph). Adverse conditions: Reduce speed to 15-20 mph (24-32 kph).


  • School Zones: Typically 15-25 mph (24-40 kph) during school hours or when children are present.

  • Construction Zones: Usually 10-20 mph (16-32 kph) below the normal speed limit, often posted with specific limits.

  • Pedestrian Areas: Reduce speed to 15-20 mph (24-32 kph) to ensure safety.


  • Flat and Straight Roads: Clear and dry: Follow posted speed limits. Adverse conditions: Reduce speed based on visibility and road surface.

  • Hilly or Mountainous Roads: Clear and dry: 35-45 mph (56-72 kph), but may vary significantly. Adverse conditions: Reduce speed significantly, often 20-30 mph (32-48 kph) or less.

  • Curvy or Winding Roads: Clear and dry: 30-45 mph (48-72 kph), depending on the sharpness of curves. Adverse conditions: Reduce speed to 20-30 mph (32-48 kph) or less.

  • Gravel or Dirt Roads: Clear and dry: 25-35 mph (40-56 kph). Adverse conditions: Reduce speed to 15-25 mph (24-40 kph) or less.

Additional Tips

  • Always adjust your speed based on visibility, traffic density, and road surface conditions.

  • Use extra caution at night, and reduce speed to compensate for lower visibility.

  • In any adverse condition, maintaining a greater following distance is essential.

  • Always adhere to local speed limits and traffic laws, which may specify different limits for specific conditions.

These recommendations are general guidelines and should be adjusted based on specific conditions and local regulations. Always prioritize safety and adjust your speed accordingly.

☠️ Dangers of high speed on the roads

High speed on the roads can pose several dangers to both drivers and pedestrians, including:

  • Reduced reaction time: High speeds can reduce the time that drivers have to react to changing road conditions, obstacles, or other vehicles. This can increase the risk of accidents.

  • Increased stopping distance: High speeds require longer stopping distances, which can make it more difficult for drivers to stop their vehicles in time to avoid collisions.

  • Loss of control: High speeds can make it difficult for drivers to maintain control of their vehicles, particularly in inclement weather or on slick roads.

  • Increased severity of accidents: The higher the speed of a vehicle, the greater the force of impact in the event of an accident. This can increase the severity of injuries or fatalities to both drivers and passengers.

  • Higher risk of rollovers: High speeds can increase the risk of rollovers, particularly in vehicles with a high center of gravity such as SUVs or trucks.

  • Increased risk to pedestrians: Pedestrians are at higher risk of injury or death in collisions with high-speed vehicles, as the force of impact can be much greater.

  • Legal consequences: Driving at high speeds can result in legal consequences, including fines, license suspension or revocation, and even imprisonment in extreme cases.

It's important for drivers to follow posted speed limits and adjust their speed based on road conditions, weather, and traffic. Excessive speed can not only put the driver and passengers at risk, but also other drivers and pedestrians on the road.

? Aside from any speed limits, what is the safest speed to travel on a road?

While not in a position to advise breaking the law, the best speed to travel is in sync with the rest of the traffic flow. Traveling slower than the surrounding traffic, especially if there is a large speed differential, is a danger to other road users.

If there is no other traffic to worry about, you may want to travel slower than normal to conserve fuel.

? How to determine safe driving speed?

Determining a safe driving speed involves considering various factors, including road conditions, weather, traffic, vehicle condition, and legal speed limits. Here are the key steps to determine a safe driving speed:

1. Check Speed Limits

  • Posted Speed Limits: Always adhere to posted speed limits as they are set based on road design, traffic flow, and safety studies.

  • Adjust for Specific Zones: Pay attention to lower speed limits in school zones, residential areas, and construction zones.

2. Assess Road Conditions

  • Road Surface: On wet, icy, or gravel roads, reduce speed significantly to maintain control.

  • Curves and Hills: Slow down when approaching curves and hills, as they can reduce visibility and control.

3. Evaluate Weather Conditions

  • Rain: Reduce speed by 5-10 mph to prevent hydroplaning.

  • Snow/Ice: Reduce speed by at least 10-20 mph, or more, depending on severity.

  • Fog: Drive at a speed that allows you to stop within your visible distance, typically under 30 mph.

  • Wind: Reduce speed to maintain control, especially on open roads and bridges.

4. Consider Traffic Conditions

  • Flow of Traffic: Match your speed to the flow of traffic, provided it’s within the legal limit.

  • Density: In heavy traffic, reduce speed to allow for sudden stops and changes in traffic flow.

  • Aggressive Drivers: Allow aggressive drivers to pass by maintaining a consistent, safe speed.

5. Monitor Visibility

  • Day vs. Night: Reduce speed at night due to decreased visibility.

  • Obstructions: Slow down near obstructions that limit visibility, like large trucks, parked cars, or road work.

6. Vehicle Condition

  • Brakes and Tires: Ensure brakes and tires are in good condition for effective stopping and control.

  • Load: If carrying heavy loads, reduce speed to accommodate longer stopping distances.

7. Use Defensive Driving Techniques

  • Following Distance: Maintain a safe following distance (at least three seconds behind the car in front, more in adverse conditions).

  • Scanning: Continuously scan the road ahead for potential hazards and adjust your speed accordingly.

  • Reaction Time: Drive at a speed that allows you to react to sudden changes, such as a child running into the road or a car braking suddenly.

8. Understand Legal and Practical Guidelines

  • State or Local Regulations: Some areas have specific speed regulations for different conditions; know and follow these rules.

  • Advisory Speeds: Follow advisory speed signs, which indicate safe speeds for specific conditions, such as sharp curves.

Practical Steps for Determining Safe Speed:

  • Start with the posted speed limit: Adjust based on the conditions described above.

  • Observe other drivers: If they are consistently driving slower, there might be a reason.

  • Trust your instincts and experience: If you feel unsafe at a given speed, reduce it until you feel comfortable.

  • Use Technology: Modern cars often have systems like adaptive cruise control that help maintain safe speeds in varying traffic conditions.


  • Legal Limits: Follow them strictly.

  • Road and Weather Conditions: Adjust speed to suit conditions.

  • Traffic: Match the flow but stay within legal limits.

  • Visibility: Reduce speed if visibility is poor.

  • Vehicle Condition: Ensure your vehicle is capable of handling the speed safely.

By considering these factors and using common sense, you can determine a safe driving speed that ensures your safety and the safety of others on the road.

? How to check road speed limit?

To check the speed limit on a road, you can use the following methods:

  • Road Signs: Look for speed limit signs posted along the road. These signs typically indicate the maximum speed allowed in that particular area. They are usually rectangular with black numbers on a white background.

  • Navigation Systems: Many GPS navigation systems, mobile apps, or in-car navigation systems include speed limit information. Ensure that your navigation system is updated and configured to display speed limits. However, it's always a good idea to verify the displayed speed limit with road signs, as there may be discrepancies or changes not reflected in the navigation system.

  • Mobile Apps and Websites: There are various mobile apps and websites that provide speed limit information for specific areas. These apps use GPS data to determine your location and display the corresponding speed limit. Examples of such apps include Waze, Google Maps, or dedicated speed limit apps. Keep in mind that the accuracy of these apps can vary, so it's advisable to cross-reference the information with road signs.

  • Local Traffic Authority or Law Enforcement: You can contact the local traffic authority or law enforcement agency responsible for the area to inquire about the speed limits on specific roads. They will have the most accurate and up-to-date information regarding speed limits in their jurisdiction.

Remember, it is important to adhere to the posted speed limits and drive at a speed that is safe and appropriate for the road conditions, even if the posted limit allows for a higher speed.

? What highway speed is most fuel efficient?

The most fuel-efficient speed on highways typically varies depending on the specific vehicle and its fuel efficiency characteristics. However, as a general guideline, most vehicles tend to achieve their optimal fuel efficiency at speeds between 50 and 60 miles per hour (80 to 97 kilometers per hour).

When you drive within this range, your vehicle can operate at a lower RPM (revolutions per minute), resulting in reduced fuel consumption. Going faster than this range can increase wind resistance and engine strain, leading to decreased fuel efficiency.

It's important to note that modern vehicles are designed to have relatively efficient fuel consumption across a range of speeds. Additionally, factors such as vehicle type, engine size, aerodynamics, road conditions, and individual driving habits can influence fuel efficiency. Therefore, it's recommended to consult your vehicle's owner's manual or consult with the manufacturer to obtain specific information regarding the most fuel-efficient speed for your particular vehicle.

? How to determine speed when the speedometer is not working?

If your speedometer is not working, there are a few alternative methods you can use to estimate your speed while driving:

  • Use a GPS Device or Mobile App: A GPS device or a GPS-enabled mobile app can provide you with an accurate estimate of your current speed. These devices use satellite signals to determine your location and calculate your speed in real-time. Ensure that the GPS device or app you are using is properly set up and functioning correctly.

  • Use a Speedometer App: There are numerous smartphone apps available that can turn your phone into a digital speedometer. These apps use the phone's GPS functionality to measure your speed and display it on the screen. Make sure to download a reliable speedometer app from a trusted source.

  • Use Mile Markers or Road Signs: On highways or roads with mile markers, you can estimate your speed by noting the time it takes to travel between two consecutive markers. By knowing the distance between the markers and calculating the time taken, you can get a rough estimate of your speed. Similarly, if you pass road signs that indicate the distance to the next town or exit, you can calculate your speed based on the time it takes to cover that distance.

It's important to remember that these methods may not provide the same level of accuracy as a functioning speedometer. Therefore, it's recommended to get your speedometer repaired or replaced as soon as possible to ensure you have an accurate reading of your speed while driving.

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Street Survival - Advanced Defensive Driving