Understand the Meaning of These Two Speed Signs
For your driver’s license or permit exam, you must be able to tell the difference between these two speed signs.
One is a regulatory speed limit sign. The other is an advisory (recommended) speed sign.
Remember the Basic Colors!
Black and white mean regulation, yellow means warning. Learn more about the basic colors on U.S. road signs: What are the Basic Colors
Regulatory speed limit signs are rectangular and have black letters and numerals on a white background.
Speed limit signs tell you the legal allowable limits. You may drive at this speed when conditions allow, but in most states you must not exceed the limit under any circumstances.
Montana is one state is an exception to this rule. In Montana, you may exceed the speed limit with 10 mph when passing another vehicle on a two-way road.
With the word minimum, a regulatory speed limit sign tells you that you must NOT drive slower than the speed indicated, unless conditions make it unsafe to drive at this speed. You are allowed to drive slower in poor weather conditions, but also in congested traffic.
A minimum speed limit is often posted on interstates, expressways, and freeways.
Advisory speed signs have black letters on a yellow background.
Advisory speed signs are often seen under a warning sign and are typically placed at sharp curves, exits, or exit ramps.
What You Should Know about the Advisory Speed Sign
Advisory speed signs tell you that conditions ahead may make it unsafe to drive at a faster speed. You should slow down to the recommended speed. In bad weather or heavy traffic, you should reduce speed even more.
In sharp curves on two-way roads with a limited view of the road ahead, you should slow and be careful not to cross the center line.
So, what is the difference? Well, an advisory speed sign is not enforced in the same way as a regulatory speed limit sign. You are less likely to get a ticket if you exceed an advisory speed.
You should, however, be aware that if you exceed the recommended speed and have an accident, that an officer may argue that you violated the basic speed law or general speed restriction and were driving too fast for conditions.
In such a situation, you could still be charged with a traffic violation and considered to be at fault for the accident.
The Reduced Speed Ahead Sign
You should also know this sign:
Remember, yellow means warning. Something is happening ahead.
When you see this sign, you be aware that the speed limit changes ahead. Usually, the speed limit ahead is being reduced by more than 10 mph.
It is a good idea to start slowing down when you drive past the sign. When you reach the black and white regulatory sign later on, you should have adjusted to the new speed.
From that point on, you must not drive faster than the new speed limit.
Check if you can answer these questions correctly:
Prepare for your DMV test by studying all road signs in your state’s driver’s manual and learn what they mean.
#1. This sign indicates:
Black and white signs show regulations you must obey. You must not drive faster than 50 mph.
#2. This sign shows:
The yellow advisory speed sign tells you the recommended safe speed for this exit.
#3. When you drive past this sign:
#4. What should you do when you see this sign?
Interactive DMV Questions for Your State
Want to learn more? Try our interactive practice tests. Available for all states.
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