2B-10 Speed Limit Sign (R2-1)

The Speed Limit sign shall display the limit established by law, or by regulation, after an engineering and traffic investigation has been made in accordance with established traffic engineering practices. The speed limits shown shall be in multiples of 5 miles per hour.

In order to determine the proper numerical value for a speed zone on the basis of an engineering and traffic investigation the following factors should be considered:

  1. Road surface characteristics, shoulder condition, grade, alignment and sight distance.
  2. The 85th percentile speed and pace speed.
  3. Roadside development and culture, and roadside friction.
  4. Safe speed for curves or hazardous locations within the zone.
  5. Parking practices and pedestrian activity.
  6. Reported accident experience for a recent 12-month period.

Two types of speed limit signs may be used: One to designate passenger car speeds including any nighttime information or minimum speed limit that might apply, and the other to show any special speed limits for buses and trucks. No more than three speed limits should be displayed on any one speed limit sign or assembly. Where a special speed limit applies to trucks or other vehicles, the legend TRUCKS 40, or such similar message as is appropriate, shall be shown below the standard message or on a separate plate (R2-2). When used independently, the Truck Speed sign should carry a reference to SPEED or MPH.

Minimum speeds shall be displayed only in combination with the posted speed limit.

Advisory Speed signs are treated elsewhere (MUTCD Section 2C-35).

The standard Speed Limit sign shall be 24 x 30 inches. On expressways the sign should be at least 36 x 48 inches, with 48 x 60 inches prescribed for use on freeways.

2B-11 Night Speed Sign (R2-3)

Where different speed limits are prescribed for day and night, both the limits shall be posted. This may be done in either of two ways:

  1. Immediately below the standard Speed Limit sign (R2-1) or combined with it, a Night Speed sign (R2-3) carrying the legend NIGHT 45 (or other suitable numerical limit) may be erected. In this case the numerals in the Night Speed sign and only the words SPEED LIMIT in the standard sign, should be reflectorized. As a special but logical exception to the general color scheme, the Night Speed sign should have its legend in white upon a black background.
  2. A changeable message sign may be used, so that only the appropriate regulation is visible at a given time. The sign may have interchangeable panels, or reflectorization of the nighttime speed superimposed over the unreflectorized numerals of the daytime speed, to permit only the nighttime speed to become legible in the beam of motor-vehicle headlamps at night.

2B-12 Minimum Speed Sign (R2-4)

Where an engineering and traffic investigation shows that slow speeds on a highway consistently impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic, signs may be used to post a minimum legal speed. Driving slower than the minimum limit is illegal except when necessary for safe operation or in compliance with the law. The minimum speed shall be displayed only in combination with the posted speed limit, and if desired, these two signs may be combined (R2-4a). The Minimum Speed sign shall have a standard, and minimum, size of 24 x 30 inches.

2B-13 Location of Speed Limit Sign

Speed Limit signs, indicating speed limits for which posting is required by law, shall be located at the points of change from one speed limit to another. These signs shall not be erected until the speed limits are approved and officially authorized.

At the end of the section to which a speed limit applies, a Speed Limit sign showing the next speed limit shall be erected. Additional signs shall be installed beyond major intersections and at other locations where it is necessary to remind motorists of the limit that is applicable. In school areas, the END SCHOOL ZONE sign may be used as an alternate to the Speed Limit Sign.

The Speed Zone Ahead sign may be used to give advance notice of a speed zone with a lower limit.

In rural districts on U.S. and other State numbered routes, Speed Limit signs indicating the statutory speed limits shall be erected at entrances to the State and at boundaries of metropolitan areas. A special oversize sign is often desirable at these locations.

2B-14 Sign for Reduced Speed Ahead (R2-5)

This sign should be used in rural areas to inform the motorist of a reduced speed zone when an advance notice is needed to comply with the speed limit posted ahead. The sign is not ordinarily needed in urban areas where speeds are relatively low.

This sign shall always be followed by a Speed Limit sign erected at the beginning of the zone where the altered speed limit applies.

This sign shall have a standard size of 24 x 30 inches. It shall, however, be of the same size as the Speed Limit sign at the beginning of the speed zone, shall be erected in the same manner, and shall display one of the three illustrated legends: