What is the practical highway speed limit in Florida? (and in other states)

I caught an Uber from Jupiter to PBI the other morning. My Colombiana driver (I did not actually ask for this driver’s gender ID; should it be Colombianx?) blasted down the left lane of I-95 at 90 mph.

(Was this unsafe in a subcompact Honda C-HR? Certainly not! We were both wearing masks.)

I assume that an Uber driver knows the real-world speed limit and therefore that 90 mph is slower than speeding ticket territory. That raises the question: how fast would one have to drive on the straight perfectly smooth highways of Florida to be pulled over?

Based on what I have seen, traveling at 80-85 is a 75th percentile speed on I-95 in South Florida or on Florida’s Turnpike towards Orlando. Back in Massachusetts, I would say that the real-world limit is 80 mph (i.e., that one is likely to get a ticket driving above 80; note that Maskachusetts highway standards are lower than in Florida, where everything is newer and can be done to the latest highway engineering textbook standards).

Readers; What’s the real speed limit in your state?

14 thoughts on “What is the practical highway speed limit in Florida? (and in other states)

  1. I have forgotten (did I ever know?) the relationship between speed and damage severity though I suspect that there may be a square in the relationship somewhere (!). Whatever it is, I think I would command my Uber driver to slow down to not much (if anything) over 70 mph at most in the interests of survival in the event of a blowout or other type of crash.

    What is your response to that, I wonder.

    • Bernie: Energy in the vehicle goes up as the velocity squared, just as you write. Although I was somewhat alarmed at the 90 mph speed relative to the design characteristics of the subcompact SUV, I didn’t say anything about her speed because my track record with respect to telling others what to do is extremely poor. I left her a 5-star review and a 30% tip because I was grateful that she was working at 5:00 am when I needed to go to the airport. As discussed elsewhere on this blog, there are plenty of other ways for residents of the U.S. to get food, shelter, health care, etc. besides working.

  2. Philip’s and my late father dreaded being in cars at high speeds. P’s sister here inherited Dad’s aversion to speed demons. My father advised me to tell the taxi driver (Dad never used Uber app in his lifetime, 1930-2021) that I’m feeling carsick and that I may vomit, which invariably motivated the driver to take his/her foot off the accelerator. Our late father mostly used this technique in Europe, in Italy and Spain more than northern Europe. I attempted to use this method in Cairo, Egypt, but the drivers rarely paid attention.

  3. In MA/CT near where I live, the effective speed limit seems to be determined by: 1) Enforcement of the 65 MPH speed limit 2) The prevailing speed that people driving their passenger cars feel comfortable maintaining.

    On I-84 inbound/outbound Hartford, that speed is usually 75-80 MPH. Most drivers eschew the leftmost lane and allow people traveling a few MPH faster to get by, sometimes they move over, but it’s not guaranteed. Once in a while you get very thrilled people who are pushing 100 MPH or more, weaving around. As long as they’re in control of their projectiles, for the most part it’s not a problem. There are big semiarticulated trailer trucks on this 3-lane (each direction) highway.

    When the State Police are enforcing the 65 MPH limit, there is a rubbernecking phenomenon as people approach the speed traps and slow down, then speed back up.

    I drive at the speed I feel comfortable with given the conditions. I have almost new, good tires on my car and I have done 75 in the rain on a number of occasions with no trouble. The problem is *wind* – if it’s gusty, I have to slow down because my Ford Escape Hybrid has a lot of “slab” area that catches the wind.

    The biggest problems we have with speed in my area are people on the weekends tooling down the main 2-lane road through *town* in excess of 60 MPH on a road marked for 35. The police have amped up their enforcement efforts and now have radar signs that blink and flash and tell people to “SLOW DOWN” which have been marginally effective.

    Bottom line: speed is a combination of 1) enforcement pressure 2) peer pressure and 3) driver comfort with whatever speed they feel competent driving their vehicle at.

    The Tesla drivers go the fastest, followed by the Mercedes drivers.

    Your Uber driver was being unsafe at 90. The car may go that fast, but a subcompact like that will wad itself into mess if you have a problem. You should have told him to slow down.

    • Back in 1986, my father took a contract gig from an IBM mainframe Partner/Vendor that he knew, traveling to Puerto Rico to expand an IBM 4331 ( https://www.ibm.com/ibm/history/exhibits/mainframe/mainframe_PP4331.html ) from 8MB to its maximum 16 MB of main memory. He installed the memory, configured the system, tested and certified it, and was there for about 10 hours total. He was paid $750 plus the airfare and expenses, in and out, and the memory was worth about $25 grand at the time.

      He remembers the year distinctly because “Down and Out in Beverly Hills” starring Bette Midler and Nick Nolte, et. al. was the movie on the plane. The 4331 was located at the Roosevelt Roads Naval Station and owned by the U.S. Navy.


      He was ferried back and forth to Roosevelt Roads from San Juan (Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport, SJU) in a taxicab. We met him at the airport in Jersey when he got back with big hugs, and out to a late dinner. He said: “Jesus the taxicab drivers in Puerto Rico are nuts. We were doing 70 or 80 on the bumper-to-bumper traffic highway into Roosevelt Roads and the driver drank a six pack of beer in less than 20 minutes, tossing the beer cans out the window. Someone could make a million dollars just picking up the beer cans off the side of the road from San Juan to Roosevelt Roads.”

      He asked the driver to stay parked at the base while he installed the memory and told him he’d make it worth his time. On his safe return to San Juan, he tipped the driver a $100 bill in addition to the cab fee, which were paid by the company that maintained the machine for the Navy. After all, the guy waited a long time! That’s customer service!

      The tires, suspension and *safety systems* of modern cars are much better, as you know. So your driver feels comfortable at 90. We know what happens when people feel safe, they take bigger risks, in this case risks that increase with the square of the velocity.

    • BTW I once had a cab driver in Chicago who was Nigerian and took me on a 10 mile trip that was so dangerous I was really frightened, even though I have a high tolerance for speed. He was just being positively dangerous on side streets, passing people getting into and opening their car doors at 60 or 70 miles per hour.

      When we got to the destination, I said: “I’m not paying you. That was the most dangerous thing I’ve ever seen anyone do in my life. And I’m calling your cab company and telling them what a reckless and dangerous driver you are.”

      “I’ll kill you right now you m*********er!” And he started banging on the seat.

      I got out of the cab and ran into the building and told the security guard: “If that guy comes in here, shoot him.”

  4. So american of you to be shocked by driving 90, which would be considered rather normal motorway speed most anywhere else. Even Finland, or Sweden, the land of people who religiously follow rules, has a normal speed closer to 85, rather than (summer) official of 75. The summer limit is about the winter normal (officially 60). Need I mention the near constant ice/snow on the driving surface?

    Elsewhere, anyone driving slower than 80/85 is probably just saving fuel.

    • Sure seems that way at times. But when the freeways are moving you’d better be going 80 or risk road rage…mostly from women in giant Escalades.

  5. In the “state” of NYC it’s 35 (25+10 mph buffer) on all non-highways whether on an empty 6 lane boulevard at 3am or a midtown street at rush hour since hundreds (thousands?) of speed cameras have been put up everywhere. Initially only near schools during school days, the powers that be want to watch 24/7 everywhere. Our goofus lame duck mayor claims it’s not for the revenue generation but “for the children”. No cameras on our highways yet but when there’s a rare speed trap (which is usually easy to see) it’s speed limit+9 or 59 since they won’t go after you for that first level of ticket. Otherwise when the highways are empty a reasonable 60-70mph is most common.

  6. YouTube has hours of car crashes captured on dash cams. From watching some, it’s clear any sharp evasive action at 90mph will likely roll the car multiple times. Perhaps not fatal, but certainly a hospital stay.

    (In Mexico my wife and I got into a cab and instinctively reached for the seat belts, noticeably alarmed when they weren’t there. “Oh don’t worry” the driver said. “the police never check!”.)

  7. Here in Hongcouver, Canada, the left lane on the highway is usually moving between 100 kph and 115 kph, with the limit at 90 kph. The exceptions are Lamborghini and etc, with N stickers (identify a new driver) moving at 200 kph+.

    What is this mph? Why is the US still using the Queens Imperial Units? Is the US still a British Colony?

    Here is what happens to a car hitting a wall at 193 kph

    • a note to readers: Pavel is a foreigner who has admitted to tampering with our elections. Now he wants us to use the metric system!!!! When will the menace from the north stop?

    • Toucan Sam, since Harris has been such a failure at helping Canada take over the White House, we have had to devise a new dastardly plan!

      Step 1: Ivanka Trump 2024, Canadian spies have to get Ivanka Trump to be the GOP presidential candidates in 2024. We already have plans to take over Facebook to make this happen.

      Step 2: During the election campaign, we get Justin Trudeau to seduce Ivanka Trump, this should be easy,


      Step 3: Ivanka Trump gets elected in 2024 and Justin Trudeau takes one for Team Canada and becomes the first boyfriend and then Team Canada will control the White House!

      Cue the evil laugh………….

Comments are closed.