Planning a trip to North Carolina? Maybe you are even organizing a move to the state or have only just relocated?

There are many things to look forward to when you are in the Tar Heel State, including expansive, golden beaches, glorious landscapes spanning across the state, beautiful lush forests, and national parks.

There is much to consider if you have just moved to North Carolina or are planning a trip there, but one of the things you absolutely need to be aware of is the North Carolina speed limit and that various speeds you can travel on different roads in North Carolina.

If you are a driver, planning on becoming a driver, or, are preparing to drive whilst visiting the state, knowledge of the different speed limits in North Carolina is especially important, whether in the cities, on the highways, or in any of the rural communities. That is because speeding in North Carolina, like most places in the US, can attract some hefty penalties and fines, and you don’t want to receive a speeding ticket in North Carolina as it can lead to having your license suspended due to an accumulation of points!

North Carolina Speed Limit

Knowing the correct North Carolina speed limit is not only about avoiding punishment. It is also about driving safely on the roads to prevent accidents. Driving within the speed limit helps reduce the possibility of crashes and promotes efficient use of the road.

In North Carolina, legislation is put in place to govern the safe use of the roads. Speed limits on highways, for example, are established by the North Carolina Department of Transportation. The different limits indicate the fastest speeds you are legally allowed to drive when the conditions are good – that is when driving in fair weather and with good visibility.




Of course, a specific North Carolina speed limit does not necessarily mean you have to drive at that exact pace all the time. You still need to assess the road conditions and surrounding environment to determine the best speed at which to drive (that is also within the stipulated limit).

Different speed limits are implemented based on several factors, including population density and type of road. For each community and highway, the speed limits are often posted on prominent signs along the roadway.

What are the different speed limits in North Carolina?

Speed limits in North Carolina range from a low of 35 mph to a maximum of 70 mph, depending on the type of area and zone you are in, or the vehicle you are driving. Here is a breakdown:

  • Incorporated municipalities are a maximum of 35 mph unless clearly stated otherwise.
  • School buses cannot surpass 45 mph when driving to and from a school with students on the bus.
  • Rural areas have a maximum speed limit of 55 mph unless signposted or clearly stated otherwise.
  • Some highways have a max speed limit of 70 mph, however, the speed limit along certain routes will decrease to 55 mph (be aware).
  • Other roads and highways (including those with no indicated speed limits) are generally 55 mph.

In addition, a 55 mph speed limit in North Carolina is enforced on some state highways and roadways where the physical environment demands a slower speed.

With these different speed limits implemented in North Carolina, it is important to pay attention to road signs. The last thing you want is to be slapped with a huge fine as a result of exceeding the speed limits in North Carolina.

Just in case you were wondering, a North Carolina speeding ticket will tend to be $50 or less, however, it can be as high as $250 if you are caught speeding in a marked zone or school zone. If you are driving above 10 mph over the limit anywhere in North Carolina, you will likely face punishment for speeding. However, for speeding violations under 10 mph, you may only receive a warning, although it is not worth the risk.

Moreover, being fined for exceeding North Carolina speed limits is just one way you may be punished. You can have up to four points on your license, in addition to an increase in your insurance premium.

When visiting or relocating your family to North Carolina, it is normal to think of all the funs things you can do. Knowledge of the speed limits in North Carolina – and adhering to them – will ensure your time is well spent and minimize the chance of you being fined.