Speed limits are certainly one of, if not the last thing to enter your mind when traveling to the beautiful state of New Hampshire. However, the state’s traffic authority sets out clear guidelines that must be adhered to in order to avoid receiving a traffic ticket, points on your license, subsequent insurance increases, and even jail time!

If you are moving to the Granite State, simply just visiting from another state or country, or even driving through the state or commuting through, having the right knowledge of the correct speed limits in New Hampshire is so crucial information to have and follow.

What are the speed limits in New Hampshire?

Knowing the correct speed limits is not only about avoiding potential punishment. It is also about driving safely on the roads to prevent accidents with another motorist or passersby from happening. Driving within the speed limit helps reduce the possibility of crashes, promotes efficient use of the road, and saves you from fines and potential license suspension.

Traffic laws, including speed limits and other motor vehicle-related laws, are established by the New Hampshire Department of Transportation. Unlike the majority of other states, New Hampshire follows the “basic speeding law”, and the “presumed speed limits”, although the basic speeding law is common practice in most states, the presumed speed limits are pretty unique to New Hampshire.

The basic speeding law prohibits driving “at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the conditions and having regard to the actual hazards then existing”. This quote means that motorists must always drive at a safe speed for the conditions and environment they are driving in.

For example, if you were driving down a 30 mph road in New Hampshire, on a dark and rainy winter night, where the road conditions are clearly not ideal for driving, you will be required to slow down your speed to significantly less than the signed limit of 30 mph. This is due to the weather and road conditions being considered dangerous, and if you were caught driving at the signed limit of 30 mph, you will likely receive a fine, and potentially even worse consequences.

Speed Limit in New Hampshire

As mentioned previously, as most states have “absolute speed limits”, which is a simple concept, what you see is what you get – if you drive faster than the signed speed limit, you will have violated the law. New Hampshire, however, opts for “presumed speed limits”.

If you exceed a presumed speed limit, or “per se” speed limit, you haven’t necessarily breached the law, and you may not be considered guilty. You will have the opportunity to prove in court that the speed you were driving was safe, and if you are able to, the judge will find you not guilty.

This incredibly unique speeding law would mean that if a police officer clocked you at a speed under the presumed limit, there is a presumption that you have not violated New Hampshire’s basic speeding law. So, unless posted otherwise, here are the New Hampshire presumed speed limits:

  • 30 mph is the speed limit in residential areas (always double-check the posted speed limit).
  • The school, hospital, and construction zones all have lower speed limits than anywhere else in the state, so, keep a lookout for the signed limit when entering these areas.
  • 55 mph is the maximum speed limit for undivided roads.
  • 55 mph is the maximum speed limit for divided roads.
  • The urban highway speed limit in New Hampshire is 55 mph.
  • Rural highways in New Hampshire are 70 mph.
  • What is the highest speed limit in New Hampshire? Interstate highways and rural interstates in New Hampshire are 70 mph, trucks that drive on an interstate highway must abide by the limit of 70 mph too (New Hampshire truck speed limit).

Speed Limits in New Hampshire

Violating New Hampshire’s basic speeding law will cost you a fine of $62 for the first offense, and $124 for the second offense. If you as the driver cannot prove that the speed was safe when driving under the presumed speed limit, the following penalties will apply:

Exceeding a presumed limit that is 55 mph or less:

  • 1 – 10 mph over the limit = $62.
  • 11 – 15 mph over the limit = $93.
  • 16 – 20 mph over the limit = $124.
  • 21 – 25 miles per hour over the limit = $248.
  • 26 mph or more over the limit = $434.

Exceeding a 65 mph presumed limit:

  • 1 to 5 mph over the limit = $80.60.
  • 6 to 10 mph over the limit = $124.
  • 11 to 15 mph over the limit = $186.
  • 16 to 20 mph over the limit = $310.
  • 21 mph or more over the limit = $434.

Exceeding a 70 mph presumed limit:

  • 1 to 5 mph over the limit = $80.60.
  • 6 to 10 mph over the limit = $124.
  • 11 to 15 mph over the limit = $248.
  • 16 to 20 mph over the limit = $372.
  • 21 mph or more over the limit = $496.

If you commit a speeding violation in New Hampshire, you should expect at least 3 points to be added to your driving license and subsequent record, accumulation of too many points can and will lead to license suspension. Here are all of the speeding and driving violations that will result in points being added to your license in New Hampshire:

New Hampshire Speeding Ticket PointsTotal Points
No registration in possession1
Failure to obtain resident license1
No registration2
Failure to display license2
License restriction violation2
Improper license class2
Operating motorcycle without license2
Disobey police officer2
Littering2
Disobey traffic control device3
Wrong way on one-way street or roundabout3
Following too closely3
Driving on sidewalk3
Failure yield right-of-way3
Failure to yield to emergency vehicles3
Failure to use due care3
Failure to signal for turn3
Railroad crossing violation3
Speeding less than 25 mph over limit3
Coasting3
Carrying passengers in truck bed3
Driving without a license4
Improper passing4
Speeding more than 25 mph over limit4
No insurance4
Negligent driving4
Vehicular homicide, assault, or manslaughter6
Driving while suspended6
Joyriding6
Racing6
Reckless driving6
Driving under the influence6
Driving while in possession of drugs6

When visiting, passing through, or relocating your family to the state of New Hampshire, it is understandable to have your mind focused on fun things to do. Although, knowing what is the speed limit in New Hampshire is – and adhering to the signed limits – will ensure your time is well spent and minimize the chance of you being fined or getting into an accident.