Speed limits and the laws that come with them are almost certainly not something that comes to mind when traveling to or through a stunning state with so much going on, such as South Carolina. However, it is unquestionably one of the most important things to learn and familiarize yourself with.

The local state traffic authority for South Carolina sets out specific guidelines that must be followed to avoid receiving a traffic ticket, license points, subsequent insurance increases, and even jail time, depending on the severity of the driving infringement.

If you are moving to South Carolina from another state, visiting or relocating from another state, or even country, simply driving through from neighbouring states such as North Carolina and Georgia, or into the state for work or personal purposes, knowing what the correct speed limits are in South Carolina is so immensely important.

Speed limits in South Carolina

Knowledge of the correct speed limits is not only about avoiding punishment, it is also about driving safely on the roads to prevent accidents with other motorists or pedestrians. Driving within the speed limit helps reduce the possibility of crashes and promotes efficient use of roads.

Traffic laws, including speed limits and other motor vehicle-related laws, are established by the South Carolina Department of Transportation. The state speed limits are defined by two different types of speed limits, basic speeding South Carolina law, and absolute speed limits.

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 basically 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 on a divided 60 mph road in South Carolina, during a dark and rainy evening, where road visibility is clearly compromised, and the road is slippery, you would be required to slow down your speed significantly less than the signed limit due to the weather and road conditions being considered dangerous. Failure to do could result in fines, license points, and even worse punishments.

Absolute South Carolina Speed Limits

The absolute speed limit in South Carolina is the speed limit you see signposted on roadways. If the weather conditions are good, and the roads are clear and safe to drive on, you may go at the maximum speed limit (signed limit). Surpassing it will likely cost you fines, and other penalties.

South Carolina does not have the highest speed limit in the United States, although it is certainly one of the highest. As a matter of fact, there are only 16 other states out of the 50 that possess a higher maximum speed limit than the Palmetto State. The maximum speed limit at which you can travel on specific roads in South Carolina is 70 mph.

Here are the different speed limits to look out for in South Carolina:

  • 30 mph is the speed limit in residential areas (always double-check the posted speed limit).
  • 55 mph is the maximum speed limit for undivided roads.
  • 60 mph is the maximum speed limit for divided roads.
  • The urban highway speed limit in South Carolina is 60 mph.
  • Rural highways in South Carolina are 70 mph.
  • What is the highest speed limit in South Carolina? Interstate highways and rural interstates in South Carolina are 70 mph, trucks that drive on an interstate highway must abide by the same speed limit of 70 mph (truck speed limit South Carolina).
  • Speed limits on certain highways may be reduced if construction is in progress, so be aware of the adjusted speed limit.

When driving through residential areas and not a state highway, something to be aware of is schools as they often have temporarily lowered speed limits and enforce these limits very strictly. You don’t want endanger others in these areas.

South Carolina Speed Limit Laws (Tickets and Points)

In South Carolina, the cost of the speeding ticket depends on where the speeding violation took place, in addition to how quickly you were going (how much you surpassed the signed speed limit), here are the different speeding fines:

  • Up to 10 mph over the limit = fines of $15 to $25.
  • More than 10 but less than 15 mph over the limit = fines of $20 to $50.
  • More than 15 but less than 25 mph over the limit = fines of $50 to $75.
  • More than 25 mph over the limit = fines of $75 to $200 or up to 30 days in jail (worst case scenario).

Similar to most other states, South Carolina invokes a fairly stringent point system, the state records each speeding violation you commit and adds it to your driving record. It is a simple system, committing too many violations will result in points being added to your license, too many points being added to your license will result in license suspension, and potentially even worse penalties.

Here is a table with the speeding violations and how many points you will receive on your license if you do not abide by the South Carolina speed limits.

South Carolina Speeding Ticket PointsTotal Points
Reckless driving6
Passing stopped school bus6
Hit-and-run involving property damage6
Speeding 1 - 10 mph over limit2
Speeding 11 - 24 mph over limit4
Speeding 25 + mph over limit6
Disobey traffic control device4
Disobey traffic officer4
Failing to yield right-of-way4
Driving on wrong side of road4
Unlawful passing4
Unlawful turning4
Changing lanes without signal2
Improper parking2
Following too closely4
Failing to dim lights2
Unsafe vehicle condition2
Endangerment of highway worker2
Injury of highway worker4

When visiting, vacationing, or even relocating to the beautiful state of South Carolina, it is understandable to have your mind focused on fun and awesome things to do and places to see. However, knowledge of the speed limit in South Carolina – 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.