If you’ve recently moved to Texas or are planning on doing so at some point in the next few months, consider yourself in excellent company.
With a population of nearly 27 million, based on the latest census data, Texas is the second-most populous state in the country, behind only California at 38 million. Much of the Lone Star State’s influx of residents took place this past year, as it was the most-inbound state in the country, according to estimates from moving services company Allied Van Lines. Texas’ net gain of close to 2,000 additional families makes it 10 years in a row that it has been the most inbound state in the continental U.S.
In addition to the state’s geographical size and population, there’s a lot of truth to the old saying that everything is bigger in Texas. After all, there aren’t many places in America that have three cities with over a million people, those being Houston, San Antonio, and Dallas. Austin, Fort Worth, and El Paso are no slouches either, with at least a half-million residents in each.
But there’s something else that’s pretty unique about Texas – the speed limit. As noted by the Texas Department of Transportation, the law sets the maximum speed in Texas at 70 miles per hour. At the same time, though, legislators are able to increase the speed limit to 75 mph or as high as 85 mph if that speed is deemed “safe and reasonable after a traffic or engineering study.”
You may recall a few years ago in San Antonio, a 41-mile stretch of road opened up for motorists’ use to help cut down on traffic tie-ups on the always-busy Interstate 35. Texas DOT determined that 85 mph hour was a safe speed at which to travel, mainly because of how open the area is.
Chris Lippincott, spokesman for the company that built the toll road, told FoxNews.com at the time that while traveling at 85 mph is legal, “drivers retain the ultimate responsibility for safety.”
4 states with 80 mph speed limits or higher
Not including Texas, there are only three states where the maximum speed limit is 80 mph, those being Idaho, Wyoming, and Utah, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. At 85 mph, Texas has the highest speed limit in the country. The maximum limit in the rest of the U.S. is 70 mph and 75 mph.
Though you may be able to legally drive faster in Texas than other parts of the country, it’s important to remember that road conditions ultimately determine what speed you should actually be going, such as if there’s inclement weather, volume levels are high, or road work is going on. Every year, speeding is a leading contributor to highway-related fatalities, averaging between 10,000 and 14,000 deaths annually over the past decade, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
As you transition to your new Texas digs and adjust to the higher speed limit, make sure that your full attention is on the traffic around you and the road ahead of you. Your safety depends on it.