What does 'speed limit' mean? What does 'speed limit' mean?

  • A. The recommended speed for that road

  • B. The fastest speed for that road in good conditions

  • C. The minimum speed for that road in good conditions

  • D. The fastest speed except for when you are overtaking another vehicle

    The correct answer is B
    The speed limit is the maximum speed you should drive assuming the conditions are good. If conditions are bad, then you must slow down to a safe speed.

What is a speed limit?

The speed limit is enforced by police and transport agencies with a small tolerance given to allow for variances in speedometer accuracy and to allow drivers some leeway if they temporarily drift up over the limit by a few kilometres per hour.

The usual leeway is 10kph, although this often reduces on holiday weekends to 4kph.

There is a difference between speed limits and suggested speeds, which you can find here.

In New Zealand the maximum speed is 100kph on motorways and where the national speed limit applies. The urban limit is 50kph. Speed limits are in increments of 10kph, e.g. 10, 20, 30, 40, etc, and are indicated by a red circle with a number in it. Occasionally you will see 15 in publicly accessible areas administered by government agencies such as DOC and you can see 5kph speed limits on private property such as company car parks (these are not enforced by Police).

Penalties for exceeding the speed limit get more severe as your speed increases. If you are caught doing more than 40kph over a posted permanent limit then you will be disqualified from driving for 28 days. Fines start at $30 for exceeding the speed limit by less than 10kph through to $630 for exceeding it by speeds up to 50kph.

Excuses for exceeding the speed limit

Police are unlikely to excuse you for breaking the speed limit. However, there have been cases where this has happened, for example when rushing a mother to hospital who is about to give birth.

Police have heard every excuse under the sun. Excuses that don't work are:

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