Can You Go 5 Miles Over The Speed Limit?

Friday, January 26, 2024

Can You Go 5 Miles Over The Speed Limit?

Written by Malman Law, reviewed by Steve J. Malman.

When driving somewhere in a hurry, it is common to reason with the speed limit and justify going a little bit faster. After all, what could be the harm in driving just five miles over the legal limit? Most people will do this anyway, right? While it might seem like no big deal to drive over the speed limit, the limit is set in place for a reason.

Whether you are on a city street or on a major interstate, speeding is a dangerous behavior that can result in serious car accidents. Discuss your situation with a car accident attorney in Chicago today.

Dangers of Speeding Even a Slightly

Although driving just five miles over the limit might not seem like a big deal, the state of Illinois has strict laws when it comes to speeding. These are put in place to protect other motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians who all share the road. While you might avoid getting a ticket if you are pulled over for speeding slightly over the limit, there could be serious trouble if you are in an accident while speeding, as you might be held liable for reckless driving.

The police have many tools, such as radar, to monitor the speed that a vehicle is traveling. Some of the penalties if you are caught speeding in Chicago, and surrounding areas include:

  • Steep fines for driving even one mile over the speed limit.
  • License suspension
  • Assigned points on your license
  • Potential jail time

Zones to Watch Your Speed

While speeding of any kind is illegal, there are certain areas where fines and penalties are increased for those who are caught driving over the limit. These are some of the zones that are typically monitored more strictly than others:

School Zones: The area near a school will often have a “school zone” designation with signs that indicates double fines during certain times of the day or when lights are flashing. Increased fines are meant to help protect children and pedestrians during school hours, especially before and after school when foot traffic is heaviest.

Construction Zones: Another area that often posts double fines for speeding is construction zones on the highway. Construction often requires workers to move in and out of the lanes setting up traffic cones and operating equipment. These zones post lower speed limits with higher fines in order to keep construction workers in the area safe.

Neighborhood Streets: Chances of hitting and injuring a pedestrian or a biker on a narrow residential street are increased when speeding in these neighborhoods. For this reason, speed limits are often much lower than in higher-traffic areas.

Situations When Speeding Might Be Allowed

Anytime you get a speeding ticket, it is easy to assume that you deserve the ticket. Depending on the circumstances, you can challenge the ticket to avoid a negative report on your record.

Fortunately, there are legally sanctioned reasons for exceeding the speed limit, which can save you legal trouble and money if you keep them in mind.

Here are a few legal reasons to break the speed limit:

  • Police Action: If a police officer is driving recklessly during a chase or while attempting to change lanes, you have a valid excuse to speed as you navigate to safety. In addition, any attempt to evade a reckless driver is a valid excuse to drive above the speed limit.
  • Your Safety and That of Your Passengers: You can avoid a speeding ticket if you demonstrate you broke the speed limit to avoid an impending threat to your life and passengers’ lives.
  • Coercion or Dire Necessity: Coercion or necessity are legal excuses that can apply in different circumstances. For instance, someone who’s pointing a gun at you or surrounding vehicles driving too fast, making it difficult to adhere to a prescribed speed limit.

Illinois Speed Laws

Any driver has a responsibility to be aware of the applicable speed limits.

Here are the applicable speed limits:

  • Interstate highways outside urban areas: Drivers should maintain a maximum driving speed of 70 miles per hour
  • Rural Interstates: The maximum speed limit is 65 miles per hour
  • Interstate highways: Drivers should observe a maximum speed limit of 55 miles per hour on interstate highways near or in major cities and on highways.
  • Urban areas: Drivers should observe a speed limit of 30 miles per hour unless another speed limit is established
  • Special restriction: The speed limit outside an urban district is 60 miles per hour for a private living coach, house car, licensed recreational vehicle, a vehicle towing another vehicle, and vehicles of second division designed and used for transporting 8,001 pounds or more.

The law also prohibits drivers from using a speed on any highway that is greater than reasonable and suitable limit to the traffic conditions and use of the highway, which endangers the safety of passengers and property.

A speed limit does not relieve a driver to decrease their speed when:

  • Crossing and approaching an intersection
  • Approaching and navigating a curve
  • Approaching a hillcrest
  • Navigating a narrow or winding roadway
  • Special road circumstances because of traffic or weather

Drivers should also reduce their speed to avoid colliding with a person or a vehicle approaching the highway.

Highways vs Neighborhood Speed

The Illinois state laws allow various counties, including Kane, Lake, Cook, Madison, St.Clair, Will, and Dupage, to opt out of the existing speed limits by adopting an ordinance which sets a lower speed limit, empowering them to make adjustments based on their speed limits.

The above countries have a maximum large truck speed limit of 60 mph outside the urban district and 55 mph inside the urban district.

Dangers of Exceeding Prescribed Speed Limits

As a vehicle increases its speed limit, the harder it is to control it.

Speed increases the risk of crashes and injuries in the following ways:

  • It increases the distance that a driver must travel to stop the vehicle after applying the brakes
  • It increases the energy released due to the impact of a crash, increasing the severity of injuries and property damage
  • Speeding reduces the time required to respond or brake after identifying a road hazard


At high speeds, the force of impact is so substantial that the vehicle’s structure cannot protect the driver and the passengers. In addition, safety features like airbags or seat belts are ineffective in preventing severe injuries.

Types of Car Accidents Caused By Speeding Vehicles

Vehicle speeding is a leading cause of car accidents in the United States. According to NHTSA, 12,330 people died in speed-related crashes in 2021, an 8% increase compared to 2020.

Here are the typical car accidents caused by speeding:

Rear-end Collisions

A rear-end collision occurs when the rear driver crashes into the front car. Most rear-end collisions occur when one vehicle is at a complete stop, absorbing the full impact of the oncoming vehicle.

The larger the approaching vehicle or its speed, the greater the force of a collision. When speed is the cause of a rear-end collision, it often results in devastating injuries and may involve several vehicles.

Severe injuries in a rear-end collision can include:

  • Internal bleeding
  • Soft tissue injuries
  • Head and brain injuries
  • Broken bones
  • Sprains
  • Dislocations
  • Severe whiplash
  • Slipped discs
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Lacerations
  • Neck injuries

Head-on Collisions

Head-on collisions occur when two vehicles traveling in opposite directions collide into the front end of the other vehicle. At high speed, the driver is more likely to lose control of the vehicle, often resulting in a deadly head-on collision.

One-way speeding can also cause a head-on collision when a driver tries to beat traffic lights. Drivers often miscalculate their distance, run a red light and crash into a driver who may have started moving following a green light.

Roll-over Accidents

A roll-over accident is a type of vehicle crash where a vehicle tips onto its side or roof. Most roll-over accidents involve a single vehicle but often involve other vehicles if a driver swerves to avoid a speeding vehicle.

Driving at high speed increases the chances of a roll-over accident. Usually, driving at high speed reduces the driver’s ability to steer safely around obstacles or curves, increasing the risk of roll-over accidents.

If a driver speeds in poor road conditions like ice, wet, or uneven surfaces, the vehicle can skid or lose control, increasing the risk of rollover accidents.

T-bone Accident

T-bone accidents are common at intersections where one motorist fails to adhere to a right of way. The at-fault driver often speeds at an intersection without regard to traffic lights and often collides with another, moving in the opposite direction.

A vehicle traveling at a high speed generates substantial force on impact, compounding the risk of severe injuries and fatality.

Call a Chicago Car Accident Attorney As Soon as Possible

If you have been injured in a car accident and believe that someone else is at fault, it is helpful to understand all of your options. At Malman Law, we are dedicated to fighting for our clients’ right to just compensation. Don’t delay; give us a call today or schedule an appointment online to learn more about how we can help.

Steve Malman

Malman Law’s founder Attorney Steven Malman has over 30 years of experience handling personal injury, nursing home, medical malpractice, truck accidents, car accidents, premises liability, construction, and workers’ compensation cases in Chicago, IL.

Years of experience: +30 years
Justia Profile: Steve Malman
Illinois Registration Status: Active and authorized to practice law—Last Registered Year: 2024

What’s your case worth? Submit for a free case review

Related Blog Posts

view all news