Thousands of tickets are issued each year by police in North Carolina to drivers traveling faster than the posted speed limit.
In most cases, the penalty comes with a small fine and points on your driver’s license — but those who get caught driving significantly faster than the posted limit can face serious consequences.
But how fast can you drive on roads where there’s no posted speed limit? Can you still get a speeding ticket in those areas?
Here’s what to know about the default speed limit in North Carolina.
What is the maximum speed limit if not posted in NC?
The state does regulate speed limits if a specific one isn’t posted.
According to the N.C. Department of Transportation, the default speed limit within cities and towns is 35 miles per hour. Outside of incorporated areas, the default speed limit is 55 miles per hour.
Some highways have speed limits of up to 70 miles per hour on certain sections, NCDOT says, but they could drop to 55 miles per hour in certain areas.
What is the penalty for speeding in NC?
The penalty for speeding in North Carolina depends on where you’re driving and how fast you were going, according to Charlotte law firm Browning and Long.
Generally, driving over the speed limit can get you a speeding ticket, which can mean a fine ranging from $10 to $250, points against your driver’s license and higher car insurance costs.
You can also be fined $250 for speeding in a work zone or a school zone, according to the firm.
Drivers who drive more than 15 miles per hour over the speed limit can have their license revoked, according to the N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles. Those who are found guilty of the offense more than once could have their license suspended even longer.
Can you get a ticket for driving too slow in NC?
Driving slower than the posted speed limit is not illegal, UNC school of government professor Jeff Welty explained.
“Driving substantially under the posted speed limit is not itself unlawful,” he said. “In fact, it is sometimes required by G.S. 20-141(a), which states that “[n]o person shall drive a vehicle on a highway or in a public vehicular area at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the conditions.”
However, state law says “no person shall operate a motor vehicle at such a slow speed as to impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic except when reduced speed is necessary for operation.”
“Crash records show that motorists driving too slow can create a safety hazard and cause crashes just as a motorist driving too fast can,” NCDOT says. “If weather and traffic permit, motorists should always try to travel at the posted speed.”