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Speed limits are a significant part of our everyday lives, regardless of whether we’re primarily drivers or passengers. Many people assume these guidelines surrounding driving are universal across the country because they are a major part of car safety. While there’s not a significant disparity between states, some have lower speed limits than others. In fact, Hawaii has the lowest speed limits in the country.

Here’s a look at why.

Hawaii has the lowest speed limits

Hawaii speed limits are the lowest in the nation
Photo by Silas Stein/picture alliance via Getty Images

According to, Hawaii has the lowest speed limits out of all 50 states. Of course, speed limits across the state vary based on the type of road, but there’s still a decent difference from how fast drivers in other states can legally drive. This is important to keep in mind for anyone who visits the state and plants to drive on their own instead of using public transportation.

Regarding types of roads and speed limits, drivers in Hawaii can go up to 50 miles per hour on rural freeways. A rural freeway is essentially an interstate highway outside of an area with 50,000 or fewer people. Urban freeways, which are multi-lane roads, have speed limits of 60 miles per hour. This is the same as for normal interstate highways. Drivers in Hawaii can go up to 45 miles per hour on regular roads.

Why are speed limits lower in Hawaii

Hawaii speed roads
Photo by: Michael Siluk/Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Many drivers and passengers may wonder why the speed limits in Hawaii are so low. As expected, the main reasons have to do with car safety and the general layout of the state. The biggest reason is because most of the state’s roads are in the mountains or the coast. This means that the speed limits allow drivers to react to all the curves and cliffs roads in Hawaii may have.

Related to the layout of the state, Hawaii doesn’t have a ton of flat surfaces. This means that drivers must maintain lower speeds because car accidents, especially the ones caused by higher speeds, could be much more dangerous than in states with more flat surfaces. People on the outside looking in may find them odd, but Hawaii’s regulations for driving are necessary for decreasing and preventing car accidents.

Hawaii has a high number of car accidents

Of course, the goal of Hawaii having lower limits is to have fewer accidents. However, the state actually has quite a few annually. The good thing is that, as of 2020, it’s one of the parts of the country with the fewest fatalities from car accidents. There are only 120-150 per year. It’s also important to point out that, according to the Hawaii Department of Transportation, speeding is the leading cause of accidents in the state. 

No one likes lower speed limits. This is especially the case when drivers are in a hurry. However, each state has different regulations based on various factors. Of course, people still speed, but Hawaii’s yearly car accidents would probably be even higher without stricter driving regulations. This is one reason why obeying the law is paramount. 

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