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CA Vehicle Code §22350: Navigating the "Basic Speed Law"

Posted by John Campanella | Jan 12, 2024 | 0 Comments



What is the CA Vehicle Code §22350?

CA Vehicle Code §22350 is all about keeping it safe on the road. In simple terms, it says that you must drive at a speed that's reasonable and prudent. But what does that mean?

Basically, you need to consider the road conditions. If it's raining cats and dogs or there's thick fog, you shouldn't be zooming like you're in a race. Slow down, buddy! The idea is to drive at a speed that won't put you or others in danger.

This code gives a nod to common sense. It's saying, "Hey, don't be a speed demon when the weather or road isn't playing nice."

Remember, it's not just about following the speed limit posted on a sign. You've got to use your noggin and adjust your speed based on what's happening around you. So, if it's a sunny day and the road is clear, feel free to cruise at the posted speed. But if things get tricky, ease off that gas pedal.

In a nutshell, CA Vehicle Code §22350 is a reminder to be a smart and safe driver. Keep your eyes open, adjust your speed when needed, and save the speedster moves for the racetrack.

The Basics of CA Vehicle Code §22350

CA Vehicle Code §22350 is like your GPS for safe driving speed. 

1. Safety First: This code is all about driving at a speed that's safe and sound. No need to break any speed records; just keep it chill and secure.

2. Common Sense Alert: It's not just about obeying the posted speed limits. This code nudges you to use your brain. If it's pouring rain or the road resembles a skating rink, slow down! Adjust your speed to match the road conditions.

3. Road Conditions Matter: Think of it this way – you wouldn't sprint across an icy sidewalk, right? Same goes for driving. If the road is tricky, ease off that gas pedal. Safety is the name of the game.

4. No Need for Speed Demons: CA Vehicle Code §22350 is a reminder that the road isn't a racetrack. Save the speedy moves for Need for Speed. Be a responsible driver and keep it in check.

5. It's a Smart Driver's Guide: Consider this code your roadmap for being a savvy driver. Stay alert, adjust your speed as needed, and don't be in a rush. Your destination will still be there when you get there!

Speed limits in California

1. Speed Limits Signs: The most obvious clue is the sign by the side of the road. It tells you the maximum speed allowed. Easy, right?

2. Common Limits: In residential areas or near schools, the speed limit is often 25 mph. Downtown areas might be around 25-35 mph. Open highways? You can pick up the pace to 65-70 mph or even more.

3. Flexibility for Conditions: CA is pretty chill about adjusting speed for safety. If it's foggy, rainy, or you're stuck in a traffic jam, common sense says slow down. CA Vehicle Code §22350 is your buddy here.

4. Freeway Fun: On most California highways, you can rock at 65 mph. But some rural areas might allow up to 70 mph. Keep an eye on those signs; they're your speed limit sherpa.

5. Construction Zones and School Buses: Here's a heads-up – slow down in construction zones. They often have reduced speed limits. And when a school bus stops, you stop too. No need to rush when kiddos are hopping on or off.

6. Nighttime Wisdom: Sometimes, speed limits drop a bit after dark. Keep your eyes peeled for those nighttime adjustments.

7. Ticket Troubles: Ignore the speed limits, and you might find a ticket waiting for you. Nobody wants that. So, stick to the limits, stay safe, and enjoy the California breeze.

Factors Influencing Speed Limits

1. Road Type: Different roads, different vibes. Residential streets, where neighbors chat over picket fences, usually keep it slow at 25 mph. Highways, where you can let loose a bit, might crank it up to 65 mph or more.

2. Surroundings: If you're cruising through a bustling downtown or a school zone, expect lower speed limits. Safety first, especially when folks are strolling or kids are crossing.

3. Construction Zones: Orange cones ahead? Brace yourself for reduced speed limits. Construction crews and heavy machinery demand caution.

4. Weather Whims: Mother Nature has a say too. Rain, fog, or snow means it's time to ease off the gas pedal. CA Vehicle Code §22350 nods approvingly here.

5. Time of Day: Nighttime can bring reduced speed limits in some areas. Dimmer lights might call for a slower pace to keep everyone safe.

6. Traffic Flow: Ever been in stop-and-go traffic? It's not a race. Speed limits might drop to keep things smooth and avoid fender benders.

7. School Buses and Emergency Vehicles: When school buses flash their lights, you hit the brakes. And when emergency vehicles are on the move, give them space – it's the law.

8. Road Condition: Potholes, uneven surfaces – they're not your car's best friends. Some roads demand a slower speed to avoid turning your ride into a bumpy rollercoaster.

9. Legal Limits: Of course, laws and regulations set the baseline. CA Vehicle Code §22350, our friend again, emphasizes driving at a speed that's reasonable and safe for the conditions.

Factors That Determine Whether a Speed is Safe or Reasonable

1. Road Conditions: The first checkpoint – the road itself. Is it smooth sailing or more of a rollercoaster with potholes? Adjust your speed to match the road's mood.

2. Weather Whims: Rain, fog, or snow – they're like speed bumps for your car. Slow down when the weather gets moody. It's not a race; it's about arriving in one piece.

3. Surroundings: Take a peek around. Are you in a quiet neighborhood or zipping through a school zone? Adjust your speed to keep in sync with the environment.

4. Traffic Flow: Going with the flow is key. If everyone's in cruise control, joining the speed party is the way to go. But if it's stop-and-go, take it easy to avoid bumper hugs.

5. Visibility Vibes: When the sun bids farewell and darkness takes over, your speed might need a little adjustment. Dim light calls for a dimmer accelerator.

6. Emergency Vehicles: Sirens blaring or lights flashing? Pull over and let them pass. It's not just courtesy; it's the law.

7. Construction Zones: Orange cones ahead? Time to slow down. Construction zones mean reduced speed limits. Safety first for you and those hardworking crews.

8. School Buses: When the big yellow bus stops, you stop. Kids are precious cargo, and a little patience goes a long way.

9. Road Type: Highways, side streets, or winding mountain roads – each has its own speed story. Follow the signs and adjust accordingly.

10. Your Comfort Zone: Ultimately, it's about you feeling comfortable behind the wheel. If you're white-knuckling it, ease off. Safe driving is a zen experience.

11. Legal Limits: Last but not least, don't forget the law. CA Vehicle Code §22350 is like the speed referee, ensuring you're on the right track.

What Are the Penalties Under CA Vehicle Code §22350?

  1. Ticket Fines: If you're found guilty of violating Vehicle Code §22350, you can expect a traffic ticket. The amount varies, but it's a hit to your wallet.

  2. Traffic School: Sometimes, if it's your first offense, you might get the option to attend traffic school. It's like a second chance to keep that ticket off your record.

  3. Insurance Impact: Your car insurance rates might go up. More violations often mean higher premiums. It's the not-so-fun part of the deal.

  4. Points on Your Driving Record: Each violation usually adds points to your driving record. Rack up too many, and you might find yourself facing license suspension.

  5. Legal Consequences: Ignoring the ticket or not taking care of it promptly could lead to bigger legal troubles. Warrants and court appearances aren't things you want on your schedule.

  6. License Suspension: If you collect too many points or have a habit of speeding, your license might be suspended. No driving for a while isn't anyone's idea of a good time.


1. Q: What is CA Vehicle Code §22350?

  • A: It's California's Basic Speed Law, stating you must drive at a speed safe for road conditions, regardless of posted limits.

2. Q: How is "safe speed" determined under §22350?

  • A: It considers factors like weather, road conditions, traffic, and visibility. Your speed should match what's safe at the moment.

3. Q: Can I get a ticket for driving below the posted speed limit?

  • A: Yes, if it's deemed unsafe. You're expected to adapt your speed to match conditions, even if it's under the limit.

4. Q: What are the penalties for violating §22350?

  • A: Penalties may include fines, points on your driving record, increased insurance rates, and the option for traffic school.

5. Q: Can I challenge a ticket issued under §22350?

  • A: Yes, you can. Check the ticket for errors, gather evidence, and be prepared to present your case in court.

6. Q: Does §22350 apply to all roads in California?

  • A: Yes, it applies statewide. It's a fundamental law that governs speed based on conditions, not just posted limits.

7. Q: Are there specific speed limits set by §22350?

  • A: No, it doesn't set specific numbers. It's more about driving at a speed that's safe considering the circumstances.

8. Q: Can I use bad weather as an excuse for speeding under §22350?

  • A: No, bad weather is a reason to slow down, not speed up. The law expects you to adjust your speed for safety.

9. Q: How many points can I get on my driving record for violating §22350?

  • A: It varies, but points are typically added to your record for each violation. Too many can lead to license suspension.

10. Q: Can I go to traffic school to avoid points from a §22350 ticket? - A: In some cases, yes. It depends on your driving history and the court's policies. It's often offered for first-time offenders.

About the Author

John Campanella

I have been representing people accused of drunk driving since I began practicing in 1995. I am active member of the National College of DUI Defense, a member of California DUI Lawyers Association, I am certified by the National Highway and Traffic Association for the administration of Field Sobriety Tests. I regularly attend DUI continuing education of the Bar, have tried over 35 Jury Trials, hundreds of pretrial motions and over 1000 DMV hearings all relating to DUI cases.


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