You’re leaving work when a sudden summer rainstorm hits. You need to meet friends at a restaurant for dinner, but you stay within the speed limit because speeding would be unsafe in this weather.
However, an officer pulls you over and gives you a ticket anyway, saying something about how you were driving too fast for the weather and road conditions. Can they do that?
They can. Throughout the country, states have some type of “too fast for conditions” laws. Here in South Carolina, the “Uniform Act Regulating Traffic on Highways” law states, “A person shall not drive a vehicle on a highway at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the conditions and having regard to the actual and potential hazards then existing.”
When can sticking to the speed limit get you a ticket?
Inclement weather conditions like rain, snow, ice, hail and fog aren’t the only reasons that driving at or even below the speed limit can get you a ticket. Other such conditions include:
- Damaged or uneven roads
- Falling rocks from mountainsides
- Unpredictable traffic conditions caused by a collision, road work or other issues
Law enforcement officers have the discretion to determine whether a person is driving “at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the conditions.” However, if you believe that you were wrongly ticketed, you can and should consider fighting the citation to save yourself from fines, points on your license and an insurance rate hike. An experienced traffic attorney can provide you with valuable guidance and help you protect your driving record.