Is there a minimum speed limit on national highways and if so what is it?
Where minimum speed limits apply, there are signs stating as much in existence and they look like this:
However, to my knowledge there is no legislated minimum speed limit on freeways that constitutes a “one size fits all” requirement although there most certainly should be given that the general speed limit that applies on a freeway is 120km/h where there is no sign indicating a contrary speed limit. It can be argued that vehicles that are travelling at speeds significantly below the speed limit on roads designed to carry faster moving traffic present a hazard to other, faster moving traffic however it must also be borne in mind that a speed limit is just that – a limit – not a target.
One must constantly be on the lookout for slower moving traffic and take the appropriate action to ensure that one does not stand a risk of colliding with it and whilst it is unlawful for vehicles to stop on freeways except under emergency conditions or circumstances beyond the control of the driver, people often do just that for a variety of reasons, not least of which is that they are just downright stupid.
Last Sunday I responded to a person who was “shocked” to see a learner driver driving at around 60km/h on a Johannesburg freeway and in the inner, “slow” lane and they went off about how learners should not be allowed on freeways. My response was simple in that firstly, learners are indeed allowed on freeways under the supervision of a qualified driver (or preferably instructor) and secondly, would one prefer to have a newly qualified driver driving on a freeway under no instruction because they had been denied this instruction whilst they were learning to drive?
Behaviour on our freeways is generally incredibly bad and there are some people who are of the belief that the outer (fast) lane is reserved for them to travel at whatever speed they wish – fast or slow – when it is in fact intended to be an overtaking lane as opposed to a “fast” lane. Once an overtaking manoeuvre has been exercised, the driver is supposed to move back into the lane in which they were travelling, not continue to “hog” the outer lane. Unfortunately, this is very rarely taught to would be drivers because all to many of them are taught by unqualified instructors which often include family members who have either not been taught correctly in the first place themselves, or have forgotten what the real rules of the road are.
A long-winded answer to your rather short question I know, but one that I believe should be provided.
National Chairman – Justice Project South Africa (NPC)