The maximum speed limit on most California highways is 65 mph. You may drive 70 mph where posted. Unless otherwise posted, the maximum speed limit is 55 mph on two-lane undivided highways and for vehicles towing trailers.Other speed limit signs are posted for the type of roads and traffic in each area. All speed limits are based on ideal driving conditions. Construction zones usually have reduced speed zones.

My perception is that the maximum speed limit is 55 mph on two-lane undivided highways. Is this correct?

Could you simplify the term unless otherwise in simple English?

  • For me, it is a redundancy. It is unnecessary repetition.
    – user32620
    Commented Apr 8, 2016 at 9:07
  • unless otherwise means 'if nothing else'
    – user33748
    Commented May 6, 2016 at 16:50
  • @AlelignAschaleWudie - It's not a redundancy; you couldn't use otherwise by itself, and using unless by itself would produce an awkward sentence.
    – J.R.
    Commented May 6, 2016 at 18:28

2 Answers 2


Yes, you are right, that is what it means.

Unless means "if not". Otherwise means "in another way, differently". So unless otherwise posted will mean "if nothing else is posted", "if nothing else is indicated", "if there are no other signs".

Other examples:

  • The document has a validity of 5 years, unless otherwise stated.
  • Residents are not to leave the premises unless otherwise instructed.

This means that unless a sign indicates a different speed limit, the speed limit is 55mph.

Unless otherwise means 'unless something different is indicated'.

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