Question: How fast am I allowed to go when I am passing someone on the highway?
Answer: State law makes no allowances for speeding, even when you are passing someone in a passing zone. 13 AAC 02.275 states that unless posted otherwise, the speed limit on highways is 55, and you may not drive faster than that speed.
Realistically, some common sense has to be exercised when the speed limit is enforced. If you are going 65 on the highway to pass someone in a passing zone that is going 53, it is reasonable to assume you will not get a speeding ticket. However, this could be subject to other factors, such as weather, road conditions, darkness, etc.
On the other hand, if, under the same conditions, you are going 80 to pass someone who is driving 58, chances are pretty good you're going to get a speeding ticket. (Yes, our radars can detect your speed as well as the speed of the car you are passing.)
If the passing zone is so short that you cannot pass unless you are going that fast, then you shouldn't be passing. If you do, your unsafe speed is magnified by the fact that you only have limited visibility.
The answer to your question is that there is no hard and fast answer. Exercise good judgement, take into account your surroundings and realize that an accident, no matter how minor, isn't worth you getting to your destination 30 seconds faster.
If you have questions you would like to ask a trooper, send them to Alaska State Troopers, 4060 Heath St., Homer, AK 99603 or e-mail them to Chad_Goeden@dps.state.ak.us. The Alaska State Troopers remind you to always wear your seat belt. It's the law.
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