‘Probably safer’: What it was like when states had no speed limits

No highway speed limits? For some Nevada and Montana motorists with long memories, that’s what made their states special.

As California deals with a proposal to remove speed limits through its Central Valley, there are those elsewhere in the West who remember what it was like to be happy leadfoots who didn’t have to worry about speeding tickets.

Nevada and Montana were holdouts when it came to not having speed limits in sparsely populated, wide-open spaces. Some might say that was crazy.

“It was probably safer than it is now just because there weren’t as many people,” recalls Toni Mendive, 76, an archivist at the Northeastern Nevada Museum in the town of Elko. “There was just more common sense then.”

As a result, Mendive said she doesn’t recall driving a car any faster than 70 mph –  even though she legally could have gone faster.