When people think of common unsafe driving habits, it’s likely that they think of speeding. Speeding is a well-known factor in many serious traffic accidents. However, can driving too slowly also cause problems? While the practice can feel safer for those who utilize it, they might be surprised to find out it’s really putting them at risk.
Traffic officials consider driving too slowly a traffic hazard, and it can place you and others at risk of injury on the road. While slow drivers may not run quite as high a risk of collision as individuals who speed, their actions may inadvertently lead to accidents.
Traffic Tickets for Driving Too Slowly
Slow driving presents such a hazard that, in some states, a motorist moving well below the speed limit can be pulled over for a traffic violation. Officials note that, while it's uncommon, drivers can get a ticket if excessively slow driving blocks traffic or creates a road hazard.
The most essential tool drivers have for preventing accidents on the road is common sense. Driving too quickly or slowly is never a good idea and should be avoided whenever possible. Instead, they should drive according to road conditions and behavior of other drivers as long as that behavior is legal and safe.
While laws vary between states, many have statutes that prohibit driving too slowly. Though a law might not use the exact phrasing as “driving too slowly,” they typically describe this habit as failing to move with the flow of traffic. Usually, law enforcement will allow cars to drive slowly in the far-right lane and will only cite individuals driving too slow in the fast lane. However, if a car is driving so slowly that it causes all traffic to approach them at a dangerous rate, a person in the slow lane might be cited.
Common Types of Dangerous Slow Drivers
Distracted drivers are perhaps most known for colliding with other vehicles or having accidents involving pedestrians. However, these drivers might also fail to notice the speed of their vehicle, placing others at risk as a result.
When is a person doesn’t pay attention to their speed and how it compares to other drivers, they become a stationary object that faster drivers might not expect.
Driving can be intimidating for drivers who are still new to the road. When a new driver first merges with a highway or freeway, they might drive slower than other cars, assuming that they are being safe. Being alert and patient is the best way to deal with new drivers who are driving too slowly.
The phrase “driving like a grandma” is popular for a reason.
Aging slows down drivers because of factors like poor vision, sore joints, and other physical limitations commonly experienced by senior citizens. Just as with new drivers, being proactive and patient around a slow senior driver will help prevent accidents.
Tourists and those who are interested in something happening on or near a road may slow down unexpectedly and without realizing it. Those who live in popular tourist destinations or near a well-known landmark object should be ready to encounter slow drivers. Likewise, drivers near a road-side distraction such as an accident should be prepared to drive defensively until they pass it.
Slow Drivers & Traffic Accidents
A driver who insists on moving along well below the speed limit may incite other drivers to overtake them, particularly if the driver is at the head of traffic on a two-lane road. While only the passing motorist might be blamed if a collision results from this action, the slow motorist has certainly played a part in the accident.
All drivers should consider how their actions, including the speed they travel at, will affect the safety of the people with whom they share the road. If you’re worried about being a slow driver, the best thing you can do is watch the cars around you. If it’s obvious that those near you wish to drive faster, there’s no shame with pulling over and allowing cars to pass you.
How to Deal with Slow Drivers Safely
If you find yourself near a slow driver, approach the situation with attentiveness. If possible, pass them on the left. If the slow driver is in the far-left lane, decrease your speed and keep your distance from them. In a perfect world, all slow drivers would merge to the right to let you by. However, this often doesn’t happen—especially when the slow driver is already ignoring the rules of the road! While passing on the right isn’t a great option, it might be your safest option.
Before overtaking a slow driver, do the following:
- Know your vehicle’s capabilities. If you can’t accelerate fast enough to safely merge with the traffic, maintain a safe distance from the slow vehicle until you can change lanes at the right time.
- Check if there might be a reason for the driver’s slow driving. Often, drivers can become frustrated with others on the road without realizing there’s a great reason for their behavior. If the driver in front of you is going slow, you should use the moment as a potential warning to look for dangers ahead.
- Check for other vehicles. Passing on the right is almost never advisable unless you believe you’re in danger because of the slow driver. Before merging to the right, look for other cars and smaller vehicles such as motorcycles. It’s easy to become frustrated and quickly change lanes—always take a moment to gather your emotions and look for others.
- Check yourself. If you need to pass a car on the right, ensure that you can do so legally and within the speed limit. Remember that slow drivers are often dangerous because of how others react to them!
When Should You Drive Slow?
While driving slowly is during regular traffic conditions is dangerous, there are times when conservative use of the accelerator is appropriate.
Moments that driving slowly is acceptable include:
- During bad weather
- When the flow of traffic slows
- Near railroad tracks
- Around school buses
- When animals are present near the road
Ultimately, it’s important to always factor in road conditions to determine if driving slowly is appropriate. If traffic around you is slowing down, it’s likely that doing the same is advisable. Being an alert and adaptive driver is the best way to protect yourself and others around you!
Injured Because of a Slow Driver? Our Car Accident Attorneys Can Help.
If you or a loved one has suffered injuries during a motor vehicle accident caused by another person's unsafe actions, you may be entitled to compensation. The motor vehicle accident attorneys from Arnold & Itkin have successfully recovered billions of dollars in victories for clients. We know that car accidents change lives, and we fight to earn clients the financial stability they deserve and need for recovery.