Are Slow Drivers Safe? Notes From a Car Accident Lawyer
As a car accident lawyer, you run into many different scenarios. People snapchatting and driving, road rage incidents or drunk driving accidents.
When you think about unsafe driving habits, do slow drivers come to mind? For many Houston drivers, their minds immediately jump to speeding. Across the United States, people recognize speeding as a major contributor to serious car accidents.
However, it’s important to understand that driving too slowly also causes problems on the road. While it may seem safer, it surprises many people when they realize they put themselves and others at risk.
Many traffic officials consider slow driving a traffic hazard. It places the driver and others at risk of injury on the road. While many slow drivers run a lower risk of collisions compared to speeding, their actions inadvertently lead to accidents.
Can You Get a Traffic Ticket for Driving Too Slowly?
In some states, slow driving presents such a risk that it is a traffic violation. Per Texas Transportation Code Section 545.363, Texans may not drive so slowly that they impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic. The only exception is for safety or compliance with the law.
While it’s less common for drivers to get a ticket for driving too slowly, they can receive tickets. Typically, this occurs when slow drivers create a road hazard or block traffic.
Common sense is the most important tool that drivers have when it comes to preventing accidents. Driving too slowly or speeding is never a good idea. Whenever possible, you should avoid these behaviors.
Instead, it’s important to drive according to the road conditions and the behaviors of other drivers – so long as their behavior is safe and legal.
The laws vary between states. However, many states have statutes that prohibit operating a motor vehicle at such a reduced speed. While they might not use the phrase “driving too slowly,” they tend to describe it as failing to move with the flow of traffic. Alternatively, they lump it in with impeding the flow of traffic.
Generally speaking, law enforcement officials allow cars to drive slowly in far-right lanes. Moreover, they tend to enforce this rule when slow drivers are in the “fast lane.” However, it’s important to recognize that a slow driver who causes traffic to approach them at a dangerous speed difference in a slow lane can also be cited.
Dangerous Slow Drivers
Slow drivers are common and occur for different reasons. For some, it’s a practice or habit to drive slowly. However, others inadvertently slow their speed due to another issue.
Oftentimes, people recognize distracted drivers for the role they play in jos involving pedestrians or vehicles that aren’t moving. However, distracted drivers don’t always notice the speed of their vehicle. As such, they put others at risk.
When a driver doesn’t pay attention to their speed in relation to other drivers, they become an obstacle that faster drivers don’t expect. Whether they are checking their phone or trying to find their exit, they unknowingly become stationary objects.
Rubberneckers and Tourists
“Rubbernecking” is when people slow their vehicles to take in a sight. Unfortunately, this often occurs around car accidents as people slow down to see what happened. However, it encompasses tourists and anyone interested in something happening on the road or nearby.
As they look on, they slow down without realizing it. As a popular tourist destination with well-known landmarks, Houston is a prime example. Houston drivers must remain vigilant around the landmarks we know about as visitors slow to get a picture of that famous “Be Someone.”
Similarly, drivers near roadside attractions and distractions must be ready to drive defensively.
Oftentimes, slow drivers are new to the road. Intimidated by the road, they drive too slowly to compensate for their nerves. When they first merge onto a highway or freeway, they likely drive slower than other vehicles.
Likely, this is because they assume their hesitation is safe. That’s why it’s important to be alert and patient when around new drivers. Remember what it’s like first getting on the road. Keep in mind they are still learning.
While this sounds like a cliche, it’s a cliche for a reason. As drivers age, they occasionally become slow drivers. This is due to a range of factors, including poor vision, bad joints, or an array of physical limitations.
As with new drivers, it’s important to drive defensively and be patient. We all age. In due time, you might become a slow driver yourself. Defensive driving is key to prevent accidents.
Slow Drivers and Motor Vehicle Accidents
When drivers insist on moving well below the speed limit, other drivers often try to overtake them. This is particularly true when the slow driver is at the head of traffic on a two-lane street. In an accident, it’s easy to blame a passing motorist. However, slow motorists certainly play a part in these accidents.
It’s essential that all drivers understand how their actions impact the safety of those around them. This includes the speed at which we drive. If you think you might be a slow driver, watch the cars around you.
When everyone else is moving faster than you, there’s a good chance you’re driving too slowly. There’s no shame in moving to a slower lane and allowing other drivers to pass you.
Safely Deal with Slow Drivers
When you find yourself around a slow driver, it’s important to remember defensive driving practices. Remain alert as you enter the situation. Try to pass them on the left.
When the driver is in the far-left lane, decrease your speed and keep your distance. Ideally, slow drivers merge to the right to allow traffic to move past them. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen.
When slow drivers ignore the rules of the road, it’s important to keep yourself safe. Generally, passing on the right is not as safe as an option. However, in this case, that can be your best bet.
Before you try to overtake a slow driver, consider the following.
- Know your vehicle’s capabilities. When your vehicle can’t accelerate quickly enough to merge, maintain a safe distance from the slow driver. Use your signal and wait to safely change lanes.
- Check for reasons the driver is slow. Oftentimes, it’s easy to let frustration take over on the road. However, people usually have a good reason behind their behavior. At times, slow drivers indicate an upcoming hazard.
- Observe other motor vehicles. Usually, passing on the right is not advisable. However, if you feel in danger due to the slow driver, you might need to. Before you merge right, check for other vehicles.
- Check your emotions. Frustration often causes people to change lanes quickly. Be sure to practice caution and act legally.
Remember that slow drivers are dangerous because other people react to them poorly. Don’t let your emotions put you in danger.
When Is It Okay to Drive Slow?
While driving too slowly is dangerous in normal conditions, there are times when it’s perfectly acceptable.
Here are a few times when slow driving is acceptable.
- Bad weather conditions
- Near buses and public transportation
- When traffic slows
- Around railroad tracks
- When animals are on the road
Ultimately, it’s essential that drivers consider road conditions when they determine whether to drive slowly. When traffic around you slows down, follow the flow to keep everyone around you safe. Staying alert and adaptable is the best way to protect yourself and those around you.
Injured Due to Slow Drivers? Our Houston Car Accident Attorneys Can Help!
When you or a loved one sustains an injury caused by a slow driver, you may have legal options to pursue compensation. Our auto accident attorneys at AP Law Group help Houston drivers fight for their rights.
While you focus on recovery, we fight to protect your future. Let us be the advocates you deserve and earn you the financial compensation you need. Schedule a free case evaluation today!