Can You Get a Ticket for Driving Too Slowly?
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We all know speeding is a ticketable offense, as driving recklessly puts everyone on the road around you at risk.
But what about driving too slowly? You can get a ticket for driving under the speed limit. Because there is no federally mandated limit, stipulations to this rule vary by state, so the car insurance shopping and broker app Jerry has listed examples of different state laws below.
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Slow driving impedes traffic
Trailing below the speed limit poses several risks, including, but not limited to, spurring road rage from cars behind you or increasing your chance of getting rear-ended.
There are specific examples where you can be ticketed for driving too slowly.
Congested traffic can be dangerous. It’s illegal for cars in several lanes to maintain the same (and slow!) speed.
Regardless of your speed, you need to let other drivers pass you if necessary. Obstructing the traffic flow leads to unnecessary braking (and, not to mention, sparked road rage).
Minimum speed limits
Several states include a minimum speed limit, around 40 miles per hour, on signs dotted along the highway to alert drivers who might not keep up with traffic. Speed reduction is intended for motor vehicles that can’t keep up with traffic like trucks.
Traffic laws for slow driving by state
Because a federally mandated speed limit does not exist, and traffic law enforcement depends on the state, there is a variance in what’s acceptable in driving too slowly.
Here is a sampling of how slow driving is handled across the U.S.
Alabama law section 32-5A-174 states that drivers may not drive so slowly as to impede traffic flow; however, the legislation doesn’t dictate when going behaviors are protected. Instead, the state leaves discretion to the Alabama Highway Patrol.
Unlike in other states, it’s illegal in this state to drive in the left lane without passing another vehicle, even if you’re cruising right at the speed limit. Camping in this lane without merging back into the right lane can yield a ticket.
Residents driving in California are subject to “minimum speed” law where they are prohibited from moving too slowly, though the California Department of Transportation rarely posts minimum speed limit signs.
Like Alabama, what constitutes “slow driving” is left to the highway patrol to decide. Factors, such as the time of day, how many lanes on the freeway, whether the weather is poor and how congested traffic is, are considered.
If a driver is pulled over for defying the “minimum speed’ law, they can face up to a $238 fine and are subject to one point on their driving record.
Virginia has a stringent anti-gridlock law.
On the highway, if you’re traveling under the speed limit and are holding up at least three cars behind you, a state trooper could pull you over and ticket you.
Washington has a similar anti-gridlock law when driving on major coastal roadways. Legislation requires drivers that hold up five or more vehicles to pull over and let them pass.
Like California, Washington doesn’t have a minimum speed limit, but its traffic laws stipulate drivers can be ticketed for impeding “the normal and reasonable movement of traffic.”
Valid reasons for slow driving
Speed limits are set by departments of transportation based on visible, clear and safe driving conditions.
Good news: There are also several valid situations where driving under the speed limit is warranted (and encouraged) and can exempt you from getting pulled over.
When driving around the apex of a hill, through construction sites, or even around a car accident, motorists are expected to significantly reduce their speed.
If you’re caught traveling through inclement weather, such as a downpour, it’s expected that you should reduce your speed to avoid hydroplaning, for example.
You can only drive as fast as the flow of surrounding cars allows. Avoid driving the speed limit if you’re stuck in thick traffic.
Find cheap car insurance—fast!
Even if you’re a slow driver, you can get cheap car insurance quotes fast!
Signing up for Jerry takes less than a minute, and you’ll be presented with competitive rates from up to 50 top providers. Jerry can even find you savings if you have gotten a ticket for driving too slowly!
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How do you know if you are driving too slowly?
You will know you’re driving too slowly if you’re going under the posted speed limit. Some states, like California, have laws where you need to keep up with the flow of traffic—if a series of cars attempt to pass you, this is a clear indication that you’re driving too slowly.
Is driving slow more dangerous than speeding?
Driving too slowly is often more of a hazard than speeding. This is because slow driving causes surrounding drivers to brake suddenly, unexpectedly, leading to accidents.
What speed is considered too slow?
Going under 40 miles an hour is generally considered driving too slowly.
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