Why Driving Too Slow Is Almost as Dangerous as Speeding
When people think of speed-related accidents, they usually think of motor vehicle drivers driving too fast. However, there are a lot of speed-related accidents that involve slow driving. It may be less common, but it does still happen. In fact, driving too slowly can be almost as dangerous as going over the speed limit.
Although it is smart to take caution and drive slowly when it is foggy, raining, or while in a school zone, you should not drive too much under the speed limit during normal circumstances. The reason for this is because slow drivers can disrupt the flow of the traffic and cause congestion on the roads. When this happens, it causes other drivers to continuously slam on brakes or feel the need to pass, which puts all vehicles close by at risk of accidents. (If you decide to pass a slow driver, you should always make sure that it is safe to do so because passing can be very dangerous and even deadly.)
Individuals who choose to drive 10 miles under the speed limit are six times more likely to be in a car accident. This means if the speed limit is 65 mph and a person drives 55 mph and another person drives 70 mph, the individual who drives under the speed limit may be more likely to have an accident.
Are there consequences for slow drivers in Tennessee?
According to Tennessee’s Code 55-8-154, individuals are not allowed to drive at slow speeds and must keep up with the normal movement of traffic, except when driving slowly is absolutely necessary for safety reasons. When a person is found driving too slow for no apparent reason, they may be subject to a Class C misdemeanor.
Who is most likely to drive slowly?
There are certain people who are more prone to drive slower than other:
- Senior citizens or the elderly population: When an individual ages, they are more likely to start driving slowly. The reason for this is because of factors like poor vision, poor posture, sore joints, and intimidation on the road. Reaction time is also known to change with age. Older drivers try to be overly cautious, which may result in them driving slow and causing a wreck.
- New and inexperienced drivers: As a person starts to drive, they are typically not comfortable at first. It takes a long time to learn to relax behind the wheel. The reason for this is because new drivers are very intimidated by other vehicles. When they need to merge, pass, or turn, they may drive slower than other drivers, which can cause accidents and lead to unfortunate circumstances.
- Distracted drivers: Around nine people die every single day in America in car accidents that involve a distracted driver. Distracted drivers may think that they can drive slower to focus less on the road, but this can still put them and others at risk of an accident. Most distracted drivers are texting, talking on the phone, eating, changing the radio station, and looking at a GPS.
- Drunk or drugged drivers. Alcohol and certain controlled substances can affect perception, meaning a driver who is intoxicated or impaired may not realize how fast or slow he is going. These drivers are also more likely to cross into different lanes or swerve into traffic in an effort to self-correct a drifting car.
- Commercial vehicle drivers. Certain types of trucks and commercial vehicles have speed governors, which forces them to drive more slowly. Tractor-trailer drivers may also travel more slowly in areas with steep hills or curves, as visibility is limited, and it takes a lot of power to get an 80,000lb, fully loaded vehicle up a steep gradient.
What to do if you encounter a slow driver on a Tennessee highway
If you ever encounter a slow driver, there are a few different steps you can take. First, you should proceed with caution. After you have determined that everything is OK with the driver, you should try to pass the vehicle by moving into the left lane. If the slow vehicle is in the left lane already, try to drive slowly and keep a decent amount of distance between your vehicle and theirs. When possible, pass the vehicle by moving into the right lane.
Slow drivers are supposed to move into the right lane to let you pass them. However, this does not always happen. Passing on the right is not a top recommendation, but it may be the safest choice that you have during this situation.
Driving tips if you must drive slowly
Driving slower than the speed limit on highways, interstates, or local roads is not recommended. However, if you need to drive slowly for any reason, there are certain tips that we would suggest. Please consider the following tips to avoid a car accident:
- The far-left lane on highways is meant for those wanting to pass. Therefore, if you are going to drive slower, stay in the right lane.
- If you are in the left lane and notice someone closely behind you, you should change lanes to let them pass, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
- Keep a good amount of distance between you and other motor vehicles as you do not want them to have to slam on brakes or even brake often.
- Put your four-way blinkers on. This lets other drivers know that you are proceeding with caution, and that they should do the same.
Be on the lookout for motorcycles, bicycles, and pedestrians as they may think they have enough time to cross in front of you when you are driving slower.
If you have recently been involved in a car accident with a slow driver, Wagner & Wagner Attorneys at Law would be glad to assist you during this difficult time. Our Chattanooga accident lawyers understand that car accidents can alter your entire life. Therefore, we will use our skills and experience to stand up and fight for your rights. By the end of your case, our team will make sure that you receive the compensation and financial stability you need to successfully continue with your recovery. Depending on your location, we also have professional attorneys serving Cleveland and North Georgia who can help you with your case. Reach out to us today by calling our office, or completing our contact form to schedule a free consultation.
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