Some might think driving slower is safer. However, driving too slow also is very dangerous. In Missouri, it is against the law for you to drive slower than the posted minimum speed under normal driving conditions. You may only drive under this designated minimum speed limit in inclement weather or in heavy traffic or construction. Even if there is no posted minimum speed limit, it is against the law to drive so slowly that you block traffic. Many car accidents are caused by slow drivers who block other traffic. Slow poke laws are important to follow to avoid putting yourself or others in danger.
In many states, including Missouri, the law states that any vehicle driving at less than the “normal speed” of traffic shall drive in the right-hand lane. A few states, like Kansas, permit use of the left lane only for passing or turning left. Georgia was one of the first states to receive media attention for starting to issue tickets for violating these so-called “slow poke” laws. The reason Georgia received so much attention is because the law states “normal speed” not “speed limit.” Are these laws meant to merely stop congestion or is there a real danger in allowing slow pokes to drive in the left lane?
The Dangers of Slow Pokes
When slow drivers linger in the left lane, other drivers are forced to pass. Often times these drivers become annoyed, confused, or agitated; these emotions are recipes for accidents. Driving in the left lane makes other cars slow down, prohibits passing, and creates traffic jams. According to research, driving five mile per hour slower than surrounding traffic is more likely to cause an accident than is going five miles per hour faster that drivers around you. The National Motorists Association recommends that speed limits be set to the 85th percentile of free-flowing traffic. When drivers drive outside that recommendation they create danger that’s hard to avoid. Imagine coming around a corner going 60 miles per hour to suddenly see a car going 40 miles per hour. Avoiding a collision would be very difficult.
When Slow Driving Causes an Accident
While officials agree going over the speed limit is dangerous, the danger of going too slow is real. If you have been in an accident involving a driver going below the speed limit, contact an experienced car accident attorney today to discuss your options. Just because the other driver was not speeding does not mean he or she is not at fault. Contact a Kansas City, Missouri, car accident attorney at the Krause and Kinsman Law Firm today for a free consultation.
Robert Kinsman is a personal injury, mass tort, business litigation, and employment discrimination attorney who practices in Kansas City, Missouri. He graduated from the University of Missouri Kansas City School of Law and has been practicing law for several years now. Robert Kinsman is passionate about normalizing the life of his clients after they have been seriously injured. Learn more about his experience here.