It’s common to hear about the importance of obeying the speed limit when driving. The warning often relates to speeding because traveling at higher speeds reduces your ability to slow down and stop and is overall a reckless driving decision. However, there’s another side of disobeying the speed limit – driving too slowly. Slow drivers can also pose a significant danger and risk to that driver and others on the road.
The Dangers of Driving Slow
When someone is driving too slowly, they force others around them to have to adapt to their speed. If a slow driver is in the left lane on a multilane route, then people may choose to pass them in the right lane. This is a dangerous move and can lead to accidents. If a slow driver is in the center lane on a multilane roadway, it impacts traffic in all lanes. Slow drivers can also make other drivers around them constantly brake and speed up. This repetitive stop-and-start motion could potentially lead to a major accident. If there’s a long line of traffic, it could create a multi-vehicle pileup.
Slow drivers also force others to change how they react to situations. When a slower driver is making a left turn at a busy intersection, the driver behind them waiting to make the same a turn may anticipate being able to make their turn it time but may not be able to due to the first driver taking longer than they should. This may lead to the second driver having to decide whether to make an unsafe turn or remain where they are, potentially causing traffic to pile up.
Drivers expect other motorists around them to adhere to speed limits and to react to situations in a certain time frame based on their own experiences. When a driver takes a longer time to make decisions and react in traffic, misaligned expectations can lead to unsafe judgement calls or even an accident. This can also lead to situations where a driver may not understand why a motorist is driving slowly/taking a long time to decide and become angry or distracted as a result. They may tailgate the slower driver or unsafely veer into another lane to try and move past them, potentially causing danger to those around them.
Why Do People Drive Under the Speed Limit?
One of the most common reasons motorists drive under the speed limit is because they’re driving while distracted. Typically, drivers are distracted by cell phones. They’re paying more attention to their phone and try to slow down in an effort to multitask. However, this is not safe and can lead to collisions.
Another reason people drive slowly is because they are scared to drive too quickly. There are several reasons why someone is scared to drive fast. They could be a new, inexperienced driver who isn’t used to highway speeds yet. Someone who has issues with vision may try to drive more slowly so they don’t accidentally collide with something. Elderly people may not be able to consistently hold down the gas pedal that keeps their car moving at an appropriate speed.
People who are new to the area may also drive slowly. They could be a tourist who’s more interested in the sights than paying attention to the road or a driver who’s unfamiliar with the area and confused about where they’re going. A person new to a busy area may also unintentionally slow down so they have more time to figure out the traffic patterns and give themselves room to react to incidents on the road.
Individuals making the bad decision to drive under the influence may also drive to slowly because they are impaired and unable to make appropriate decisions on how fast they are driving.
In order to avoid accidents as a result of slow drivers, it is important to recognize the dangers these drivers pose, be patient and make good decisions on how to get around or away from an unsafe, slow driver. It’s not a good or safe decision to give in to road rage or try to intimidate a slow driver if you’re driving near one. Instead, it is better to make yourself visible to the slow driver by using the tools that your vehicle provides to remind them that they’re driving too slowly. You can quickly flash your lights at them from a safe distance to get their attention. If that doesn’t work, you can use your car horn. A quick beep may get their attention. However, excessive honking and laying on the horn is not the way to remedy this situation. The constant alarming noise could also bother or startle those around you. When a slow driver is in your vicinity, you must be aware of everything around you and be patient and make a good decision on how to get around or away from the slow driver.
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