The risks of driving too fast are obvious. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), speeding is involved in about one-third of all fatal motor vehicle accidents.
However, driving too slowly can also be dangerous. A number of states, including Georgia, have laws that penalize drivers for doing it. Slow driving can increase car accident risk by causing confusion, disorganization or catching other drivers off-guard. For example: You are driving the speed limit and must suddenly slow down because of a slow driver in front of you, and then the driver behind you rear-ends you.
What is Georgia’s Slowpoke Law?
Georgia has a law that addresses slow drivers. While this slowpoke law has been on the books for years, most Georgia drivers are not aware of it and it is frequently violated. The law states:
No person shall drive a motor vehicle at such a slow speed as to impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic, except when reduced speed is necessary for safe operation.
The law also specifically addresses people who drive too slow in the left lane instead of moving to the right to allow faster traffic to pass. In fact, even if a driver is going the speed limit in the left lane, that driver is in violation of the law if they do not move over for faster traffic.
According to an article from 11 Alive, state troopers hear many excuses from people who are pulled over for driving too slow. Frequently, drivers will think that driving too slow is better than speeding, though in reality slow driving can also be very dangerous. State troopers also caution drivers who drive slow in the left lane because they think other drivers are going too fast: Enforcing the speed limit is the job of law enforcement, not civilian drivers.
When a slower driver stays in the left-most lane of a multi-lane road, other drivers may be forced to use the right lanes to pass. This can lead to an increased car accident risk.
The four types of slow drivers
Slow drivers typically fall into one of four categories: distracted drivers, tourists, newly-licensed drivers and elderly drivers.
Distracted drivers are among the most dangerous on the road. According to the CDC, about 3,000 people are killed every year in automobile crashes that are linked to distracted driving. This includes drivers who are texting and driving or otherwise using their cellphone while they should be focused on the road.
Tourists can also increase motor vehicle accident risk on the road as they often look around to see the sights or focus on their GPS. Even if they maintain normal speeds, tourists may lack the familiarity of the area necessary to move with the flow of traffic.
Young or newly licensed drivers are also more likely to drive slowly as they have yet to develop confidence behind the wheel.
Senior drivers tend to drive more slowly than others as well. The American Association of Retired Persons offers courses to help keep drivers up to speed.
Since slow driving may be negligent or, in some cases, illegal, people hurt because of a slow driver may be able to pursue a car crash claim to recover compensation for medical bills and other costs. An experienced attorney can assist with the claim, beginning with a free consultation.