Ask The Driving School Instructor: Slow Driver
November 5, 2014
Question: I’m still getting used to driving and I tend to be a slow driver compared to the rest of the traffic, is that dangerous?
Answer: In a word, yes but it depends on how fast the rest of the traffic is going.
Young drivers are often taught that they should go with the flow of traffic and that’s generally good advice unless the majority of the traffic is driving faster than the speed limit. If everyone else is speeding, that doesn’t mean you also have permission to speed. Speeding takes away the time you need to react to a dangerous situation ahead and it increases the crash forces. Just because “everyone else is doing it” doesn’t mean you should do it too. And remember, even if everyone else is doing it, generally, a police officer can only stop one car at a time for a speeding ticket and you could easily be the one that he chooses to stop.
If the flow of traffic is moving at the speed limit and you’re driving slower than everyone else, it could be dangerous for several reasons;
- When driving slowly, other drivers who may not be paying full attention to the road ahead may expect you to be traveling at the normal speed and misjudge their following distance.
- Drivers stuck behind you can become frustrated leading them to take risky actions like tailgating or trying to pass you without enough clear space.
- Driver frustration can, in extreme cases, lead to road rage situations where another driver will try to harm you in some way as punishment for holding him/her back.
You should never speed but you should always try to drive at the speed limit if possible. Never drive in the left lane unless you’re passing a slower vehicle or preparing to turn left. Keep the left lane open for others to pass you.
If you’re driving on a country road with no passing lanes and traffic is building up behind you, pull off the road long enough for the faster traffic to pass. It’s the polite thing to do and it’ll keep you safer in the long run.