Life in the Fast Lane Can Get You a Ticket

by sem on May 8, 2013

Driving Slowly in the Left Lane

In Texas, the maximum freeway speed limit ranges from 65-85 MPH, depending on where you are. But what about the minimum? It tends to range from 40–45 MPH, but there usually isn’t a posted number. The general rule is to keep up with the flow of traffic, because it helps keep drivers safe. And yet, there are people out there who just can’t seem to find the gas pedal.

TYPES OF SLOW DRIVERS

Slowpokes tend to fall into a few specific categories. New Drivers don’t have the experience, and therefore the confidence, that older, more seasoned motorists have. This uncertainty can cause them to err on the side of caution, to the point of danger.

Distracted Drivers have a tendency to slow down, because deep down they know they are distracted. And yet they continue to check their emails, anyway.

Tourists have the most valid excuse—they may simply not know where they are going.

And then there’s Older People. Sorry, seniors. You guys are notorious for driving too slow. If time has reduced your eyesight, and arthritis has affected your joints, your driving is going to be similarly affected.

So if you’re 85 years old and you just got your license and a cell phone, and you find yourself in a new city, just catch a cab. It will save time, and probably lives.

KEEPING RIGHT AND STAYING SAFE

One of the most dangerous times to drive too slowly is when you’re supposed to be driving fast. Out on the freeway, there’s a rule that drivers tend to follow that helps keep everyone safe. Nearly every state has their own execution of the “keep right” rule, but they all follow the same general idea.

On American freeways, the far left lane is traditionally known as the passing lane. The right lane is reserved for merging and slower drivers, and the middle lane (if there is one) is for the general flow of traffic. The rule of the road is: If you want to pass someone, get into the left lane, pass, and then get back into the middle lane.

If you’re hanging out in the left lane, and you aren’t passing another car, you’re abusing the lane’s intended purpose, and that can constitute reckless driving—and yes, you can in fact be cited. The Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT) explains that tickets for impeding the flow of traffic by hogging the left lane can run you up to $200.

HOW DOES IT AFFECT MY INSURANCE?

As with any reckless driving citation, getting a ticket for driving too slow can cause your insurance rates to go up. If it’s the only ticket you’ve ever received, and you learned your lesson, you might just get a warning, but you’d have to check with your insurance carrier and your own policy to be sure. Of course, enrolling in an online defensive driving course could get some of the points wiped from your record, too. And if you find yourself getting traffic tickets for any reason, it’s probably a good idea to bone up on your skills in the first place.

Out on the open road, anything that deviates from the status quo can be a potential hazard. If you’re driving too fast or too slow, other motorists have to react, and if they don’t react appropriately, or in time, a traffic ticket is the least of your worries.


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