We’ve all been stuck behind slow drivers before. These are the motorist that crawls along stacking up traffic like a pancake restaurant. They can be annoying and irritating, causing us to have to change lanes or go around them when they’re driving at a snail’s pace. What most people don’t realize is these drivers can also be dangerous. This is because, like the saying goes, speed kills and slow speed does too.

Slow drivers also engage in reckless behavior that Causes Serious Accidents

That’s right, cars that turn corners and are suddenly stuck behind a slow driver can be a leading cause of accidents and fender benders. This is especially true in the more residential and urban areas. These small accidents can also lead to big car insurance premium hikes. As Young America Insurance points out, an at-fault crash can cause a 20% hike in automobile insurance rates. 

Driving slow causes accident risk

The stats point this out over and over again. For this reason, it’s best to avoid driving slower than others while sharing the road. In fact, some states even have minimum speed limits posted. People who drive under this minimum speed limit can be fined $200 or more, which is more than the cost of some speeding tickets. These tickets could also cause car insurance rates to spike.

Many states have their own legislative laws regarding slow drivers. For example, the state of California requires a slow car with 5 or more vehicles behind it to pull over in order to prevent a jam. However, most slow drivers don’t even know about the law or obey it. This can lead to deadly accidents, especially when large vehicles like semi-trucks turn a corner and ram slower cars. These large trucks just often don’t have the time to stop when confronting much slower traffic. This is why it’s important if you are caught in a slow jam, to always keep an eye on oncoming traffic behind you. This tip could save your life.

Getting to Know the 4 Types of Slow Drivers

The behaviors and actions of slower drivers can be broken down into four different types. When you see this kind of behavior on the road, be sure to proceed with caution.

The Distracted Driver

Those who text while driving are already at risk of getting into a serious accident. However, they can also cause people to drive more slowly than usual. It’s reported that using a phone while driving can reduce focus and concentration from driving by almost 40%. This problem is way too dangerous to be left alone and is causing a surge in vehicular deaths. It’s important to be on the lookout for people using their phones while driving, even if they are at a stoplight.

Newly Licensed Drivers

When you think of newly licensed drivers, you might first lean towards speeding rather than driving too slowly. However, it’s true that a lot of new drivers go way too slowly. This is especially true of young drivers who are still afraid of oncoming traffic and are not familiar with the patterns of the road.

Senior Citizens

Perhaps the biggest culprits of slow driving are senior citizens, who are suffering from the effects of aging. There are many reasons why older individuals start to drive more and more slowly over time. One reason is that their joints are stiffer and reflexes slow way down due to arthritis or other limiting conditions. Senior citizens are also prone to poor vision, which is why they may want to go more slowly to take in their surroundings.

Tourists

It can be obvious which drivers are from out of town. When you’re driving around your city, and you see someone driving slowly and making frequent stops, it’s likely that they aren’t from the area. They may be tourists or sight-seers who want to take in the view as they drive along. They may be looking for directions, or they just want to slow down to look at the sights. Make sure to avoid them since their driving patterns are unpredictable.

How to Safely Get Around Slow Drivers

Once you’re able to recognize that you’re dealing with a slow driver on the road, there are several measures you can take to be able to avoid them safely. You can’t control how others drive, but you can at least protect yourself and your vehicle from running into an issue. 

The three biggest pieces of advice are:

  • Flash your lights at the slow driver. This can urge them to either pull over or move a bit faster, reminding them that traffic is stuck behind them.
  • Honk your horn. Gently honking at the driver in front of you might get their attention and encourage them to move out of the way. 
  • Be patient. Sometimes slow drivers know to move over on their own. Just stick it out for a minute and see if they change directions or speed up.

Why Are Old Drivers So Frustrating?

Almost everyone gets upset at elderly drivers who go too slowly. If they are moving more than 10 miles under the speed limit, it can cause a lot of frustration and road confusion. People start to worry about the health and vision of the elderly driver, wondering if they should even be on the road to begin with.

How The Law Combats Slow Drivers?

Slow drivers pose a lot of dangerous risks on the road. While several states have taken action and started legislating rules for slow drivers, there are still accident risks to focus on. States will penalize those who drive too slowly and for repeat offenders, they might have their license suspended.

Slow drivers cause others to have to move into different lanes to pass, putting them into difficult situations. It is difficult to determine the best solution for dealing with slow drivers in a safe and manageable way.

As more and more baby boomers age, this problem will persist, but new technology is on the horizon. In the next 10 years, smart autonomous cars may be finally able to solve the problem of slow drivers. Until then, be patient and share the road with these slow drivers