147004
Behind-the-Wheel

Do you impede traffic?

Settling a debate about impeding traffic

I've probably said this before, but when I applied the same tolerance under the speed limit as I did for those driving over the speed limit and factored in the advisory signs for speed, I seldom found a driver going slower.

Having sat and considered for a minute, I cannot recall writing a ticket for slow driving during my traffic-enforcement career.

I do remember stopping the odd driver and suggested that if they felt it necessary to drive at a slower speed and they started leading a parade, they should pull over, stop and let everyone go by.

That courtesy might also be a lifesaver as the probability of an unsafe pass by an impatient follower can be quite high.

B.C.'s slow-driving law forbids driving at a speed that impedes the normal and reasonable movement of traffic, unless a reduced speed is necessary for safety.

What is reasonable?

Ultimately that would be decided by the justice in traffic court, but I can think of many reasons for driving at reduced speed:

  • A learner driver who is not yet confident in the situation
  • A heavy commercial vehicle travelling downgrade
  • Approaching and passing a temporary hazard
  • Driving at night
  • Poor weather conditions
  • Following an erratic driver

Now, we have to consider the variability of that decision. What I consider reasonable might differ from you, also for many reasons. It's not as simple as speeding where merely driving at a speed over the limit is an offence.

An interesting aside here is the Japanese koreisha mark that is displayed by senior drivers.

It is optional at age 70 and mandatory for those 75 and older to indicate that their age could affect their ability to drive.

I wonder if respect for seniors translates to some accommodation being granted to these people?

When there are multiple lanes of travel, slower drivers must use the right hand lanes, even if they are traveling at the speed limit.

Here's a situation where honking at another driver is part of the law.

Except when passing on the right is permitted, if an overtaking driver sounds their horn, you are required to give way to the right and allow them to pass.

What we've discussed so far applies to all highways whether they have single or multiple lanes for a direction of travel.

B.C.'s current law requires slower drivers to move out of the left lane when overtaken by faster traffic. This applies even when the slower driver is traveling at the speed limit.

That said, slower drivers are NOT totally banned from the left lanes. They may use them at lower speeds if they are:

  • Passing someone else in the right lane
  • Allowing someone to merge onto the highway
  • Preparing to turn left
  • Following the requirements of the Slow Down, Move Over rules

So, to the gentleman who asked me to settle a debate over whether a driver could receive a ticket for impeding traffic even if they were going the speed limit on a single lane highway, I would have to answer that it would be very unlikely, but possible if they failed to give way when honked at.

That happens fewer than 80 times a year in our province.

Story URL: https://www.drivesmartbc.ca/speed/settling-debate-about-impeding-traffic

COMMENTS WELCOME

Comments are pre-moderated to ensure they meet our guidelines. Approval times will vary. Keep it civil, and stay on topic. If you see an inappropriate comment, please use the ‘flag’ feature. Comments are the opinions of the comment writer, not of Castanet. Comments remain open for one day after a story is published and are closed on weekends. Visit Castanet’s Forums to start or join a discussion about this story.



More Behind the Wheel articles

About the Author

Tim Schewe is a retired constable with many years of traffic law enforcement experience. He has been writing his column for most of the 20 years of his service in the RCMP.

The column was 'The Beat Goes On' in Fort St. John, 'Traffic Tips' in the South Okanagan and now 'Behind the Wheel' on Vancouver Island and here on Castanet.net.

Schewe retired from the force in January of 2006, but the column has become a habit, and continues.

To comment, please email

To learn more, visit DriveSmartBC



140802
The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

Previous Stories



147026


147109