Slow Driving

Slow DriverHave you ever touched on the subject of drivers doing 5 to 15 km/h below the posted speed limit? Slow driving is extremely annoying.

The passing lanes are usually not available due to Murphy's Law, and the 4 lane stretches are great when you find one, but never when you need them!

The oddest thing happens on these 4 lane stretches; the folks who were going under the speed limit suddenly go over the speed limit!

Image of slow driving with others honking behind

I will add one observation to this reader's, and that is drivers of vehicles like these either have never used their rear view mirrors or are completely oblivious of the parade behind them.

Self Examination

This is something that I notice in myself as well. When I am behind a driver that is going slower it bothers me. Sometimes I am able to reduce my speed and follow along and sometimes the itch to pass just has to be scratched.

My mood is often an indicator of which of the two choices I will make. A bad mood can lead to a bad choice so it is worth thinking twice when you recognize this in yourself at the time.

The Law on Slow Driving

Slow driving is considered differently in law than speeding is. With speeding, if you are over the limit you are in breach of the law. However, if driving under the speed limit is necessary for the safe operation of your vehicle you have an excuse for impeding traffic. That is, until an officer tells you to speed up or to remove your vehicle from the highway until the officer gives permission to continue.

In short, there is no offence in driving slowly in British Columbia unless you do not have a safety reason or are driving contrary to the officer's instructions. Then it would be a $121 fine with 3 penalty points.

Rules Differ Outside BC

This is one of those laws that can differ depending on which province or state you happen to be driving in. Pay attention to signs on hills or ask for advice before you go.

Slow Driving? Keep Right!

If you do choose to drive more slowly than other traffic, remember that slower traffic must keep right and if you have the opportunity to use a slow vehicle pullout you must use it.

This brings us to courtesy and self preservation. Obstructing traffic where there is only one lane of traffic for each direction will eventually provoke someone into passing, perhaps in a manner that is dangerous due to their impatience. If you have to drive slowly, keep an eye on those behind. Pull off the road and stop frequently to let others by and then continue at the pace you require to be safe.


When I did speed enforcement I allowed the same room under the speed limit that I allowed over it. I also kept an eye on advisory signs and rarely found a driver outside on the low side but frequently found them outside on the high side. Some slow driving complaints may be made by drivers who need to relax a bit behind the wheel themselves.

There Might be a Good Reason

We tend to look at this subject with only one set of eyes, forgetting what it was like when we were new drivers and not yet knowing how old age will affect us. We also have many different opinions of what might be safe in the circumstances. If we all co-operate, this should not be more than a few moments interruption of what you want to do.

A Bit of Humour

Share This Article

Well policing again is at odds with what ICBC says and regulates during a driver exam.  If a person on a road test is doing roughly 10+ km under the speed limit AND they are holding up traffic WHICH causes another vehicle to try to pass, honk or continually flash their lights (Make it apparent that they are annoyed and could precipitate a road rage incident or illegal manouever) then the examinee would fail the road test due to the dangerous action of impeding traffic.  It happens frequently on road test (this is one of the common reasons that I would disqualify an examinee).  The speed limit is just that...a set speedx for that road under normal driving conditions.  Of course if the conditions are adverse then allowances are made to a reasonable amount.

Interesting to know this, however, don't be so quick to say that policing is at odds with what ICBC says. ICBC policy and the law are two entirely different things. You are guided by ICBC policy when doing a road test. The police are guided by the law when they do enforcement. As you will see with you read the Motor Vehicle Act section on slow driving, the driver is allowed to travel at a speed slower than the limit if it is necessary to be safe.

In reply to by DriveSmartBC

My point was that excessively slow driving is considered to be a dangerous action in some cases but not all by ICBC.  If you see my last sentence in the original posting it clearly points to this as an acceptable allowance during a road test and optherwise.

Many officers, not all, frown heavily on doing a turn in the middle of a street....yet we test on 3 point turns.  The law an its interpretation is open to to just that: Interpretation.  The police are required to know so many ofthe MVA regulations that for many it can only be a surface knowledge so to speak. Don't misinterpret what I mean by any means please; I could not be paid enough to do their job most of the time and have the utmost respect for the majority of the officers cleaning up the mess society leaves behind.

Nothing Gets to me more then Oblivious/Entitled Drivers. I say it like that because I sometimes wonder if people that live on a road drive slower because they think it's their road. People that drive on a thoroughfare road will drive slower as they think it helps control the flow of traffic on their road.

As this discussion touched on too the ones that don't pull over on a two lane blacktop with a train of 10+ cars behind them is simply mind boggling to me. Anyways, just wanted to add my 2 cents. Please pull over, slow drivers..

Slow drivers are often elderly people & perhaps should not be driving at all. If observed several times by police a corresponding notice should be given to the driver before something bad happens as a result of his / her bad driving habits.

See some replies go back to 2010 but seem to remember this about a year back? Or is that just my old age showing up:)

I will quote part of the MVA that deals with this and also comment that I am sure back in the 50's there was reference to the number of cars behind you which was either 3 or 5 before you were required to pull over when safe and let people go by.

Slow driving

145 (1) A person must not drive a motor vehicle at so slow a speed as to impede or block the normal and reasonable movement of traffic, except when reduced speed is necessary for safe operation or in compliance with law. (2) If the driver of a motor vehicle is driving at so slow a speed as to impede or block the normal and reasonable movement of traffic, a peace officer may require the driver to increase his or her speed, or to remove the motor vehicle from the roadway to the nearest suitable place and to refrain from causing or allowing the motor vehicle to move from that place until directed to do so by a peace officer."

I have only once seen the police pull over a slow driver and in that case it was two motor homes pulling large boats behind them. They were travelling so close together that you would have to pass both at once and the passing stretches were too short.

See comments about slow drivers only being 10 or 15 below the posted speed but I find that 20 - 30 most common especially with people pulling trailer and motor homes and often up to 40+K. There is no excuse for this.

I also find it extremely annoying and you see this frequently on long weekends where the cops have set up a speed trap along a passing lane. If they really were interested in safety what they would do is clock the speed of a vehicle with a line-up of vehicles behind them when they enter the passing lanes and then see how much they increase their speed. Then charge them with impeding traffic.

I see it every long weekend where a person travelling 40k below the posted speed limit as soon as they hit the passing lane increase their speed to the posted limit only to slam on the brakes when they go back to the two lane section to continue on along at 40 below. Meanwhile anybody that tries to pass gets picked off for speeding and some even have their vehicles impounded for doing 40 over.

If safety was a concern the police would charge the person impeding the traffic with slow driving and if they enter the passing lane at 40 below impound their vehicles. That 40k should be a two way street. Above and below.

I also wonder how many cops ever pull behind someone pulling a trailer and check to see if they can see their mirrors? During the summer I don't take a trip of any distance without seeing this. If their mirrors are not sticking out far enough when sighting down the trailer they cannot see you. Pull them over issue a ticket and have them rectify the problem before they are allowed to proceed.

NWSanta brings up people driving along a highway to home. See this all the time. People driving out to their own place 10 - 15K out of a small community. Too be honest I cannot get into their head-space but I think it could be they are only going a short distance so why do the speed limit?

It is like they are driving down Kingsway or the Lougheed highway. They are completely lost in space and oblivious to what is going on around them. Just can't figure out why everyone is in such a rush. The fact you may have another 8 hours of driving before you get to your destination never enters their head.

Waited till this weeks article was posted as apparently because I continuously bring up the same shortcomings which I see in highway safety enforcement that people do not post.

This weekend (July 15-17, 2022) was my first drive in a Tesla model 3 from Bowen Island to Golden, BC and back. It has an amazingly long range adaptive cruise control and Autopilot, which is awesome for stop and go on the mad rush Sunday back into the lower mainland. We drove the posted speed limit and a few times were safley forced to go over by 5kph in certian cases of courteous and defensive passing. There were a few knocked over speed signs and cone sections in pipeline constuction zones. The Tesla navigation map repeats the posted speed and was only 80% accurate with so much temporary signage on the route. Here are some speed check metrics we recorded:

96% of all drivers encountered were speeding over 10kph posted and a 100% complete disreard (by even commercial buses) for the hope-chiliwack variable speed control signage for reducing jams.

88% failed to signal or shoulder check during sloppy lane changes, half of those drivers had tinted driver and front passenger windows or no front license plate (Alberta).

27% followed too closely,  half of those drivers used my rear as a pace car within one half second spacing, the other half aggresively accelerated right up (15 feet) to my tail flashed and swerved barreling by with black smoke billowing out of the tailpipe.

Of course, staying in the leftmost or middle lane at the posted speed limit was most comfortable, autopilot maintained perfect position in the lane at all times, and was a better driver than me in all cases except a few odd ones. Where there are intersections on the highway with a posted speed limit of 60kph, several locals use close call left truns and rely on the heavy oncomming traffic to brake or swerve on shoulder. Tesla autopilot sees this as an immenent emergency side impact colision with the crawling vehicle in front and performs threshhold breaking. The commercial tailgater almost rear ended me. Times are changing for the ludites.

The final strech was a majority of chaotic aggressive drivers and in some cases dangerous, we used the HOV lane at the posted speed and another commercial bus was speeding and tailing me for the entire 50km or so of HOV on Highway 1. Two drivers swerved in front, with their head out the window and their left middle finger trying to get an evasive reaction. "Is driving the speed limit slow driving?" my copilot asked. I don't think so...