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Can Minnesota Drivers Can Be Ticketed for Driving Too Slowly?

So long as you are not on the freeway or any other road with a distinct posted minimum speed limit, you can go as slow as you please without worry of being ticketed, right? Sadly, even if there is no posted minimum speed limit, if you are going too slow, you are just as likely to get pulled over as you are for going too fast. Just like going over a posted speed limit, going well below it can be dangerous, and the police may take action in order to keep you and other drivers safe.

When you are going well above the speed limit, typically it is because you are in a hurry. However, sometimes other factors are in play that may result in something more serious than a ticket. Just like with speeding, if you are driving slowly during a time when everyone else can maintain the posted speed, a police officer is going to think there is something wrong. When an officer spots a slow poke on the road, here what they think could be causing your slow driving:

  • Impairment due to drugs, alcohol, or prescription medication
  • Vision problems
  • Physical impairment that impedes driving skills
  • Lack of traffic law knowledge (typically from driving underage)
  • Mental or emotional problems (road rage, memory loss, metal break, ect)

Each and every one of the above that could be causing your slow driving is reason enough for any officer to pull you over and evaluate whether you should be on the road. Depending on your driving history and your condition, you may get off with just a warning, but punishments can range all the way up to being taken off the road.

However, pulling you over due to going below the speed limit is not just up to the officer’s judgement, it is in Minnesota law. Here is what Minnesota State Statute 169.15 says about impeding traffic:

“No person shall drive a motor vehicle at such a slow 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 or except when the vehicle is temporarily unable to maintain a greater speed due to a combination of the weight of the vehicle and the grade of the highway.”

Dangers of Slow Driving

Why should a police officer pull you over for driving slow, it is safer, right? Unfortunately for you, slower is not always safer. Speed limits are posted to keep drivers safe and to keep the flow of traffic moving at a reasonable pace. If you are going 30 though a 55 MPH zone, you are going to get someone hurt and it will be your fault.

When moving at a slow pace, you probably won’t get into a serious accident yourself unless you are somehow impaired, but people going the posted speed limit are more likely to get into an accident by running into your car.

It is generally agreed upon by drivers that going the speed limit is the rule, so when you are going slower, they can come up quicker on you than expected. In a perfect world, they will realize this and adjust so that they don’t hit you, but the world isn’t perfect. By going below the speed limit, you make it more likely that someone will rear end you which can cause a devastating chain reaction accident. While, yes, they should have been looking out, at the same time you should have been going the posted speed. Depending on the circumstances, either one of you can be to blame for the accidents, something that makes getting compensation for damages much more difficult.

Exceptions to the Rule

If you like to drive slowly for safety reasons, you won’t always get pulled over. If it is a clear and sunny day where drivers should have no problem staying the speed limit, your slow driving will draw some attention from law enforcement. However, there is one exception where it is okay to drive well below the speed limit – weather. If going through a thick patch of fog, rain that comes down in sheets, a winter blizzard, or any other extreme weather conditions, a police officer definitely won’t pull you over for going below the speed limit, and not just because they probably can’t see you either. During bouts of extreme weather, it is safer to drive at a slower pace as well as both legal and encouraged. However, it is still important to know when it might be better to pull over altogether rather than chug along at three miles per hour.

Even if you are on a freeway or interstate with a posted minimum speed limit, if the weather is bad, you can drive below the minimum if that is what you feel safe doing in patches of bad weather. However, unlike driving through residential areas, on interstate roads you will need to stay in the right lane or risk being ticketed or hit by faster drivers that traverse the left lane.

If you have been in an accident as a result of someone else’s slow driving on a day where the posted speed limit should have been obeyed, you may have some legal action available to you. Contact us today to learn what the Swor & Gatto Law Office can do to help get the justice you deserve when it comes to slow pokes on the road.