How slow can you drive below the speed limit?

You’re taking your time during your road trip and glance at the speed limit. The 60-mph sign paces its way past your passenger window as you glance at your dash and realize you’re doing 50mph. While most drivers are wondering how fast they can speed before being thrown a ticket, a select few wonders how slow they can go. This is certainly a twist to the question, but a practical concern. 

One thing to note is that the posted speed limit is the maximum speed limit allowed. In its technical definition, drivers should be driving at a speed below what’s posted. The law states that a driver should not drive a speed that impedes normal or reasonable traffic flow. This is outside of any speeds that are reduced for safe operation or in compliance with the law. With the law in mind, it takes us back to the question of what’s defined as “normal or reasonable”? 

What is “normal” and “reasonable” depends on the type of road you’re on and the traffic flow. On a road with one lane in each direction, going 10-mph is legal, but can impede the flow of traffic. If it’s safe to do so, drive closer to the max speed limit. If you’re driving so slow that a line of more than five cars has queued behind you, it’s best to pull over to the shoulder and allow the drivers to pass you. Pulling-over takes only one minute. And that one minute not only prevents you from causing traffic but also releases the anxiety of seeing a line of drivers impatiently waiting in your rearview mirror. 

The freeway offers a free range of speed, so if driving a bit slower makes you comfortable, that’s a reasonable place to do it. The slow right-hand lane is perfect for drivers who aren’t in a hurry because other drivers can just go around you. However, it’s important not to go too slow on the freeway because a slow vehicle may surprise other drivers. You may be more likely to cause an accident if a driver can’t move around you quickly enough. It’s always smart to base your speed on the natural flow of traffic. 

It’s important not to let drivers flying down the road pressure you into driving too fast. More severe accidents can result from higher speeds. However, you can also find yourself in danger if you aren’t respecting the flow of traffic. It’s always an excellent idea to be comfortable with the speed you’re driving, just not so comfortable that you’re doing 30-mph on the freeway in safe conditions.