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Tennessee Expands “Slow Poke” Law

Slow Drivers Should Stay to the Right on Multi-Lane Highways

On July 1, 2020, Tennessee’s expansion of its “slow poke” law went into effect. This law was designed to speed up traffic on multi-lane highways, and the expansion furthers that purpose by extending the law to cover more of the state’s roadways. Nevertheless, careless drivers continue to cause accidents, and victims should meet with a Manchester, Tennessee car accident lawyer to review whether they pursue compensation through a personal injury claim.

Old Law

The old version of the law applied to divided highways that had at least three lanes going in one direction. The law stated that a driver should only be in the left-hand lane if passing another vehicle in a non-passing lane. The law could be found at TN Code § 55-8-204.

The purpose of the law is to speed along traffic and make travel more efficient. When people are camped out in the passing lane, however, other drivers must weave in and out of traffic to avoid hitting them, which simply increases the risk of an accident.

New Version of Law

Tennessee has expanded the law so that it applies to divided highways with at least two lanes headed in the same direction. This makes sense, since slow drivers are a danger on these roads, as well.

The law contains similar exceptions. It does not apply if inclement weather forces someone to travel in the passing lane or when an obstruction or hazard blocks traffic in the non-passing lane.

Violators will still be charged with a $50 fine. Fortunately, it should be easy enough to stay in non-passing lanes unless you intend to pass.

Slow Drivers are a Public Danger

We tend to think of speeding drivers as a public danger, which is reasonable. After all, fast drivers have less time to take defensive measures to avoid another vehicle or pedestrian. Depending on the road conditions, traveling too fast also increases the chances of losing control of the vehicle.

Nevertheless, slow pokes pose a unique hazard when camped out in the passing lane. For one thing, vehicles in the passing lane are not expecting a car to be traveling so slowly. Consequently, they might not be able brake in time or, even worse, they must swerve into a different lane to avoid a collision and possibly cut off another driver.

Slow drivers can also cause frustration, which might induce road rage or encourage other motorists to take unnecessary risks. Both road rage and reckless driving can cause devastating collisions, sending people to the hospital with serious injuries.

Remember to return to the far-right lane unless you are passing another vehicle. If you do intend to pass, do so quickly. Passing too slowly also creates bottlenecks on the road.

Contact One of Our Manchester Car Accident Lawyers Today

Burch, Morrison, and Stewart has helped countless accident victims begin the process of putting their lives back together. If a slow driver caused your collision, you might have a legal claim. Contact our law firm today so that we can review the surrounding circumstances and decide on the next best steps.

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