Most of us are familiar with the penalties associated with driving too fast, but driving too slowly can be problematic as well. In most cases, Virginia drivers must move with the speed of traffic or run the risk of being ticketed.
Understanding Virginia's Minimum Speed Limit Law
Virginia law states, "No person shall drive a motor vehicle at such a slow speed as to impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic except when reduced speed is necessary for safe operation or in compliance with law." This means you must drive with the flow of traffic, unless weather conditions or other extenuating circumstances create a need for a reduced speed.
Although Virginia doesn't have an official minimum speed limit, the state gives the Commissioner of Highways or local authorities the ability to set a minimum speed limit for any road where drivers are found to be consistently traveling slow enough to impede the normal flow of traffic. Minimum speed limits are required to be posted on the roadway with the appropriate signage before they can be enforced.
Defending Against a Ticket for Driving Too Slowly
Law enforcement officers are much more likely to ticket someone for driving too fast than for driving too slow, given the fact that the law typically leaves ample room for interpretation as to the correct speed a driver must travel.
However, if you are ticketed for driving too slowly, you have a few options for a defense:
- You needed to slow down because you were preparing to turn left.
- You were trying to pass a slower-moving farm tractor, an oversized motor home, or another type of slow- moving vehicle in the left lane and were prepared to return to the slow lane as soon as it was safe.
- Your speed was in fact appropriate for the road conditions, due to factors such as wind, fog, or rain.
- It wasn't safe for you to go any faster due to an issue with your vehicle, such as a glare from a reflected window that prevented you from seeing traffic clearly.
- Your speedometer wasn’t accurate.
To learn more about how to handle this type of traffic ticket, please contact attorney Charles V. Hardenbergh to schedule a free consultation and case evaluation.