Driving is something that we all do, and at one point or another, we find ourselves in the midst of rush hour traffic, flying down the freeway. You are in the middle lane, traveling a smidge faster than the vehicle in front of you, so you swing into the next available spot in the left lane. You’re feeling pretty good about this decision, and decide to camp out and drive smoothly forward. That’s when you notice the line of cars slowly forming behind you, and before you know it, you see flashing blue lights.
You’ve been pulled over, and are receiving a ticket. But what for?

It’s called the “Slowpoke Law” in Georgia, and can land you a pretty hefty fine.

Basically, if you are in the left lane, and there are cars speeding up behind you, then you’re impeding the flow of traffic, and it is a form of reckless driving. A lot of other states have also adopted variations of the slowpoke law, and they believe that, with it, they can cut down on a lot of traffic accidents. Studies have shown that there are more collisions when “slow” vehicles are in the “fast” lane and holding up the flow of traffic than from just speeding alone. Not to say that speeding is safe – it’s certainly not a smart decision – but it is safer to keep up with the fast traveling vehicles than go slightly quicker than the cars in the slow lane.

Remember, the distance between you and the car in front of you should be at least 2 (and ideally several) seconds. The same goes for cars behind you. If multiple cars (and not simply one reckless speeder) are responsibly moving speedily in the left lane and staying at an appropriate distance, you are supposed to keep the flow of traffic by maintaining this as well.

So, what can you do? If you’re uncomfortable with driving with the flow of left side traffic, drive in the middle or right lane and only use the left lane for the purpose of passing, if you must. Remember to keep the left side free for speeding vehicles and other traffic, especially if you want to avoid that punishment: $1,000 fine, up to 12 months in jail, three points on your license, AND increased insurance premiums! Better slow than sorry!