gordon.dewis.ca - Random musings from Gordon

Subscribe

Why must they drive so slowly on the Queensway???

March 11, 2010 @ 16:55 By: gordon Category: General, Out and about

I’ve been grumbling about this for a while now and a couple of recent incidents have prompted me to stop grumbling about it in private and rant about it in public on the Internet (again), so here goes…

If you’ve driven on the Queensway, you’ve almost certainly encountered slow drivers puttering along below the posted speed limit for no obvious reason. The roads are clean and dry, it’s not raining or snowing, and there isn’t an accident or something else causing traffic to slow down.

They’re. Just. Driving. Slowly.

And chances are that they’re in lanes other than the right-most one.

“So what?” you might ask. “As long as they’re travelling between 60 km/h and 100 km/h they’re not breaking the law, so suck it up.”

No. Bzzt. Wrong.

The Highway Traffic Act has this to say about slower traffic keeping to the right:

Slow vehicles to travel on right side

147. (1) Any vehicle travelling upon a roadway at less than the normal speed of traffic at that time and place shall, where practicable, be driven in the right-hand lane then available for traffic or as close as practicable to the right hand curb or edge of the roadway. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8, s. 147 (1).

The maximum speed for the Queensway is 100 km/h. In my opinion, unless there are extenuating circumstances, such as adverse weather or an accident causing the traffic to slow down, there is no reason for you not to be travelling at this speed. And, if for some reason, you are travelling slower than 100 km/h, there is almost no reason for you not to be in the right-most lane. (I say “almost” because there are some points where the right-most lane has no choice but to exit, such as at the Kent Street exit heading east, or Pinecrest heading west.) The Highway Traffic Act  has this to say about slow moving vehicles that are impeding traffic:

Unnecessary slow driving prohibited

132. (1) No motor vehicle shall be driven on a highway at such a slow rate of speed as to impede or block the normal and reasonable movement of traffic thereon except when the slow rate of speed is necessary for safe operation having regard to all the circumstances. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8, s. 132 (1).

If you ‘re in the second lane from the right, have no one in front of you, cars passing you on the left and right, and a line of cars behind you because you’re puttering along at 80 km/h, you’re impeding traffic.

The thing that puzzles me is why. Why are these drivers driving so slowly on a 400-series highway?

  • Are they not comfortable driving at speed? If so, then they have no business being on the highway and they should seriously consider taking some remedial driver’s ed to address these insecurities.
  • Is it a side-effect of the graduated licensing system like I speculated about a few years ago?
  • Are their cars not able to drive that fast? I doubt it because many of the cars are recent models that appear to be in otherwise fine condition.

Perhaps someone can help me understand this phenomenon because it really makes me want to report them to *OPP (*677) whenever I see them.

13 Responses to “Why must they drive so slowly on the Queensway???”


  1. Paul Tomblin says:

    I remember a humour column in the Citizen many years ago leading off with a fake letter from a reader that started “I was practicing parallel parking in the left lane on the Queensway the other day…”. People going too damn slow on 417 has been a problem since I first moved to Ottawa in 1987 or so, and probably long before that. I was used to Toronto at the time, where if you weren’t going 140 km/hr in a blizzard in a construction zone you had no business being on 401.

    One of my friends at Waterloo had a father who was an OPP officer who claimed that he’d given out plenty of tickets to people for driving only a little bit over the speed limit in the left lane on the QEW in Hamilton. As far as he was concerned, obstructing traffic was obstructing traffic, no matter what the speed limit was.

  2. Markus says:

    Yes, slow drivers must be on the right side. But even there they manage to annoy. One of my pet peeves is the ones that are in an offramp until the last 20m or so and then do a last-instant lane change to the left, so as to never leave the safety of the right edge of the road for very long. At 70-80km/h of course…

    • gordon says:

      Oh, don’t get me started about slow mergers! And the thing that gets me is that I’ll be bopping along at the limit and one of these slow mergers will come up the ramp and “merge” at a significantly lower speed and then immediately shift one or two lanes to the left at the same rate.

      And if you’re unlucky enough to be stuck behind one of these slowpokes when you’re trying to merge properly…. ARGH!!!

  3. GG says:

    Slow Queensway drivers is almost as annoying as Ottawa drivers who don’t signal when turning at an intersection.

  4. gordon says:

    Paul said:

    One of my friends at Waterloo had a father who was an OPP officer who claimed that he’d given out plenty of tickets to people for driving only a little bit over the speed limit in the left lane on the QEW in Hamilton. As far as he was concerned, obstructing traffic was obstructing traffic, no matter what the speed limit was.

    That’s actually not unreasonable, though I bet the people he ticketed felt otherwise.

    GG said:

    Slow Queensway drivers is almost as annoying as Ottawa drivers who don’t signal when turning at an intersection.

    Yup. And the people who think that the four-way stop in my neighbourhood is merely a suggestion.

  5. Ian says:

    The one thing I hate more than slow drivers, is when I’m driving in the left lane passing slower traffic, and in my rearview I can see a douche weaving between lanes, surely speeding, cutting people off by only a few feet so that he can be just slightly ahead of the pack.

    Really speeding is as annoying as slow driving, and far more dangerous.

    I always try to box them in when possible and without endangering anyone.

    • Robert Peterson says:

      You sound like an obnoxious person. If someone is able to weave between lanes, by definition that means that someone in one of the left lanes is not moving over to the right (otherwise it wouldn’t be possible to weave in front of them). Why would you box someone in? To prove that you’re some guardian of the speed limit?

      • gordon says:

        Actually, being able to weave in and out of traffic doesn’t necessarily mean that someone is not moving over to the right who should. If most of the vehicles on the road are travelling at the speed limit and you weave your way through the gaps left by drivers maintaining a safe following distance (3 seconds is the standard) in an attempt to overtake everyone then you are almost certainly the one driving unsafely, not the other drivers.

    • Paul says:

      You shouldn’t being blocking people. Once you have passed a vehicle, then you must move over to the right lane. People like you are dangerous and you should not be allowed to operate a motor vehicle. You should only be able to travel using a bus, taxi, or plane. A car is not for you. Having you off the road would make everyone safer including you.

  6. Stephen says:

    The only problem I have with the Queensway are the cars that don’t drive up to 100km/h in the merge lane; I notice this mostly on the Woodroffe onramp going westbound.

    • gordon says:

      Ironically, not two hours after posting this, I found myself stuck behind someone who was stuck behind a car puttering up the Parkdale on-ramp and barely hit 80 km/h before the end of the ramp. Argh!

  7. bardew says:

    I am sure that many of the slow drivers feel that they are safer. However, if you plot the probability of having an accident against the speed of a vehicle it has been found over many years you will get a U shaped curve with the safest speed being very close to the median speed on the roadway. This means that if you are 20 km below the median speed you are just as dangerous as the car 20 k over the median.

  8. pete browne says:

    Just like most city drivers rush to the next red light, most Queensway drivers rush to the next traffic wave.

    Sometimes, ‘slow’ drivers understand the capacity of a roadway. Be patient behind then and discover how far they(and you!) can travel without using brakes.

    Heaven forbid, we lose our position in the queue.


Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. gordon.dewis.ca | Brace yourself for a little sleep deprivation (March 12, 2010 @ 18:01)
  2. gordon.dewis.ca | Queensway drivers talking on the phone (March 02, 2011 @ 08:01)

Leave a Reply

*