Ask NRMA: Is driving beneath the speed limit illegal?

Driving a car slowly
Whenever this topic comes up, we receive a lot of messages from NRMA Members who get frustrated by slow drivers. So let’s clarify what exactly are the road rules when it comes to driving under the speed limit, travelling in the right-hand lane on roads and tailgating.

Driving slowly

According to the NSW Road Rules you cannot drive so abnormally slowly that you cause an obstruction. An example of driving ‘abnormally slowly’ would be, if you were travelling at a speed of 20 kilometres per hour on a road with a speed limit of 80 kilometres per hour, then you could be causing an obstruction to other drivers if there is no reason for you to drive at that speed on that road.

Keeping left

Drivers are to keep to the left on a multi-lane road where the speed limit is over 80 kilometres per hour and are only allowed to drive in the right lane in certain circumstances:

  • Overtaking
  • Turning right
  • Making a U-turn from the centre of the road
  • There is a ‘Left lane must turn left sign’ or left traffic lane arrows apply and the driver is not turning left
  • The driver is required to drive in the right lane if traffic signs require a particular kind of vehicle to drive in the marked lane indicated by the signs.
  • Avoiding an obstruction
  • Traffic in every lane is congested
  • The right lane is a special purpose lane in which the driver is permitted to drive
  • There are only two marked lanes and the left lane is a slow vehicle turn out lane.
  • If a ‘Keep Left Unless Overtaking’ sign is displayed, then you must keep left regardless of the speed limit (unless overtaking).

Tailgating

Tailgating is a definite no-no and the road rules make this clear: “A driver must drive a sufficient distance behind a vehicle travelling in front of the driver so the driver can, if necessary, stop safely to avoid a collision with the vehicle.

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