Tennessee House Lawmakers Approve “Slow Poke Bill”

Posted in Car Accident,Personal Injury,Tennessee Accident Law on March 8, 2016

Tennessee House Lawmakers Approve “Slow Poke Bill”

A bill that would make it illegal for drivers to use the left lanes of traffic on highways and interstates for anything other than passing was approved by House lawmakers in the Tennessee legislature.

According to a report by WKRN.com, the bill—HB1416—passed with 69 votes for and 13 votes against. The bill will now move to the state Senate for further voting on Monday, March 14. If approved in the Senate, the bill will move to Governor Bill Haslam’s desk, where he can sign it into Tennessee law.

If the bill is approved, anyone caught by police violating the law by driving for extended periods of time in the “fast lanes” without passing other vehicles would receive a ticket and a $50 fine. A total of 29 other states in the country also have similar laws to dissuade drivers from backing up traffic by driving slowly in passing lanes.

The sponsor of the bill says that it is designed to promote safety and efficient traffic flow on highways and interstates throughout the Volunteer State.

How Should You Safely Pass a Vehicle on a Highway or Interstate?

Tennessee’s proposed “Slow Poke Law” would help clear the far left lanes of highways and interstates for their intended purpose—passing slower vehicles and traffic. By keeping those lanes clear at all times, traffic would flow more smoothly and fast drivers would be less likely to cause accidents due to being able to clear slower traffic without resorting to risky maneuvers.

Even if you normally drive at the speed limit and stay in the right lanes of traffic, there’s a chance you will need to pass a slower vehicle. If that happens, following the tips below can help you complete the maneuver safely and reduce your risk of being involved in an auto accident:

  • Activate your turn signal and check the left lane before moving over.

If you’re behind a slow vehicle and need to pass, switch on your left turn signal and check the lane next to you by using your mirrors and a quick head check. If you’re crossing multiple lanes of traffic, do this before you merge into each lane to verify that you won’t sideswipe or strike any vehicles in your path.


  • Change lanes quickly and smoothly.

Once you’ve verified that the lane is clear, begin maneuvering your vehicle into the empty space of the left lane on the highway or interstate. Do this quickly but smoothly, and keep your hands firmly on the wheel as you shift lanes.

  • Begin accelerating as soon as you enter the open lane.

After you have completely moved out from behind the vehicle you’re attempting to pass, begin accelerating and preparing to overtake the vehicle. Increase your speed to around 10 mph faster than the vehicle you’re planning on passing. If increasing your speed this much puts you above the speed limit, don’t attempt to pass.

  • Check your mirrors and shift lanes back to the right once you see the vehicle’s headlights.

As you accelerate and begin to overtake the vehicle, check your mirrors. As soon as you see the vehicle’s headlights come into clear view, you can begin shifting lanes back to the right. However, make sure you keep your speed up until you’ve both cleared the vehicle and put sufficient distance between its front-end and your rear bumper.

  • Let off the gas and move back into your original lane if the other driver speeds up.

Some drivers will suddenly speed up if they notice other vehicles are in the process of passing them. If that happens while you’re attempting to pass a vehicle, let off the gas and shift back into your original lane. Attempting to pass a speeding vehicle may require traveling far above the speed limit, putting you at risk of an accident or a speeding violation.

At Matt Hardin Law, we encourage drivers to always follow the speed limit and remain within the flow of traffic to stay safe on highways and interstates. But we also know that driving behind vehicles that are traveling at low speeds can also put you at risk when driving near high-speed traffic—and that means passing and temporarily increasing your speed is sometimes necessary. Following the tips above can help you successfully pass other vehicles on high-speed roadways.

If you or someone you love was injured in an accident on a highway or interstate in Tennessee, our Nashville auto accident attorneys can investigate and determine if it was caused by the other driver’s negligence or carelessness. If so, we can file a claim to help you recover compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, vehicle repair expenses, and more. To find out how we can put our two decades of experience to work for you, dial (615) 200-1111 or complete a free online consultation form.