Differences in the speeds of motor vehicles represent a safety hazard in traffic. In order to clarify the reasons for driving slowly and social interaction between motorists caused by slow driving, interview data were gathered from slowly driving motorists (77 drivers) and comparison data from other motorists (77 drivers). The material was gathered by police working from unmarked cars in the normal course of their traffic supervision duties on Helsinki, Tampere, Turku and Lahti highways between October and December 1989. A slowly driving motorist was defined as a driver who constantly maintained a speed of 68 km/h or lower in an 80 km/h speed zone or a speed of 86 km/h or lower in a 100 km/h speed zone. Only those motorists whose slow driving could not be attributed to any apparent factor (e.g., an 80 km speed plate, a loaded roof rack, or towing a trailer) were included in the data. A larger proportion of the slowly driving motorists were women than in the comparison motorists. They were also older than the comparison motorists. Almost all the slowly driving motorists were in private cars owned by themselves or relatives. The cars were older than those of the comparison motorists. The annual mileage driven by the slowly driving motorists was significantly smaller than that of the comparison motorists. For the motorists in question, slow driving is a conscious choice which they have made on the basis of driving pleasure, safety and vehicle-related considerations. Uncertainty about the handling of the vehicle, responsibility for the safety of accompanying passengers, and the safety of slow driving influenced more women to drive slowly than men. More than a half said that they always drove slowly, and the remainder said that they had some particular reason for driving slowly on the trip in question. The permanently slowly driving motorists emphasized especially the safety and pleasantness of driving slowly. About a half of the slowly driving motorists were leading a queue of vehicles at the time they were stopped by the police. Although almost all of the slowly driving motorists (92%) thought that it was right to give way to faster driving motorists behind them, only less than a half of the lead cars in the queues tried to give others opportunities to overtake them. Drivers who overtook dangerously or drove too closely behind disturbed the slowly driving motorists. About a quarter felt that they were being pressured to change their driving habits. A third of the comparison drivers admitted that they deliberately tried to disturb slowly driving motorists. About a third of the slowly driving motorists and a half of the comparison motorists thought that slow driving had given rise to hazardous situations in traffic. The report proposes measures by which traffic interaction and the risk caused by speed differences could be influenced.

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  • Corporate Authors:

    Central Organization for Traffic Safety, Finland

    Sitratie 7
    FIN-00420 Helsinki,   Finland 
  • Authors:
    • Rajalin, S
  • Publication Date: 1991

Media Info

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Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00620515
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
  • ISBN: 951-560-065-0
  • Report/Paper Numbers: HS-041 155
  • Files: HSL, TRIS, USDOT
  • Created Date: Mar 31 1992 12:00AM