By Jordan W. Charness
My son has an absolutely delightful, brilliant, beautiful girlfriend. Sarah is also very down to earth, easy-going and generally nice to be around. She seems to have a healthy respect for the law, and one might even call her somewhat straight-laced. That’s why I was so shocked when she told me that she had been pulled over by the police on Saturday night.
Sarah drives a huge SUV. It actually belongs to her mother, who wants to make sure that she will be safe and so insists she drive a big car. The various dings and dents, however, were Sarah’s contribution. But on the bright side, she has never been in a serious accident.
On Saturday night, she was driving over to our house to visit my son. She was driving up a hill in a particularly nice part of town. She was definitely not speeding, and she did not go through any stop signs or red lights. That’s why she was very surprised to see a cop car behind her with its lights on and a police officer motioning for her to pull over.
As instructed, she waited in her car while the police officer checked out her license plate on his computer system. The cop then got out of his car and came over to her. She put on her sweetest smile and asked him what the problem was. The police officer asked her if she was all right. Now she was perplexed.
She replied that of course she was all right but she really wanted to know why he had pulled her over. He told her that he had become concerned because she was driving too slowly! In fact she was driving so slowly that he was afraid that she was either, ill, lost, or about to cause an accident because she could be rear-ended by someone who was not expecting a car to be driving on that type of street at that slow speed.
She assured him that she was all right and that she did not know that it was illegal to drive so slowly.
The police officer was right to pull her over because he had a legitimate concern. While there is generally no minimum speed limit on a city street, most highways do indeed have minimum speed limits. It is very often set at 60 or 70 km/h in a 100 km/h zone. Different provinces have different rules but all of the various speed limits are designed to help ensure a smooth and safe flow of traffic. But still, a minimum speed of travel on a city street is prudent for safety’s sake.
Even maximum speed limits are not always what you see on the sign. It is also an offence to be driving too quickly for the prevalent weather conditions. So, even if a sign says that you can drive at 100 km/h, Mother Nature may disagree. At that point it becomes a question of driving safely, as opposed to just driving at or below the speed limit.
I gently cross-examined Sarah as to the events of that evening. After a bit of prodding she finally admitted that the real reason that she was driving so slowly was because she was actually texting my son at the same time as she was driving! Now texting and driving… that is really illegal.