Slowpokes on Highway 101 Getting Hood Canal Bridge Detoured Drivers Red Hot Mad


Generally, Highway 101 through Quilcene is a Sunday driver’s paradise, offering pristine views of both the Hood Canal and the Olympic Mountains.

But while the Hood Canal Bridge is closed, it is a get-the-heck-outta-my-way commuter’s thoroughfare.

Traffic on Highway 101 has increased 77 percent since the bridge closed last week, according to the Washington State Patrol. And the number 1 complaint of the newly detoured motorists?


Trooper Krista Hedstrom points out that there are 20 “slow vehicle turnouts” on 101 in Jefferson and Mason counties. And if five or more cars are piling up in your rearview mirror, you’re obliged by law to pull over.
Failure to do so while in the presence of a cop is a $124 fine.

Here’s the RCW: Slow-moving vehicle to pull off roadway


“On a two-lane highway where passing is unsafe because of traffic in the opposite direction or other conditions, a slow moving vehicle, behind which five or more vehicles are formed in a line, shall turn off the roadway wherever sufficient area for a safe turn-out exists, in order to permit the vehicles following to proceed. As used in this section a slow moving vehicle is one which is proceeding at a rate of speed less than the normal flow of traffic at the particular time and place.”

13 thoughts on “Slowpokes on Highway 101 Getting Hood Canal Bridge Detoured Drivers Red Hot Mad

  1. It is about time the State Patrol starts enforcing this law. It has to be about the number one cause of road rage, unnecessary congestion, and dangerous passing.

    Like driving slower than the flow of traffic in the left lane on freeways, people who do this often brag about not being in accidents without thinking of how many they may have caused. Good drivers respect others just like they want to be respected.

  2. Careful. Many people consider doing the posted speed limit to be going “too slow”. Just because YOU left for work 5 minutes late doesn’t mean I have to risk a ticket or an accident.

  3. Mars, Tom makes a good point though. I’m fine if you want to drive the speed limit on the freeway. But the passing lane is not the place to put your car in cruise control and drive (unless you are indeed passing a slower vehicle). On a two lane road, does it really hurt to notice how many cars are behind you and follow the law? Too many slow moving drivers get indignant about this. If you notice five or more cars behind you, my bet (knowing the drivers of Washington) you are more than likely driving slower than the speed limit. Just take the turnout in this case and if the person passing you is indeed speeding, let the professionals at WSP handle this. See? I just wish that WSP does more of this effort on other Highways.

  4. People need to slow down and enjoy the view, no matter where they are. If you don’t wanna risk being behind a slow poke take the bus! People get mad because they left late and blame the slow driver, which in most cases is doing the posted speed limit. Sometimes people are driving slow because they do not know the area and do not wish to cause an accident by stopping suddenly. People slow down and enjoy life, you only have one!

  5. Mars,
    According to the law, the relevant speed for pulling over is if five cars are lined up behind you. My guess would be that if they are lined up behind you, you wouldn’t be proceeding at the “normal rate of speed of “the normal flow of traffic at the particular time and place.”

    If the speed limit is 50 mph and 5 or more people want to drive 52 mph, you are supposed to pull over. It avoids congestion which leads to accidents. It is plain courteous too. Many times I’ve seen patrol cars driving the limit on freeways and backing up all lanes as people are afraid to pass them. They invariably pull off the road when they see that happening. It creates a more dangerous situation than everybody going a few mph over the limit.

    Since it is fairly rare that people pay attention to this law, I always wave a thanks. It is a kind gesture from them and I hope it makes their day brighter, because it sure does mine.

  6. Mars,
    Your response seems so typical of many drivers in Washington who want to act as the State Patrol and regulate the speed of others. That is the job of the Patrol and everyone understands that no tickets are issued for speeds less than 5 mph over the posted speed limit when conditions are normal.

    Simple courtesy should be enough to cause drivers who are slowing many others to move over. For some reason many feel a sense of self-righteousness about others who speed and take a perverse pleasure in regulating the speed of others.

    For safety’s sake, please move over so that impatient people behind you don’t try to pass unsafely.

  7. Tom Rosendale Says: “I am a traffic lawyer…”

    Yeah, and the deer that lurk alongside the road care whether the drivers behind you wanted to go a little faster, which is why you were speeding, which is why you didnt have time to stop, which is why you slammed into the deer, which is why you are dead.

    Screw that.

    Need to get to work on time? Leave on time. If you have to speed to get there, leave earlier.

  8. During commute hours, everybody has five cars behind them! Sometimes the spirit of the law makes more sense than literal application.

  9. The rub here is that if the speed limit is 55 and there are five cars piled up behind someone doing 60 then six cars can get nice little prizes from the State Troopers.

    There’s nothing like spending 20 minutes on the side of the road to help make up time.

  10. Mars Says: “I want to be the leader and I’m the judge of how fast others should go.”

    No one should ever be intimidated to go faster than they are comfortable with, never. At the same time I don’t understand why you wouldn’t slow down in a pull-out lane to let the 5+ cars go by you.

    Oh well, to each his own. I’m not wise enough to determine the reason those behind me want to go faster: late for work, baby being born, needing to get to a rest room, rushing to see a dieing parent, thinking their time is more valuable doing something else, or because they feel more comfortable at a faster speed than me. Even if I’m exceeding the limit, I’ll always pull over for even one car if they flash me and it’s safe.

  11. I always pull over if there is even one behind me and they came up on me quickly. Otherwise it might be two before I do pull over…but my little truck isn’t powerful and isn’t a sportscar. 🙂 Otherwise, even though I’m never in a hurry, I’m always behind someone on the highway/freeway. That three-second thing works pretty well for me, though.

  12. It’s the stupidest law ever passed.
    Arrest the speeders. Arrest the tailgaters. Arrest the goons who pass on double lines.
    Many slobs tailgate so close behind that you don’t dare put on the brakes so you can pull over.

Leave a Reply to Tom Rosendale Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Before you post, please complete the prompt below.

Please enter the word MILK here: