Rules of the Road

Rules of the Road: When must a slower car pull over?

Question: When traveling in an area posted “Illegal to delay 5 or more vehicles,” am I obligated to pull over if I am traveling the speed limit and there is a string of cars behind me eager to go faster?

Answer: RCW 46.61.427 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.

The last line in the RCW defines what the legislative intent was. It does not specifically say less than the speed limit, but “less than the normal flow of traffic at the particular time and place.”

Question: What’s the RCW or local ordinance about vehicles having to have their tires no wider than the fender wells? It seems a lot of large monster-style trucks have tires way wider than the fenders, allowing them to throw up more mud, rocks and water than the rest of us. What’s the deal?

Answer: RCW 46.37.500 Fenders or splash aprons (1) Except as authorized under subsection (2) of this section, no person may operate any motor vehicle, trailer, or semitrailer that is not equipped with fenders, covers, flaps, or splash aprons adequate for minimizing the spray or splash of water or mud from the roadway to the rear of the vehicle. All such devices shall be as wide as the tires behind which they are mounted and extend downward at least to the center of the axle.

Subsection 2 deals with collector type vehicles during dry weather.