If someone is having difficulty merging into traffic when they've just come off a four-lane highway like an interstate highway or the bypass, is that considered impeding the flow of traffic?


I pose that rhetorical question because I've wondered how folks might feel about a very specific intersection in Owensboro. It's the westbound offramp from the bypass onto Frederica Street. And I ask about this particular spot because it seems some drivers--particularly those not from this city--are somewhat intimidated by it. And I can understand why.

As a motorist, you're merging onto a street that, at that point, has a 35 MPH speed limit and you're coming from a road where the speed limit is 65 MPH. Coupled with the traffic light at Frederica and Time Drive, I can see the issue. There IS a way to keep moving to make it easier to merge into traffic, but for most, it's just easier to stop and wait until NO vehicles are approaching.

Google Street View
Google Street View

Based on no specific incident, and knowing how frustrated some get when they're trying to get somewhere in a hurry, I wondered if this might be considered impeding or disrupting the flow of traffic, according to Kentucky law.

It is most definitely not the latter.


And it's probably not the former either, based on what Ky. Rev. Stat. § 189.390/Subsection 7 says about safety.

"A person shall not drive a motor vehicle at a speed that will impede or block the normal and reasonable movement of traffic, except when reduced speed is necessary for safe operation or in compliance with the law."

And what the statute says clearly indicates to me that in a situation like the one I've described, motorists are playing it safe.

Feel like driver's ed class yet? This demonstration of the classic "don't block an intersection" falls into the impediment category:

I can't speak for law enforcement, but in a city the size of Owensboro, it may not be considered enough to pull someone over and issue a warning or a ticket. I say THAT because, in larger metropolitan areas, I have seen the police pull someone over because they were driving too slow. But in that case, it was a busy interstate highway. While those of us in smaller-town America might think that's egregious, those in big cities are probably used to it...and are maybe even relieved that officers will write those kinds of tickets.


But if you're wondering what would constitute a DISRUPTION of the flow of traffic--something that likely WOULD get you ticketed--here's what Kentucky law has to say on THAT matter.

“A person is guilty of obstructing a highway or other public passage when having no legal privilege to do so he, alone or with other persons, intentionally or wantonly renders any highway or public passage impassable without unreasonable inconvenience or hazard.” Ky. Rev. Stat. § 525.140

That's pretty cut and dried if you ask me. Essentially, don't stop your vehicle in the middle of the road, disallowing the passage of traffic, and expect to get away with it.

Now check this out. It's an interesting collection of simulations of traffic flow at a four-way intersection under 30 different circumstances. (I should study this; maybe it will FINALLY help me master the 56/81 roundabout.)

I bring all this up because I have ridden with friends who live in large cities and they have just gone BALLISTIC at slow drivers and have BEGGED them to be pulled over. I disagreed wholeheartedly. Why ruin someone's day when they're doing something that is merely inconveniencing you? Is it worth it?

And speaking to that situation, I don't know anyone who lives here who I've heard express that desire.

Smaller-town mindsets win the day.

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