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Old 18.11.2020, 17:56
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Driving too slow in a 50 km/h zone

There are low speed regulations for highways. This is a strange question for many, but I still wish to clear this out for myself:


Is there any regulation against driving 35 km/h on the inner city road, where the top speed limit is 50 km/h?


It is important for me, since there are a couple of places in the city of Zürich, where I don't feel safe to drive 50km/h, although it is allowed an some drivers go there even faster. For example here:
https://goo.gl/maps/EdAdbCyaescXhr7J8
A narrow street, wide tree trunks, sometimes cars and bikes parked on a curb, some banners and, of courses, roadworks a couple hundred meters ahead. Chances to hit a pedestrian or an animal are high (a bad visibility and a close proximity) and it is not worth getting a couple seconds earlier to the following clogged crossroads. How slow am I allowed to go on this or similar road without breaking any official rules?
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Old 18.11.2020, 18:12
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Re: Driving too slow in a 50 km/h zone

Somebody might be along with the actual law shortly, but 50 is the limit, if it's not safe to do 50 go slower. I can't see any reason for there to be a regulation stating that you can't go slower as long as you are not holding traffic up with no reason.

In my own experience, I've been beeped at for slowing down before blind pedestrian crossings, but screw them, you stay safe.
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Old 18.11.2020, 18:18
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Re: Driving too slow in a 50 km/h zone

No there is no minimum speed by default.

Switzerland also uses the minimum speed signage where required (white number on blue circle), but I've never actually seen one.

Motorways can only be used by vehicles capable of a sustained 80 km/h, but there isn't a law that says you have to do this speed.

I think you could be stopped for dangerous driving if you go very slowly on a motorway, but I couldn't find this specifically covered by the law, but of course the law can't cover all dangerous situations.
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Old 18.11.2020, 18:29
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Re: Driving too slow in a 50 km/h zone

Have you seen the movie 'Speed'? The roads through Zurich are not like that.
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Old 18.11.2020, 18:46
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Re: Driving too slow in a 50 km/h zone

A friend of mine was driving trough tunnel of San Bernardino going 60km/h (it's 80km/h) if i remember the story right. She was stopped few kms later by the police, asking her why she was driving so slow. She didn't get any fine, but they were not happy.
I guess someone called the police and they checked if she was drunk or something. She was with small kids in the car.
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Old 18.11.2020, 18:47
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Re: Driving too slow in a 50 km/h zone

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Is there any regulation against driving 35 km/h on the inner city road, where the top speed limit is 50 km/h?
The posted or default speed limit sets the upper limit. So what about going bellow it?

Let us check what the Swiss Road Act says:
Quote:
Art. 32 Speed

1 The speed must always be adapted to the circumstances, in particular to the characteristics of the vehicle and load, as well as to the road, traffic and visibility conditions. Where the vehicle could impede traffic, it must be driven slowly and, if necessary, stopped, especially in front of unclear areas, road junctions that are not clearly visible and level crossings.

2 The Federal Council shall limit the speed of motor vehicles on all roads.1

3 The maximum speed set by the Federal Council may only be reduced or increased for certain stretches of road by the competent authority on the basis of an expert opinion. The Federal Council may provide for exceptions

Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)
the traffic rule ordinance further says:
Quote:
Art. 4 Adequate speed

1 The driver may only drive as fast as he can stop within the visible distance; where crossing is difficult, he must be able to stop within half the visible distance.

2 He must drive slowly where the road is covered with snow, ice, wet leaves or grit, especially if trailers are being pulled.

3 The driver must moderate his speed and, if necessary, stop when children are not paying attention to traffic on the road*.

4 ..

5 Without compelling reasons, the driver may not drive so slowly that it hinders a smooth flow of traffic.

Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)
So here you have what is defined in the relevant laws. Unlike in the US were every single corner or curve has its own speed limit usually only a default speed is set and the rest is up to the driver. Speed is usually only lowered bellow the default if there is good reason (some might argue that even that is beyond the reasonable and there are way too many spped signs).

What about your particular case? Schweighofstrasse, Triemli side? A regular road. Nothing special and not particularly narrow. Furthermore, one which might be used for driving tests as the StVA is located at the other end. In my opinion going 35 km/h on Schweighosstrasse is a nuisance for other drives and you will fail the driving test if you would do so.
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Old 18.11.2020, 18:55
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Re: Driving too slow in a 50 km/h zone

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What about your particular case? Schweighofstrasse, Triemli side? A regular road. Nothing special and not particularly narrow. Furthermore, one which might be used for driving tests as the StVA is located at the other end. In my opinion going 35 km/h on Schweighosstrasse is a nuisance for other drives and you will fail the driving test if you would do so.



If the road is as the OP described, then I'd say you're rather more likely to fail a test (or worse) if he didn't slow down.
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Old 18.11.2020, 19:04
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Re: Driving too slow in a 50 km/h zone

Looks like a normal suburban street. It's even large enough for the bus that appears in the google maps photos.

I'd take the advice of a very experienced driver, meaning driving behind the bus and check how fast it goes. If the bus goes at 50 km/h.....time for reflection.
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Old 18.11.2020, 19:13
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Re: Driving too slow in a 50 km/h zone

That road seems quite large with good visibility and the main road for the area. Pedestrians have crossing with traffic lights, large pavement and partial separation from the road thanks to the trees, therefore it looks like a road designed for 50 kmh, not 30. Trees are known to make drivers feel like the road is narrower than it is and that they are going faster than they really are, you are probably just responding to this element of street design.
However, you are correct to slow down to 30 near construction works esp. during working time.
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Old 18.11.2020, 19:41
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What about your particular case? Schweighofstrasse, Triemli side? A regular road. Nothing special and not particularly narrow. Furthermore, one which might be used for driving tests as the StVA is located at the other end. In my opinion going 35 km/h on Schweighosstrasse is a nuisance for other drives and you will fail the driving test if you would do so.

That's exactly what I thought. Thank you. There is no written regulation with any specific numeric guidance. There is a tradition, which shall be followed until it shall not.



I had a very close call exactly there with a cat two days ago at ~21.00, had to make an emergency stop. Even though it wouldn't be my fault de jure, that is an unnecessary stress de facto. Today I almost hit a cyclist on the similar street, who was blocked by a front car and slipped braking. Honestly, I'd better be a nuisance, then a killer.

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...Trees are known to make drivers feel like the road is narrower than it is and that they are going faster than they really are, you are probably just responding to this element of street design.
This. I definatelly feel like that and try to go 30, when trees are that close to the road.


But also, I can't see anything behind those trees, there is always a chance to get some animal under the wheels. With 30KM/s car will stop approximately on average in 15 meters, but with 50Km/s it is at least twice as long, literally doubling the chances to hit a living thing.

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Have you seen the movie 'Speed'? The roads through Zurich are not like that.
I've seen that movie. A good reference, although sometimes I feel like there might be some one actively wishing me to be blown up for going even 45 in a 50 zone.

Last edited by 3Wishes; 18.11.2020 at 20:18. Reason: merging consecutive replies
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Old 18.11.2020, 20:00
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Re: Driving too slow in a 50 km/h zone

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A friend of mine was driving trough tunnel of San Bernardino going 60km/h (it's 80km/h) if i remember the story right. She was stopped few kms later by the police, asking her why she was driving so slow. She didn't get any fine, but they were not happy.
In the tunnels, they even tell you on the radio info channel to NOT do less than 80, as it holds up traffic flow.

Tom
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Old 18.11.2020, 20:01
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Re: Driving too slow in a 50 km/h zone

My daughter's husband failed his motorcycle A test first time around for driving too slow.

Tom
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Old 18.11.2020, 20:06
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Re: Driving too slow in a 50 km/h zone

I got once a police car requesting me to go faster when on Sunday morning 5:15am I drove my car 30kmh in 50 zone.. reasoning it's not safe as other cars may attempt to overtake. I agreed and continued at 30kmh - checking whenever my bike computer is calibrated accordingly to my GPS measurement.

Also what OP is saying is either his vision needs medical assistance (and I'd recommend to do anyway - as I had similar experiences back in time) or needs to inform police that visibility at that part of the road is not good enough for allowed speed.

it takes +300msec for person from noticing something on the road to hitting a breaks
50km is 14m/sec , so you'd need 4.5m alone to start breaking. full stop for 2T car is approx 12m ( I have a feeling it's less but anyway ) - you need min 17m visibility and perfect reaction time . I guess Swiss norm is 28m with visibility twice the distance so 55m for 50kmh zone.
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Old 18.11.2020, 20:50
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Re: Driving too slow in a 50 km/h zone

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I got once a police car requesting me to go faster when on Sunday morning 5:15am I drove my car 30kmh in 50 zone.. reasoning it's not safe as other cars may attempt to overtake. I agreed and continued at 30kmh - checking whenever my bike computer is calibrated accordingly to my GPS measurement.

Also what OP is saying is either his vision needs medical assistance (and I'd recommend to do anyway - as I had similar experiences back in time) or needs to inform police that visibility at that part of the road is not good enough for allowed speed.

it takes +300msec for person from noticing something on the road to hitting a breaks
50km is 14m/sec , so you'd need 4.5m alone to start breaking. full stop for 2T car is approx 12m ( I have a feeling it's less but anyway ) - you need min 17m visibility and perfect reaction time . I guess Swiss norm is 28m with visibility twice the distance so 55m for 50kmh zone.
You just completely ignored the detail of the law and most of the previous posts. 50 is the limit, not the recommended speed.

If we based speed limits on visibility distance and random stuff like things on the road, they would vary not only on every little stretch of road or corner but also by the minute depending on density of fog, cats, buses, cyclists, children etc. Of these I've actually only ever seen fog and children have their own signs and limits.
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Old 18.11.2020, 21:44
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Re: Driving too slow in a 50 km/h zone

I regularly do 40 on the road leading to my home. Morons who wish to go faster (and thereby save themselves 0.5 seconds on their journey) are welcome to push their blood pressures up.

There's a guy near me who drives a McLaren SLR. Jet black. Lovely machine. I always let him into slow moving traffic.
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Old 18.11.2020, 23:54
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Re: Driving too slow in a 50 km/h zone

I belong to the group of people that thinks that going slow is worse than going fast, as you tend to start fiddling with the radio or enjoy the view... "fast" here not being more than the speed limit, of course.



If someone doesn't feel safe driving 50 on a road that has been assigned the 50 badge by the local authorities, it might be time to ditch the car and take the public transport instead (of course taking into account general driving conditions like road condition, weather, traffic, etc).
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Old 19.11.2020, 11:10
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Re: Driving too slow in a 50 km/h zone

In the cities it's fine and understandable to go slower than limit, as situation changes quite often.

In a highway, steady speeds and circumstances are generally expected, and more importantly when you approach a slower vehicle and have to break, that propagates for km on end in the rear, and it can even result in a stop (see: traffic waves). The main issue is not driving at the limit per se, but driving with the flow of traffic, which generally in CH happens to be driving at the posted limit.
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Old 19.11.2020, 11:18
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Re: Driving too slow in a 50 km/h zone

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I belong to the group of people that thinks that going slow is worse than going fast, as you tend to start fiddling with the radio or enjoy the view... "fast" here not being more than the speed limit, of course.
For the traffic behind 30 in a 50 might be less of a nuisance than 40. The former allows relatively easy and save overtaking. Be aware that in the city traffic lights are sometimes timed for a traffic going 50 km/h if you go only 40 km/h you will mess up things.
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Old 20.11.2020, 16:26
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Re: Driving too slow in a 50 km/h zone

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For the traffic behind 30 in a 50 might be less of a nuisance than 40. The former allows relatively easy and save overtaking. Be aware that in the city traffic lights are sometimes timed for a traffic going 50 km/h if you go only 40 km/h you will mess up things.
True. I grew up in northern Europe and close to my home if you kept a stable 50 km/h, you'd have a green wave of approximately 2 kms, but if you drove under the limit you'd stop at every_single_light (at least 5 of them).
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Old 20.11.2020, 16:47
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Re: Driving too slow in a 50 km/h zone

It's clear that while we won't all agree on the "inconveniencing other road users" threshold, driving below the limit is not illegal per se. Equally clear that regardless of the posted limit, a driver has a responsibility to drive safely, which may need to be slower at times due to conditions, or indeed, for some stretches of road under any circumstance.

For example, there are several small roads within our village where driving as high as 50 would be plain dangerous, Little more than a single lane wide and too twisty to see far ahead, two vehicles driving at 50kph would be virtually guaranteed to heave a head-on collision if they encountered each other from opposite directions at certain points.

On the other hand, yes, driving too slow in places where most drivers will not want to do so can be annoying and potentially illegal, as ASITUS clarifies by quoting the law above (and there are indeed some places where the minimum speed is specified, notably within some tunnels).

I can't help thinking that the road mentioned by the OP doesn't sound like 30kph is a good speed to go, but if it's just for a short distance it's probably not causing anyone a problem. But when you come across someone who slows down to an speedo-indicated 50kph for every single limit, meaning they're driving perhaps 10kph slower than everybody else who understands about built-on speedo error, and then speeds up between villages so making overtaking difficult, it can be a right PITA.
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