Is it illegal not to pass slow cars (USA)?

When I’m behind a car going, 5/10/30 miles under the limit is it illegal for me NOT to pass them and just stay a safe distance behind them? I’ve been told by many an impatient passenger that it is illegal for me not to pass and that I would get a ticket for driving too slow, rather than the person I’m behind.

I’ve tried looking online for answers, but haven’t found anything specifically addressing my question. I couldn’t find anything saying it was illegal, but nothing saying it was legal either.

I am about to take a trip from Washington to Idaho, through Oregon. It will be my first long road trip, and I hate passing cars when I can avoid it so I would like to figure this out before I go.


I just got done looking up all three states minimum speed laws (Washington, Oregon, Idaho). Each of them says something very similar to this:

“No person shall drive a motor vehicle at such slow speed as to impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic except when reduced speed is necessary for safe operation or in compliance with the law.”

But is it impeding traffic to follow a slow car when other cars are still able and allowed to pass you?


It is never illegal to not overtake (pass).

The law would never force a driver to overtake under any circumstances (however, a police officer standing there could request you to).

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