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Old 09-23-2014, 07:43 PM   #1
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Driving too slow down the mountain.

Well, got a written WARNING NOTICE from the National Park Ranger. We were at Alpine Visitor Center (11796 ft) in the Rocky Mountains. We just left the visitor center on our descent down the mountain, a 6% grade for 9 miles. We have a coach that weighs right around 49590 lbs.
I was driving 27 mph down the mountain posted speed limit is 35 mph. We were about 1 or 2 miles down the mountain. With 15 and 20 mph hairpin curves. Yes, I did pass some pullouts that I might have fit in and should have stooped. We are about 58' long.
Hwy 34 was very busy with traffic going down too. After four cars passed me on a double yellow line and the Park Ranger (fourth car behind me), flipping his light on and off when the cars passed me. At the next pullout where I could safely pull over, I did and so did the Park Ranger with all his lights on. Well, to make a long story short, he wrote me up with a written warning, for “Operating too slowly/obstructing” (exactly as spelled on ticket). He also got my name & DOB wrong on the warning notice.
The way the law was explained to me (by the officer's supervisor), that any time that there are 5 or more vehicles following me I (by law ) have to stop at the first safe pullout and let all traffic by me (descending) or drive the posted speed.

No I'm NOT telling anybody how to drive there rig!

I'm just telling what happened to me, a lesson learned for me..
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Old 09-23-2014, 08:13 PM   #2
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Well there is one ranger who doesn't have a clue about motorhomes. Trying to drive safely and figure out on the fly if you would fit into a pullover is not easy to do. Did he also stick right beside you the rest of the way to make sure you followed the law? Bet so.
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Old 09-23-2014, 08:14 PM   #3
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Sorry, but I agree with the officer, why were on that road in the first place. RV and Toad combination are not prudent for that route.

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Old 09-23-2014, 08:21 PM   #4
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The key to remember in the pull over laws is, When SAFE to do so. Only the operator of the vehicle can determine SAFE. That is why their is very seldom a ticket (traffic citation) issued. Thank the officer and drive on.
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Old 09-23-2014, 09:16 PM   #5
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The key to remember in the pull over laws is, When SAFE to do so. Only the operator of the vehicle can determine SAFE. That is why their is very seldom a ticket (traffic citation) issued. Thank the officer and drive on.
Agreed! What about the fools that passed you on a double solid line? They should have received a real ticket with fine! They endangered oncoming traffic, you and even their stupid selves only to gain a couple minutes.
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Old 09-23-2014, 09:29 PM   #6
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Agreed! What about the fools that passed you on a double solid line? They should have received a real ticket with fine! They endangered oncoming traffic, you and even their stupid selves only to gain a couple minutes.
X2 - Officer should have been after them.

Speed limit is not mandatory, it is the maximum allowable speed. Pulling over when safe into a pullout is the best thing to do.
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Old 09-23-2014, 09:54 PM   #7
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It was a warning, and an awakening. No fines to you. Where did the ranger go after that--back after those who crossed the double line? There is a crime there for sure.
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Old 09-23-2014, 09:58 PM   #8
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It is a good thing to pull out when cars stack up behind you but safety is the paramount concern. The difference between nine miles @ 35 and nine miles @ 27 is a few minutes. Patience everyone, patience.
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Old 09-23-2014, 10:05 PM   #9
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You were not driving too slow. The violation is as written. Pull over at the next opportunity when 5 or more vehicles are behind you. That is the law in most states. Nice that they gave warning instead of a fine.
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Old 09-23-2014, 10:12 PM   #10
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That's why he only gave you a warning ticket, because he really wasn't on firm ground and you were doing it as safely as you felt possible. In California the laws are no different on regular roads than they are in the National Parks. I have never seen a Police Officer give a "warning ticket" on a moving violation, parking violation yes, but not on a mover. They may have different speeds ect posted but they would be enforced the same.The posted speed is the max speed for perfect conditions. If you were doing 27 in a 35 that is not impeding traffic. The correct violation would have been for the 5 or more cars behind you which may be a subsection of the impeding section. Either way the cars passing on the left is a bigger violation for obvious reasons, in your case everyone gets there a little later if you can't safely pull into a turnout, If the guy passing misjudges you have a possible injury if not fatal collision.

The supervisor may have tuned him up later, but had to support him in your presence. I wouldn't feel to bad about it, it seems that maybe he was in a hurry and was irratated that you were holding him up too. He obviuosly focused on the wrong violations, this come from 30+ years experience in the business, and a few years assigned to handling complaints like this. And I am also not telling people how to drive, I always use pullouts when it is SAFE to do so.

I'm not sure why the one poster said you shouldn't be on that road due to the 6% grade for 9 miles...In our local mountains the grades are steeper in points and it is about a 30 mile climb/downhill grade, the campground are filled with hugh MH's. I don't know this particular road, but we are considering going to Denver in a few weeks, and I don't know how you would get there without tackling hills and grades like this.
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Old 09-23-2014, 11:08 PM   #11
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That's why he only gave you a warning ticket, because he really wasn't on firm ground and you were doing it as safely as you felt possible. In California the laws are no different on regular roads than they are in the National Parks. I have never seen a Police Officer give a "warning ticket" on a moving violation, parking violation yes, but not on a mover. They may have different speeds ect posted but they would be enforced the same.The posted speed is the max speed for perfect conditions. If you were doing 27 in a 35 that is not impeding traffic. The correct violation would have been for the 5 or more cars behind you which may be a subsection of the impeding section. Either way the cars passing on the left is a bigger violation for obvious reasons, in your case everyone gets there a little later if you can't safely pull into a turnout, If the guy passing misjudges you have a possible injury if not fatal collision.

The supervisor may have tuned him up later, but had to support him in your presence. I wouldn't feel to bad about it, it seems that maybe he was in a hurry and was irratated that you were holding him up too. He obviuosly focused on the wrong violations, this come from 30+ years experience in the business, and a few years assigned to handling complaints like this. And I am also not telling people how to drive, I always use pullouts when it is SAFE to do so.

I'm not sure why the one poster said you shouldn't be on that road due to the 6% grade for 9 miles...In our local mountains the grades are steeper in points and it is about a 30 mile climb/downhill grade, the campground are filled with hugh MH's. I don't know this particular road, but we are considering going to Denver in a few weeks, and I don't know how you would get there without tackling hills and grades like this.
Sorry, officer was right. Read your driving manual about mountain driving. Only question may have been if those pull off areas were too small for your vehicle. Single lane road 5 or more vehicles behind you. You are required to pull off at nearest opportunity to allow them to pass.
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Old 09-23-2014, 11:52 PM   #12
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"... any time that there are 5 or more vehicles following me I (by law ) have to stop at the first safe pullout and let all traffic by me (descending) or drive the posted speed."

Yep, that is the law.

Obviously you have to make your point about "Safely Pulling Over!"
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Old 09-24-2014, 12:23 AM   #13
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Wyorancher/just for Fun ...first of all read between the lines, I am very supportive of Law Enforcement....I Never said it wasn't the law, but you support what I was trying to say...you must pull into a turnout whenever SAFE,(not the nearest place to stop as the nearest may not be safe) not when you feel you are taking a chance and could overrun it causing a major accident involving all those vehicles behind you. Then you have a bigger problem than someone getting somewhere a few minutes later( 8mph below the speed limit for 9 miles cannot be worth risking someones life).

By the letter of the law the Officer may had been right, but considering common sense and the spirit of the law, I think he did two things I would speak to him about if I mwas his supervisor

1) why didn't he stop the ones who definately violated the law by crossing the double yellow on winding roads(read that law it doesn't say it's ok if you think the guy in front of you is going too slow)there is no question about that violation.

2) why not wait until the end of the downgrade to pull him over as he could see he was having a hard time maintaning the road and coming to a complete stop could be dangerous.

Again like I said we all should try our best to be observant of those behind us and pull over whenever is safe to let people pass, I do it all the time. Writing a "written warning" is kind of silly. I would bet the OP got the message by just being stopped and talked too. If I had of stopped him and he gave a reasonable explanation for not pulling over, that would have been the end of it, and I would have felt he understood my concern and would start paying more attention. And yes I have used my descretion as such on many traffic type issues, and have trained many officers to use descretion, treat people with respect, and they will probably be more supportive of following all the rules of the road in the future. You can tell the difference between someone doing the best he can with his multi thousand dollar MH on vacation, and the idiot driving 20 mph over the speed limit playing on his/her phone texting or making phone calls.
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Old 09-24-2014, 06:48 AM   #14
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On the question why didn't he pull over the vehicles crossing yellow line. Very good question. Asked in a lot in court more than you may think. Not that specific one but similar ones. Like, for example, I wasn't the only one in violation. My response to the judge was. "I can't catch them all, so just stop as many as possible". I suspect driver was polite and just got a warning. I do agree finding a safe place to pull off is a problem with a large rig.
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