Coasting in Neutral on Downgrade Prohibited is Expensive
Nothing can ruin your day faster than seeing the lights of a police car in your rearview mirror, unless it’s having such an occurrence result in receiving a traffic ticket. Driving down the highway, minding your own business, you reach the top of a hill and start your descent. Who hasn’t thought of saving a little gas and wear and tear on the transmission by dropping into neutral and coasting? It seems like it would be a natural thought, acted on without much hesitation.
There are actually a couple of good reasons not to coast in neutral, including the fact that it’s against the law. California Vehicle Code 21710 states, “The driver of a motor vehicle when traveling on down grade upon any highway shall not coast with the gears of such a vehicle in neutral.” It would seem the main reason for this law is that coasting in neutral is unsafe. Being in neutral reduces the control you have over the vehicle, especially on pavement which is not dry. If you have to change lanes to avoid something in the road or unexpectedly accelerate, and your vehicle is in neutral, you have to put it in gear in order to respond quickly to the road conditions. Keeping the vehicle in gear also helps with braking while on a downgrade, reducing wear and tear on your vehicle’s brakes. The engine in a newer vehicle may even stall while in neutral as the internal computer adjusts to there being no pull on the engine. And as for the saving gas part? That actually doesn’t happen. In fact, you may even use more gas.
California Vehicle Code 21710 Can Be Dismissed!
Despite all these things, many drivers do put their vehicles into neutral when on a downgrade, and as a result, many traffic tickets are written for it. A good number of them are the result of a police officer believing that coasting may have been the underlying cause of an accident which occurred. If you have received a ticket for the violation of CVC 21710, you may be considering just paying the fine, but you do have other options.
Wouldn’t it be great if you could successfully fight that ticket? You can.
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