Yes, you can be cited for coasting

This question came in as a debate between family members.

“Last weekend, we were traveling and talking about all the laws out there that law enforcement can potentially enforce. My brother didn’t believe me when I told him you can be cited for coasting in your vehicle. Who’s right … me or him?”

According to a private driving school online, the website states, “coasting means that the road wheels of the vehicle are not being ‘driven’ or propelled by the engine even though the vehicle is actually moving. This occurs when either the clutch pedal is held down, or the gear lever is in the neutral position.”

Under the Michigan Vehicle Code, there is a statute that covers coasting while operating your vehicle.

MCL 257.678 covers Coasting and, in Section (1), it states, “The driver of a motor vehicle when traveling upon a down grade shall not coast with the gears of the vehicle in neutral.” Regarding commercial vehicles, like semis, Section (2) states, “The driver of a commercial motor vehicle when traveling upon a down grade shall not coast with the clutch disengaged.”

If a person is found guilty of coasting, they can be cited with a civil infection with fines and costs of approximately $100.

The most important thing to remember is coasting in a vehicle on a roadway can be dangerous. It can lead to the driver having less control of the vehicle. For example, if you were in your vehicle and traveling around a corner on the road, because the road wheels are simply “free-wheeling” while coasting at that point, the wheels are not being driven by the engine. That can cause the vehicle to “under-steer,” which could result in you losing control on the corner and possibly even taking the corner too wide, resulting in your vehicle on the wrong side of the road, with oncoming traffic facing you.

I have heard many people comment about how coasting saves them money on gas. However, as I read through articles online, most mechanics were not recommending it as your vehicle is in idle mode and using more gas.

Ashley Simpson is a community service trooper for the Michigan State Police-Alpena Post. If you have a question for Trooper Simpson, you can email her at asktroopersimpson@gmail.com or mail them to Ask A Trooper, Michigan State Police-Alpena Post, 3283 W. Washington Ave., Alpena, Michigan, 49707.


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