Heading out on a Sunday cruise? Beware: police are increasingly ticketing slow and inconsiderate drivers.

Last year, police issued 515 tickets for slow or inconsiderate driving which hinders traffic - the highest number in a decade. Inconsiderate driving includes slowing down and speeding up on passing lanes, and failing to pull left when towing. Motorists were usually fined $150 and in some circumstances lost 20 demerit points.

AA Road Safety spokesman Dylan Thomsen said its members rated slow driving and tailgating among their biggest annoyances on the roads.

"Without a doubt people going too fast for the conditions is much more of a risk in crashes but people going slow can cause a lot of frustration which can lead to people doing stupid things," he said.


"People make rash choices to pass when they don't have visibility."

He believed the high number of tickets last year could be due to more *555 reports of traffic matters to police.

The Southern Police District dished out the most tickets for inconsiderate driving - 130 tickets - while 21 tickets were issued in the Auckland region.

Slow drivers were not a risk in themselves, but contributed to risks on the road, national road policing operations manager Inspector Peter McKennie said.

"The risk is around impatient drivers passing when it is not safe to do so," he said. "They need to appreciate that it is not worth the risk and the risks they take lead to minimal journey time savings.

"Police would also encourage motorists who are driving more slowly than others to find a safe place to pull over and let traffic pass."

It was difficult to know why there were so many tickets in the Southern District without close analysis, police said, though Thomsen believed traffic in the area, such as slow-moving campervans, could be part of the reason.

However, not all slow drivers were tourists or the often-slated elderly drivers.

"Typically speed eases as you get older but slow and inconsiderate driving is across different ages and groups."

Slow drivers, and drivers following them, needed to be safe and courteous, he said.

"It's no good for anybody when there's a driver that feels nervous and intimidated and under pressure when they've got a driver tailgating them, and it's no good for the car behind, if they then do something rash.

"Slow drivers should pull over and let traffic past when possible and cars behind should still maintain a two second gap."