All About the Move Over Law and Emergency Vehicles

Are you aware of Move Over Laws that say you must move over if a police car, ambulance, or fire truck is stopped on the roadway and give these vehicles room in order to avoid a possible accident?

In recent years, various versions of a move over law have been passed in many states that mandate you must yield to emergency vehicles and “move over” or you could face fines or a penalty.

Read on to learn more about the laws regarding yielding to emergency vehicles so you can be prepared whenever you see one on the road.

What is a Move Over Law?

States like Georgia, Tennessee, and Virginia are just some examples of states that now have a move over law. This law states that all motorists who are traveling in the lane adjacent to the shoulder must move over one lane whenever any emergency vehicle or utility vehicle is stopped on the side of the road.

All first responders like police, state police, fire, and EMS, as well as utility and department of transportation vehicles, are all covered under this law when it comes to drivers moving over. The purpose of the law is to keep offices, other drivers, and road workers safe from being hit by a passing car.

Sadly, the number of officers and other highway and emergency professionals killed during a traffic stop or crash response has increased all over the United States. Over 30 states currently have some form of a move over law that issues fines and citations to violators.

While hefty fines are certainly something you want to avoid, crashes are what you really want to try to prevent. Traffic crashes kill more police than any other cause of death, even shootings. Even when emergency vehicles have their lights on, drivers moving at highway speeds can easily crash into them if they don’t move over in time.

Yielding to Emergency Vehicles

Besides having to move over to the adjacent lane when you see an emergency vehicle stopped in the road, you should also always yield to emergency vehicles that are approaching. This clause is also included in the move over law in most states.

You should always yield the right-of-way to emergency vehicles and immediately move to the right side of the road whenever one is approaching. Stay still and come to a stop until the emergency vehicle (or vehicles) has passed.

The emergency vehicle should have its lights flashing and sirens on as it approaches. Always check your rear view mirror as you’re driving since you may not see or hear them immediately.

Passing Parked Emergency Vehicles

If you see an emergency vehicle pulled over to the side of the road, the first thing you should do is slow down. If you’re able to do so safely, merge over to the middle or left lane.

When you move over, it gives the emergency personnel and drivers of other vehicles a “buffer” so they can exit their vehicles safely. Moving over prevents the possibility of accidentally hitting and possibly killing someone.

In some states, you are only required to slow down your speed as you approach emergency vehicles. However, moving over as much as possible is ideal in order to prevent a collision.

Move over laws apply to any type of assistance vehicle including tow trucks. Even if there are no police officers or other emergency personnel present, you should try to slow down and move over if you see a wrecker on the side of the road.

Safe Move Over Tips

Whether you’re on the highway or a city street, drivers must always yield to emergency vehicles traveling on the roadways. There are a few things you can do in order to ensure that you, your passengers, and people on the road stay safe.

First, always slow down whenever you see flashing lights or any vehicle stopped on the side of the road. Even if you can’t move into another lane, slowing your speeds can help you brake quickly if you need to and can help lessen the odds of a crash.

When you’re ready to move over to the adjacent lane, make sure you use your turn signal. This will alert drivers behind you that you’re getting ready to merge into a different lane, and it can also help make them aware of the situation.

Avoid distracted driving at all times. This means you should never talk on your cellphone, text someone while driving, or do anything else that will cause you to take your eyes off the road when you’re behind the wheel.

If an emergency vehicle is approaching you from behind, slow down, use your turn signal, and get over as far to the right-hand side of the road as possible. Come to a complete stop and wait until all emergency vehicles have passed, then you can merge back onto the road when it’s safe.

Follow the Law to Stay Safe

The move over law was put in place to ensure that every driver on the road stays safe, including yourself and your passengers. This simple act can help prevent accidents and potentially save the lives of police officers and other emergency workers.

Pay attention to emergency vehicles and always give them the right-of-way. When you see a vehicle stopped, move to the adjacent lane so you can avoid fines and accidents.

If you have received an auto insurance rate increase, a traffic ticket, or need to take a court-ordered defensive driving course, visit our website to learn more about our defensive driving courses today.