On October 22, 2018, New York State Department of Transportation [#NYSDOT], in a Facebook post, became yet another major body to publish a description of the ‘Move Over Law’ that can be seen as being too confusing.
They wrote: “Slow down and Move Over for roadside vehicles with flashing lights,” but this isn’t quite right, and it even drew questions from confused individuals on Facebook. Indeed, under some circumstances moving over and slowing down could potentially increase risk rather than the opposite, so use good judgement.
This extremely important rule always needs to written accurately, so that nobody can misunderstand.
As soon as you see an emergency or maintenance vehicle on the shoulder, up ahead, make a safe lane-change to the left so that you leave an empty lane between yourself and that vehicle. If the lane on your left is too busy for you to be able to do this, or you are on a two-way road, then slow down a lot before you reach the emergency vehicle. A common guideline, at highway speeds, is that if you have to stay in the lane closest to the emergency vehicle/s, drive at least 20mph slower than the posted speed limit.
It is a good idea to do this for all broken-down vehicles, too, because somebody may be working on them or might get out of the vehicle unsafely, on the side nearest you.
You need to be aware of the relevant state or national laws, too.
The important thing is to be observant, see problems early, and do your ‘move-over’ safely and in plenty of time.
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