The Meaning of a Move Over Law
A move over law means you must act when an emergency or hazard vehicle has stopped on or beside the road. The vehicle will display white or colored flashing lights to signal its presence close to traffic lanes.
In general, the law also includes different kinds of state maintenance vehicles.
You must always use caution when you approach these vehicles.
Your next action depends on traffic and what kind of roadway you are on.
On Multi-Lane Highways
On any freeway, expressway, interstate, or other highway with more than one lane in each direction, you must move over from the lane closest to the stopped vehicle.
Adjust speed, check mirrors, and glance over your shoulder to make sure the other lane is clear. Signal to indicate your intentions to other road users and when clear, change lanes away from the one adjacent to the emergency vehicle.
Do not return to your lane until you see the vehicle or vehicles in your rear-view mirror.
If traffic or other circumstances prevent you from moving over, you must slow down to a speed that is reasonable and prudent considering officers or other personnel working close to the roadway.
Some state laws say your speed must be at least 20 mph below the posted speed limit.
Stay in your lane, slow down and try to leave enough room without straddle lane lines.
On Two-Lane Highways
When there is only one lane in each direction, you must slow down and drive with caution.
If passing on the left side of the roadway is allowed, and the way ahead is clear, it may be a good idea to do so.
If the stopped vehicle is on the roadway and obstruct traffic, some states may allow you to pass on the left side even if signs or pavement markings prohibit passing (obstruction on a two-lane highway). But in general, you should not pass on the left side when solid yellow center lines or signs prohibit passing.
The Move Over Law does not mean that you can ignore other laws, signs or signals. You must still obey these laws as well.
The Purpose of the Move Over Law
The law exists to provide a safe environment for police, ambulance crews, and other people working along our streets and highways. When they stop close to traffic, most accidents are prevented if drivers leave more room for them to operate.