Whether Pulling A Trailer Or Not, The Law Says, “Move Over!”

There is a law, out there on the road today, that some 71% of Americans are unaware of. And yet, it can save lives. When you are approaching a situation such as workers on the side of the road or an officer of the law with or without a car pulled over, it is your responsibility to move over into the next lane furthest from them (provided one is available and it is safe to do so).

It’s the Law!

This is called the “move over law” and it applies to multilane roadways. It designates that when vehicles are working at the roadside on a highway, drivers merge away from those vehicles. The reason simply being that workers, tow truck drivers, emergency responders, police, etc. all now have an empty lane which will provide added safety for them. You may also hear this referred to as the “steer clear law” in some states.

This is a regulation that should be taken very seriously. For the general motoring public, and for emergency workers and highway employees, it simply provides safer conditions. But what if it isn’t safe or possible for a driver to change lanes? The driver is unexpected to decrease their speed while they pass the roadside situation and move as far away as possible. When you see flashing signs or lights up ahead, your best course of action is to move over early to avoid last-minute, fast, unsafe lane changes. Reacting really is particularly applicable for those pulling a trailer.

The Smith System

Though the move over laws differ between provinces, states, etc., it is always a good rule of thumb and, if nothing else, common sense. There is something called the Smith System that is applicable in these situations, whether it’s the law or not. It goes like this:

  • As much as possible, make sure that those who share the road with you see your directional lights, brake lights, headlights, etc. Make sure your trailer lights are working as properly.
  • Always leave yourself an out – be highly aware of the space surrounding you.
  • Use your peripheral vision and keep your eyes moving.
  • Look for surrounding hazards and get the big picture.
  • Look further than just the car that’s in front of you. Aim high in steering. If you’re pulling a trailer, you’re going to need extra time and extra room to move over.

Special Laws Apply

As suggested, different provinces, states, etc. have different laws. Here are some examples:

  • West Virginia requires vehicles to move away from the roadside situation to the furthest lane and reduce their speed, on a non-divided highway, by 15 mph. On a divided highway, 25 mph.
  • In Florida, a driver’s speed is to be reduced to at least 20 mph below posted speeds when they encounter emergency vehicles, workers, etc. alongside the road. They are also required to get out of the lane that is next to these vehicles.
  • Canada wants drivers to move as far away as possible from the roadside situation; and British Columbia simply wants you to slow down. As long as it’s safe to pass, British Columbia is perfectly fine with you staying in the lane next to the emergency vehicles, etc.

Mickey Genuine Parts wants all drivers to operate safely on our highways and byways. That’s one of the reasons we offer a multitude of safety equipment for trucks, trailers, cars, etc. If you ever have any questions about the services we provide, the products we sell, or anything else, feel free to contact us at Mickey Genuine Parts. We have helpful, knowledgeable customer service representatives to assist you.

Let’s keep truckin'.

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