2018-03-29 / Editorial

Clarifying the ‘move over law’

Ask the Trooper
By Community Service Trooper Kyle McInerney

Q. What is the “move over” law? Do I have to move over for a tow truck? If there is an emergency vehicle on the side of the roadway without its emergency lights on, do I have to move over?

I hope to clear up some confusion with the “move over law” in an effort to increase the safety for people working on the roadway. I have been asked numerous times what the move over law is and when it must be followed. The move over law is written to protect people on the side of the roadway from being struck by a vehicle.

If an emergency vehicle is on the shoulder of the roadway and has its emergency lights activated, a driver must do the following when approaching in their vehicle: If the roadway has multiple lanes traveling in the same direction, the driver MUST move over to the next lane to give the emergency worker space. If the driver cannot move over safely because of traffic or roadway conditions, then they must slow down and allow the emergency vehicle as much space as possible.

On a roadway with two-way traffic the driver should move over into the oncoming lane only if it is clear and safe to do so. On a roadway with traffic in both directions if that driver cannot move over, then they must too slow down to a speed that is safe and give as much room as they can for the safety of emergency personnel.

If an emergency vehicle is on the side of the roadway and the emergency lights are not activated, then a driver does not have to move over for the vehicle.

This move over law applies to police, fire, rescue, ambulance and road service vehicles (including tow trucks). It is safe and good practice to move over for any vehicle you see on the side of the roadway if it is safe to do so as well as slow down.

“Ask the Trooper” is written by Michigan State Police Community Service Trooper Kyle McInerney of the Houghton Lake Post. If you have a question to “Ask a Trooper,” email Trooper McInerney at McInerneyK@ michigan.gov.

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