We’ve all been there, cruising along the highway when suddenly you notice an emergency vehicle with its lights flashing on the side of the road. Most people are courteous enough to slow down and pay attention to what’s happening, but what you may not know is that you’re legally obligated to move aside if you can. Maryland police officers recently partnered with their colleagues in Virginia to call attention to Maryland’s so-called “Move Over Law” and what it means for drivers.
What Does The Law Say?
If you see emergency lights flashing on the side of the road, pulling over a lane or two just makes sense. However, as of a few years ago, the law actually requires you to do so. Here are the emergency vehicles to watch for:
- Law enforcement
- Fire trucks and related response teams
- Specialized emergency response state vehicles
- Emergency vehicles from correctional facilities
If any of these vehicles have their emergency lights on and you’re approaching from the rear, you need to pull over one or more lanes away from the emergency vehicle, assuming it’s safe to do so. If you can’t move without impeding other traffic (or if a second lane isn’t available at all), then the Move Over law says that motorists should reduce their speeds to a reasonable level.
The Move Over law is intended to protect emergency responders and other officials by giving them an added layer of separation from vehicular traffic while they’re doing their jobs. If you violate it, you could face monetary fines and points on your license, especially if your failure to move over results in a car accident with serious injuries.
Emergency responders face dangerous situations regularly as they try to keep the rest of us safe. Let’s return the favor and give them some room.