Come on…move over!
There are times when rules change and the general public is unaware of these changes. I will often search out government websites to keep myself up to date, but that can sometimes be hard to do when I’m too busy and away from my computer. Then there are times when rules change and we learn about them, but we forget about the change days later and keep doing the same thing as we did in the past. Regardless of rules, we always need to play safely, especially when the lives of others are at stake.
For most of Canada and the U.S., there’s a “Move Over Law” for emergency services, such as police, fire and ambulance. If an emergency vehicle is on the shoulder of the road with their lights flashing, drivers must move to the left lane when they are on a multiple lane road, or at least slow down if they are on a two lane road. This is to protect the people who are on the shoulder of the road by creating space between you and them.
The reality of this is the fact that it’s almost certain death for someone standing on the shoulder if they or their vehicle is hit by another vehicle. I know that happened to a police officer in southwestern Ontario a number of years ago. They had stopped a driver and while on the shoulder, their vehicle was struck by a transport truck and the officer died.
But why limit this to just when emergency vehicles are on the shoulder? Why not move over whenever you see any vehicle on the shoulder? Don’t you think it will help keep everyone safe, especially if the driver is squatting near the side of the road while changing a flat tire? Keep in mind we go where we’re looking and that most drivers are very curious when they see a vehicle on the shoulder of the road. Staring at the stopped vehicle will often mean your vehicle will drift toward that direction.
The best way to give yourself a chance to respond proactively to vehicles on the shoulder of any highway or freeway is to look at least 20 seconds ahead of where you are at the time. These 20 seconds will give you plenty of time to signal your intentions to other drivers that you want to do a lane change and it allows you time to adjust speed to fit into the other lane of traffic. You just have to want to do it.
Let’s each do our part to protect those who may be vulnerable on the shoulder of the road. Move over and save a life. Who knows, it may be your life one day.