Port Charlotte Accident Attorney: Do You Always Move Over When You See Flashing Lights?

by Carmen Dellutri on February 23, 2012

Cape Coral personal injury attorneyFollowing a serious motorcycle accident involving a Florida Highway Patrol officer, officials are taking steps to ensure that drivers understand and follow the state’s move-over law. The law requires drivers to give wide berth to police or emergency vehicles on the roadside. However, many drivers fail to follow it or simply don’t know what they are supposed to do.

As reported by the Orlando Sentinel, 11 Florida troopers have been involved in crashes during which the driver failed to slow down and move over when approaching the scene of an accident. Moreover, at least 170 law enforcement officers in the United States have died after being struck by motor vehicles since 1999.

It's absolutely terrifying," said Road Ranger Mike Cocomazze, who was doing paperwork in his truck when a semi tractor trailer slammed into it on Interstate 4, ejecting him. "We are just trying to make the scene as safe as possible. That one night could've taken me out."

To help prevent a serious Port Charlotte car accident, below are some frequently asked questions and answers regarding Florida’s move-over law:

What should I do if I see an emergency vehicle parked on the side of the road with lights flashing?

Multi-Lane Roadway: When approaching an emergency vehicle with lights flashing parked on the side of a multi-lane road, you MUST move over by changing lanes away from the emergency vehicle as soon as it is safe to do so. Motorists must vacate the lane closest to an emergency vehicle to prevent crashing into the emergency vehicle or any emergency workers performing their jobs in the area.

Two-Lane Roadway: When approaching an emergency vehicle with lights flashing parked on the side of a two-lane road, you MUST slow down to 20 mph below the posted speed limit and approach with caution unless otherwise directed by an emergency worker on the scene.

What if I am not able to move over safely or change lanes away from the emergency vehicle?

If you are unable to move over or change lanes safely, you MUST slow down to at least 20 mph below the posted speed limit.

If I cannot change lanes safely should I stop my vehicle in the roadway?

No, you must slow down while maintaining a safe speed. You must not stop in the roadway or block the flow of traffic.

What can I do to prevent an accident when approaching an emergency vehicle, traffic congestion, a crash scene, or a construction area?

Stay alert! The single most important thing you can do to protect yourself and others is to pay attention behind the wheel. If you keep your eyes ahead of you on the road, pay attention to the activity around you (other vehicles, signs, etc.) you will be able to anticipate problems and react more quickly to any potentially dangerous events.

What can happen if I break Florida's Move Over Law?

If you are caught, you will be issued a ticket and have to pay a fine.

More seriously, you could crash into an emergency vehicle or strike an emergency worker, causing serious injury or death. You could injure or kill another person or yourself.

The Dellutri Law Group is focused on making bad situations better and putting lives back together. If you or someone you love has been seriously injured in a Port Charlotte car accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation.

To learn more about your legal options, contact our experienced Florida injury attorneys for a free consultation. 

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