Though characters such as Superman and Captain America may be relegated to comic books and the silver screen, we do have real-life superheroes amongst us in the form of first responders and law enforcement officers. Assisting during medical emergencies, freak accidents and fires, as well as curbing crime, are all within the realm of responsibility for these selfless professionals.
We respect and value their service to our society by thanking them when we see them in uniform, donating to sponsored charities and even covering a lunch or coffee tab from time to time. However, there is one more deeply important thing that we can do to help these men and women perform their jobs safely and efficiently-namely, follow the Florida Move Over Law.
What is the Florida Move Over Law?
Though we recently covered how dangerous Florida is for pedestrians, its roads can also be perilous for first responders, who are often tasked to drive at high speeds and forego some of the rules of the road that we ordinarily follow. It is not uncommon to see a firetruck, ambulance or police car roll through an intersection when they face a red light, blaring their sirens and flashing emergency lights to alert other motorists.
As one might suspect, they do this to get to those in need as soon as possible. A burning home or someone suffering from heart palpitations cannot afford their first responder to patiently wait at a red light.
Though most of us are taught to pull to the side of the road to allow the first responder to pass, many may not know the specifics of the Florida Move Over Law.
This law dictates that drivers do the following:
- If on a one-lane road, drive 20 mph under the posted speed limit when approaching an emergency vehicle with lights flashing
- If on a one lane road, drive 5 mph when approaching an emergency vehicle with lights flashing on a road with a speed limit of 25 mph or lower
- Move over a lane on two-lane roads or highways
- Be prepared to stop if in the lane closest to the emergency vehicle
To sum up, one must either move over a lane, if possible, or slow down when approaching an active first responder’s vehicle. Doing so can go a long way in protecting these professionals who are often forced to work adjacent to dangerous, high-speed roadways on a daily basis.
What Happens if I Do Not Follow the Move Over Law?
Whether out of impatience or ignorance, if someone does not follow the Move Over Law, they face the following consequences:
- 3 points on license
- Potentially putting the lives of first responders and everyone else on the road at risk
Though the Move Over Law is relatively easy to understand, one must also apply it to a few common sense safety standards when noticing an approaching emergency vehicle. If the approaching vehicle is coming from behind, pull over and stop on the side of the road, allowing the emergency personnel to safely pass. Also remember that emergency vehicles always have the right of way.
Keep a safe distance with emergency vehicles as well, as they may stop or turn expectedly.
Pairing both the Move Over Law to common-sense safety when near or approaching first responders can protect both emergency workers and those they are attempting to serve. Always drive safely, avoid distractions and never drink and drive.
Doing so may just save a life, or help those who are attempting to do the same.