Moving Over for Emergency Vehicles

Tips For Holiday Driving
March 29, 2018
April 13, 2020

Moving Over for Emergency Vehicles

When we see an emergency, or stopped vehicle at the side of the road, we know what we are supposed to do. Move Over. Unfortunately, it happens more times than it should that drivers forget, or simply choose to ignore this rule of the road. We can often get too caught up with our own day to days lives to realize why this is such an important action to take when coming across a stopped vehicle (emergency or otherwise).

The practice of moving over for stopped vehicles is rooted in safety. Not only for those at the side of the road (whether it’s emergency personnel, tow truck operators, or just regular citizens), but also for the occupants of the vehicles passing by. Travelling at high speeds gives a driver less reaction time to move out of the lane if something were to go wrong, and being in the lane that is passing by a stopped vehicle gives that driver one less option should they need to take again preventative driving measures. It can also be hard to predict just how much space a tow/emergency vehicle and their personnel may need. In an instant it can change into a dangerous situation for both the passing and the parked vehicles. An instant isn’t enough time to react.

So often we see this kind of driving behaviour on the roads and highways but rarely do we see it result in tragedy. Unfortunately accidents between passing and stopped emergency vehicles happen a lot more than we realize. Statistics Canada has found there are over 200 road incidents involving emergency and stopped vehicles. Most recently, there was an incident involving a passing vehicle and a tow truck on a major Toronto ON highway. The collision unfortunately ended with the driver of the passing vehicle in hospital.

These accidents are avoidable if we all just take a moment to consider the consequences of safety when approached emergency and stopped vehicles, and just move over.

Many states and provinces are beginning to enact ‘Move Over Laws’ to help protect both emergency personnel  and other road users. For example, the Gov. of Ontario, Canada instated their Move Over Law in 2012.

For more information on how the Ontario ‘Move Over Law’ works follow the link below.


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