As the road gets slick from snow and ice, drivers need to continue moving over for workers on the road
RAPID CITY, S.D. – Regardless of the weather and road conditions, drivers should obey the Move Over Law, mainly to keep workers on the road safe. But, it’s important to keep in mind that there’s cold and snowy weather and the roads could be more hazardous.
The Move Over Law, when you slow down and move to the farthest lane of traffic when you see amber flashing lights, is something that people are familiar with.
“It’s very important this time of year because we have a lot of law enforcement and first responders out on the highways, out on the interstates, dealing with vehicles that have slid off into the ditch,” Lt. David Switzer of the Pennington County Sheriff’s Office said. It’s not uncommon. Every year we lose a patrol car that has been hit by a vehicle that has not moved over or slowed down.”
This applies to any vehicle with their lights showing — law enforcement, emergency responders, service vehicles like tow trucks and even someone experience car troubles with their flashing lights on. Switzer also says that nationally, one of the most dangerous jobs is a tow truck driver.
If someone doesn’t move over, the violation would be a Class 2 misdemeanor and someone could be fined $272. If the violation causes an accident, the violation automatically becomes a Class 1 misdemeanor and likely a higher fine.
The time that PCSO finds that the most violations happen is during rush hour, both in the morning and in the evening, with most people focused on getting themselves or their kids where they need to be in the morning and wanting to get home later.
But, it can be dangerous for first responders on a scene or even just someone experiencing car trouble if people don’t follow the law. Close calls or dangerous situations are something that workers will likely remember.
“There was a situation out on Highway 16 near Reptile Gardens. It was snowing and it was during rush hour,” Switzer said. “Vehicles were not slowing down. They were not moving over. We had two additional accidents at the original accident scene, and then they got to the point where it got so dangerous for the first responders out there working, now three accidents that we had to use a fire truck to block the highway.”
So, move over. It keeps people safe who are just trying to do their jobs.