January is “Move Over” month in Florida and an opportunity to remind motorists to move over – or at least slow down for those on the side of the road doing important work.
In 2014 in Marion County, Properties of The Villages sales agent George Phillips, Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Chelsea Richard and tow truck driver John Duggan were killed in a tragic accident and their deaths still serve as a painful reminder of the importance of drivers being aware of emergency situations as they develop on the roadway.
In 2017, a Villager traveling on Interstate 75 was at the wheel of a Cadillac that struck and killed 30-year FHP trooper William Bishop.
“The Move Over Law protects those who work on the side of the roadway each day and ensures that they make it home safely to their families,” said Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles Executive Director Terry L. Rhodes.
“Law enforcement, first responders, service and utility vehicles provide critical services to motorists in one of the most dangerous work environments. It is imperative that motorists abide by the law and move over or slow down for these brave professionals so that they can do their job and Arrive Alive.”
Here are a few tips for driving safe:
- Use common sense: Watch for situations where emergency vehicles, tow vehicles, sanitation and utility service vehicles are pulled off on the side of the road.
- 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.
- Multi-Lane Roadway: Slow down when you see the flashing lights of an emergency vehicle on the roadside, and – if you can – move over into an adjacent lane. If you cannot change lanes, reduce your speed to 20 mph below the posted speed limit.
- Stay Alert: Pay attention to changes in traffic patterns and speed limits.
- Be Courteous: Look out for motorists stranded on the side of the road waiting for assistance.
- Don’t Drive Distracted: Anything that takes your mind off the task of driving is a distraction. No text or call is worth a life.