What Is the Move Over Law?

Learn about the Move Over Law and get answers to frequently asked questions.

The Move Over Law exists to provide a safer environment for maintenance and emergency vehicles who are stopped along the side of highways, close to fast moving traffic. Collisions can be prevented by leaving enough space for them. To gain a full understanding of the Move Over Law, read the FAQs below:

Move Over Law
FAQs

What is the Move Over Law?
The Move Over Law requires drivers to move over a lane, if safe to do so, or slow down, when passing vehicles with flashing amber lights.

What types of vehicles should I Move Over for?
Any stationary vehicle displaying emergency or warning lights. This includes, but is not limited to:

  1. A stationary, marked Department of Transportation vehicle that is displaying flashing amber warning lights.
  2. A stationary authorized emergency vehicle that is displaying emergency lights.
  3. A stationary tow truck that is displaying flashing amber warning lights.

What about an emergency vehicle that is approaching from behind me?
Drivers are required to pull over to allow a moving emergency vehicle to pass. However, the Move Over Law refers to stationary vehicles displaying emergency or warning lights, such as those that are defined in the previous answer.

What action/maneuver does the Move Over Law require of drivers?
The Move Over Law requires that, if an officer is not directing traffic, a person driving a vehicle on a freeway approaching one of the aforementioned vehicles is required to approach with caution and make a lane change into an available lane (not immediately next to the authorized emergency vehicle, tow truck, or Department of Transportation vehicle) with regard for safety and traffic conditions.

What if it is unsafe to Move Over?
If the maneuver described above would be unsafe, slow to a reasonable speed that is safe for existing weather, road, and vehicular or pedestrian traffic conditions.

What if the authorized vehicle is separated from the freeway by a protective physical barrier?
The requirements of the Move Over Law do not apply in this case.

What is Caltrans doing to educate drivers about the Move Over Law?
In July 2011, Caltrans launched the Move Over campaign to increase motorists awareness of the law.

 

References:
California Department of Transportation
[hyperlinked text: http://www.dot.ca.gov/moveover/]

California Department of Motor Vehicles
[hyperlinked text: http://www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/vctop/d11/vc21809.htm]

Move Over America
[hyperlinked text: http://www.moveoveramerica.com/]