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Do I have to move over when there's an emergency vehicle on road?

For many of our Connecticut drivers, the act of moving over when one sees an ambulance or some other emergency vehicle on the side of road may seem like it is just something drivers do as a matter of courtesy. But, the reality is that Connecticut law actually requires motor vehicle operators to move over to the next lane when they approach an emergency vehicle that is standing and assisting accident victims.

Furthermore, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration notes that various emergency personnel such as police, fire and medical professionals respond to accidents on roadways, and while assisting victims of accidents, they by the very nature of first responder duties expose themselves to harm. First responder safety on roadways is important. Additionally, other accidents can be prevented if drivers on the roads paid attention to emergency vehicles. Thus, NHTSA has been working to push for the Move Over Law.

The Connecticut Move Over Law in essence states that when a driver approaches an emergency vehicle that is flashing its lights and is parked on the shoulder or side of the road, if another lane is not available for the driver to move over to, the driver must slow down when approaching the emergency vehicle. If the driver is on a multi-lane road or highway, then the driver must attempt to safely move over to the lane that is not next to the lane where the emergency vehicle is. The driver must exercise extreme caution when doing so and if it is not possible to make the change safely they must slow down.

It is enticing for drivers to slow down or brake to glance over and see what the accident is all about. But, sometimes human curiosity can cause a distraction at the wrong moment and additional accidents can result. To prevent injuries to emergency personnel or other drivers, and to reduce additional car accidents, it is important for all Connecticut drivers to be aware of the Move Over Law.

Source: Connecticut Statutes, "Chapter 248 - Vehicle Highway Use," Sec. 14-283b, Accessed Sept. 28, 2015

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