Like many other states, Florida has a “Move Over” law. In essence, you’re required to move over one lane whenever it’s safely possible if you see a police car, emergency vehicle, tow truck or any other kind of service vehicle at the side of the road. When that’s not possible, you’re supposed to slow down so that you’re moving 20 miles per hour less than the posted speed (or 5 mph less than the posted limit when that limit is 20 mph or lower).
What happens if you don’t? You may be putting lives at risk, including your own. You can also end up with a hefty ticket that involves fines, fees and some points on your license. Given those potential consequences, it seems like there’s really no question about what you should do.
However, things aren’t always that simple. When you’re driving, you have to make some snap judgments, and it isn’t always clear what’s “safe” to do and what isn’t. Here are some common reasons that drivers may fail to move over:
- Another driver prevented them from shifting lanes: There’s not much a driver can do if the highway is packed and nobody will slow down or move out of the way so they can get over a lane.
- There was no opportunity to slow down without causing a wreck: You can’t always slow down if the traffic around you is tight and the other drivers aren’t compliant.
- You couldn’t see the vehicles far enough in advance: Maybe the tow truck pulled off without turning on their lights or maybe they were located just around the curve in a road that obscured your view. Either way, you couldn’t respond in time.
If you don’t believe a ticket you received for a Move Over violation was fair, talk to an attorney about your options. You may have more defenses available to you than you realize.