Why is the wording of ‘Move Over OR Slow Down’ so important?

We have previously published an article about what is commonly known as the ‘Move Over Law,’ but the subject has proved to be contentious, so let’s look at the importance of the wording in more detail.

This post will focus specifically on divided highways.  Undivided roads often require much lower speeds from the passing vehicles, and in extreme situations, possibly even the need for drivers to stop. 

We will discuss the divided highway scenario by talking about a vehicle standing on the shoulder on the right.  Naturally, the lateral aspects need to be reversed if the static vehicle is on the left, beside the median.

This unmodified photograph was taken with a long lens from distance, and from two lanes away from the red pick-up truck. The truck driver easily could have changed lanes, away from the man on the shoulder but didn’t. The expression of the man on the shoulder says it all! [Copyright image, 2020]

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Memorial Page – State Trooper Christopher Lambert (IL)

On January 12, 2019, Illinois StateTrooper Christopher Lambert was killed at the scene of a prior three-vehicle traffic crash in the left lane of interstate I-294 near Willow Road, IL.  While he was dealing with that crash, another vehicle failed to stop and struck Trooper Lambert while he was outside of his patrol car.

Trooper Christopher Lambert, I.S.P.

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Memorial Page – NY State Trooper David W. Cunniff

Trooper Cunniff, 35, died on December 17, 2013, as a result of injuries he received a day prior when his patrol car was struck by a tractor trailer.

Photo: NYSP

Trooper Cunniff had made a traffic stop on the New York State Thruway in the City of Amsterdam. While he was in the process of issuing a traffic summons, a tractor trailer veered off the roadway and struck his patrol car as well as the vehicle he had stopped.

Trooper Cunniff was a nine-year veteran and was assigned to SP Fultonville at the time of his death.
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Move Over Or Slow Down (the wording is important)

Around the USA, most states have legislation for which the name is typically shortened to the ‘Move Over Law,’ but some states then go on to give advice that is inaccurate and potentially unsafe.

An almost perfect sign in New York State.  The safest advice is ‘Move Over or Slow Down.’ See the article for a full explanation.   (Copyright image, 2019.)

For example “slow down and move over” is inviting extra danger yet some states do use that wording in the advice they give.

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