There’s a law in Maryland that drivers may not know about. This is the ‘Move Over’ traffic safety law (a similar law also exists in Virginia, but not DC). In Maryland, what this law means is that if you’re approaching a stopped emergency vehicle, you need to do one of two things:
- If possible, change to another lane that isn’t immediately next to the emergency vehicle.
- If it isn’t possible to change lanes safely, drive at a cautious speed (don’t exceed the speed limit, and if possible, go even slower to give yourself enough opportunity to react to someone who might be walking around the emergency vehicle).
As discussed in a recent Dr. Gridlock advice column in the Washington Post, breaking this law could lead to fines and points on your license.
There are also implications for people’s safety that need to be considered.
The law was implemented to better protect people at traffic accident sites from oncoming vehicles. These vulnerable people include first responders such as EMTs, firefighters, and police officers; a new modification to the law will also cover tow truck drivers. And in addition to the individuals who have arrived on the scene in an emergency vehicle, there are also the drivers and passengers involved in the accident.
If you’re approaching an accident site, be extra cautious. And if you’ve been involved in an accident, it’s also important to take care afterwards. If possible, move your vehicle safely off the road. When getting out of your vehicle, make sure you aren’t wandering into the path of oncoming traffic; stay off the road as much as possible. Try to use emergency lights or (if there isn’t a fuel spill) flares to signal that an accident has occurred; don’t go out onto the middle of the street to direct traffic.
People do get struck by oncoming vehicles on the site of accidents or vehicle breakdowns, often with fatal or otherwise terrible consequences. Don’t hesitate to contact an experienced Anne Arundel County accident lawyer to discuss any accident you’ve suffered, including a collision that took place after another accident. Hopefully, with greater caution exercised by you and other people on the road, you’ll avoid a second collision following a traffic crash.
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