What to do when you see flashing lights on the side of the road ahead

May 8, 2024 | CAA Niagara


What to do when you see flashing lights on the side of the road ahead

We've all been there: cruising down the road, music playing, when a flash of light catches your eye. It's an emergency or service vehicle on the side of the road, lights blazing. But what should you do? In Ontario, the answer is clear: Slow Down and Move Over.

The Move Over Law, part of the Highway Traffic Act, is there to protect the brave folks who respond to emergencies on our roads – firefighters, paramedics, police officers, tow truck drivers, and utility workers. When their vehicles are stopped with flashing lights activated (including amber lights for tow trucks), it means they're likely in a dangerous situation.

Slow Down, Move Over. It's a simple act, but one that can be the difference between life and death:

How to Pass Safely:

  • Slow down. This is the most important step.
  • Check your surroundings for any oncoming traffic. Remember to always signal your intention before changing lanes.
  • When it's safe, change lanes to pass the vehicle.
  • Pass with caution if you can't move over.
  • Leave plenty of space between your car and the pulled-over vehicles.
  • Once you've passed safely, check your mirrors and return to your original lane.
  • Always be aware of your surroundings and drive cautiously.

Why Move Over?

It's not just the law (and the potential fines!). By moving over, you:

  • Reduce the risk of accidents.
  • Give roadside workers the space they need to do their jobs effectively.
  • Help to keep traffic flowing more smoothly.

The Move Over Law is outlined in Section 159 (2,3) of the Highway Traffic Act.
To learn more about the importance of slowing down and moving over, click here.
To learn more on CAA Niagara’s road safety initiatives, click here.

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Tags: road safety, Community, News, Safety for Life

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