Most states require drivers to move their vehicles off the road or highway when coming to a stop, if possible. In 2013, Florida residents may recall the instance where a man pulled his vehicle over on the Saw grass Expressway in an attempt to save a cat in the middle of the highway. Another driver lost control of her vehicle, slammed into the pickup truck, and was killed instantly.
This story was an example of why stopping on a highway is not only dangerous, but it could be fatal for you or other drivers. According to Florida Statute, it is prohibited to stop, stand or park in specific places, including highways and freeways. The only time you can legally stop, stand or park is when the vehicle is disabled or if you are stopping to render aid to an injured individual.
Understanding the Move-Over Law
In 2002, Florida passed the Move-Over Law to reduce risk of accident, especially with officers and emergency responders who have to get out of their cars on the side of the road. The law requires any vehicle that is passing another stopped on the road, especially with flashing hazard lights, to change lanes and move away from that vehicle. In the event there is no way to move over, the vehicle must reduce their speed to pass safely.
What if You Must Stop?
If you must stop on the side of the road, there are things you can do to reduce the chances of injury or another driver striking your vehicle.
1. Put on your hazard lights immediately to signal other drivers you are on the side of the road. Turn your headlights to bright as well to notify drivers on the other side of the road.
2. Move your vehicle to the right shoulder and get as far off the road as possible.
3. Never pull over on a curve where vehicles don’t have visibility around the corner.
4. If you have a flat tire, but there is not a safe place to stop, continue to drive until you find one. It is better to ruin a rim than risk your life.
5. If stuck on the side of the road, call 9-1-1. While most drivers assume this isn’t an emergency, being stranded on the side of a busy highway requires immediate assistance.
6. If your vehicle is disabled in the middle of the highway, do not get out. You will be safer in the vehicle (with flashing lights) than attempting to cross a busy highway. Vehicles are more likely to see your car than you in the middle of the road.
7. If you are stranded at night, turn on all lights, including interior lights, so that your vehicle is as visible to other cars and emergency personnel as possible.
8. Never attempt to change a tire on the busy side of a highway; instead, call for a tow truck and move the vehicle to safety.
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