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Moving Over

So today must be “Thruway Clean Up Day” since there were at least 6 different crews that I saw on the way to work that were… cleaning up. They had the typical yellow Thruway truck on the side of the road and there were 2-4 people with each vehicle picking up trash and doing whatnot.

Traffic was universally decent about moving over to the left lane to give them space. Well, there was one time that you couldn’t see ahead far enough because of the hills and I came up on it kinda quickly but even then there was at least an effort made by the drivers. Most of the workers were actually down the swell and away from the side of the road but the truck was firmly on the side of the road.

Now the Curmudgeon and I were discussing this the other day and he demanded to know what would happen if there was nowhere to move to. Even on a highway with 2 lanes in one direction, sometimes traffic volume makes it difficult to merge to the other lane. And what happened if people didn’t move over? I responded that I thought there was a ‘slow down’ part of this but he wasn’t so sure.

Google-fu to the rescue!

The State Police have a very nicely done press release here: http://troopers.ny.gov/Public_Information/2010_News_Releases/12-15-10_Drivers_Beware_Ambrose-Searles_Move_Over_Act_to_Begin_January_1st_2011.cfm that talks about the law that went into effect on January 1.

Things I guess I didn’t pay attention to when I heard about the new law:

  • the ‘move over’ requirement is specifically for emergency vehicles and doesn’t address my Thruway clean up folk. Therefore, technically, we didn’t have to move over for them. (Although it’s a good habit to get into.)
  • the part no one paid attention to today was the ‘reduce speed’ part of the law. Although…. keep reading. 

The actual language of the law (which is technically an Act to amend existing vehicle and traffic law) from a NY gov web site:

§ 1144-a. Operation of vehicles when approaching a parked, stopped or standing authorized emergency vehicle. Every operator of a motor vehicle shall exercise due care to avoid colliding with an authorized emergency vehicle which is parked, stopped or standing on the shoulder or any portion of such highway and such authorized emergency vehicle is displaying one or more red or combination red and white lights pursuant to the provisions of paragraph two of subdivision forty-one of section three hundred seventy-five of this chapter. For  operators of motor vehicles on parkways or controlled access highways, such due care shall include, but not be limited to, moving from a lane which contains or is immediately adjacent to the shoulder where such authorized emergency vehicle displaying one or more red or combination red and white lights pursuant to the provisions of paragraph two of subdivision forty-one of section three hundred seventy-five of this chapter is parked, stopped or standing to another lane, provided that such movement otherwise complies with the requirements of this chapter including, but not limited to, the provisions of sections eleven hundred ten of this title and eleven hundred twenty-eight of this title.

Yeah. I get to the second sentence and it becomes blah, blah, blah, blah….

For me, the key phrase is “exercise due care” — that means: pay attention, get out of the way, slow down and just be careful. I can do that. So can you.

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