Nearly All Motorists Concerned about Being Stranded on Roadside Near High-Speed Traffic
AAA has long been an advocate for “Move Over” laws, requiring drivers to slow down and move over for emergency responders on the roadside, yet there continues to be an alarming number of fatalities.
Nearly 350 people are struck and killed outside a disabled vehicle each year in the United States, and roughly a quarter of motorists don’t know that Slow Down, Move Over laws exist in their state. In North Dakota, that number is even higher, with more than one-third of residents (36%) unaware of the state’s law.
AAA North Dakota hopes to broaden the law and educational efforts with its new “Move Over for Me” campaign that asks drivers to move over for all motorists stuck on the roadside as well as first responders.
“For years, Slow Down, Move Over efforts have focused on emergency responders, and it’s critical that we continue to protect these individuals who come to the aid of motorists,” said Gene LaDoucer, regional director of public affairs for AAA – the Auto Club Group. “But as motorists get flat tires, break down, run out of gas, or find themselves otherwise in trouble at the roadside, they also face the dangerous elements of high-speed traffic and need the same protection.”
A new survey by AAA finds that 97% of motorists are concerned about vehicles passing at high speeds when they are stopped on the side of the road. This, coupled with the rising number of roadway fatalities, reinforces that motorists need to slow down and move over for all vehicles on the roadside, regardless of if it is an emergency vehicle or tow provider with flashing lights or a disabled vehicle belonging to a driver with their hazard lights on.
AAA hopes to increase awareness of existing Move Over laws with its “Move Over for Me” campaign, beginning in October. Advocacy messages featuring familiar roadside scenarios like getting a flat tire, engine trouble, or running out of gas will appear on social media, at events in our communities, in AAA Living magazine, on service vehicles and in AAA retail facilities. As one tow truck driver is killed every other week while working on the roadside, the campaign will also utilize AAA’s familiar service providers.
AAA’s tips to protect roadside workers and stranded motorists:
- Remain alert. Avoid distractions and focus on driving.
- Maintain visibility on everything going on 20 to 30 seconds ahead of you. This gives you time to see problems ahead and change lanes and speed accordingly.
- Emergencies can occur anywhere on the road. When you see flashing lights, slow down and prepare well in advance to change lanes. Allow others to merge into your lane when necessary.
- Don’t follow semi-trucks or other large vehicles too closely. If a truck moves into a left-hand lane, don’t speed around the right side. They are changing lanes for a reason; be prepared to change lanes yourself.
- In slippery conditions don’t make sudden lane changes, which can cause an uncontrollable skid. Change lanes early and move over gradually.
- Be a good passenger. Help identify roadway issues and remind the driver to slow down and move over.
For Stranded Motorists
- Pull as far over on the shoulder as safely possible to create more distance between your vehicle and passing traffic.
- Turn your hazard lights on so other drivers are aware you are there.
- If you are able to safely make it to the next exit or stopping point, do so.
- Call for assistance via phone, website or the AAA Mobile app.
- Remain with your vehicle as long as it’s safe to do so.
- If getting out of your vehicle, watch the oncoming traffic for a good time to exit, and remain alert and close to your vehicle. Avoid turning your back to traffic whenever possible.
About AAA - The Auto Club Group
The Auto Club Group (ACG) is the second largest AAA club in North America with more than 13 million members across 14 U.S. states, the province of Quebec and two U.S. territories. ACG and its affiliates provide members with roadside assistance, insurance products, banking and financial services, travel offerings and more. ACG belongs to the national AAA federation with more than 62 million members in the United States and Canada. AAA’s mission is to protect and advance freedom of mobility and improve traffic safety. For more information, get the AAA Mobile app, visit AAA.com, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.