Nearly All Motorists are Concerned about Being on the Roadside Near High-Speed Traffic
AURORA, Ill., (October 13, 2022) – 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, and roughly a quarter of motorists don’t know that Slow Down, Move Over laws exist in their state. In Illinois, 54 people were killed in crashes while outside of a disabled vehicle from 2016 to 2020.
AAA - The Auto Club Group hopes to broaden educational efforts with its new “Move Over for Me” campaign that reminds drivers to move over for all motorists stuck on the roadside, as well as first responders. To help kick off this campaign, AAA worked with the Office of Governor JB Pritzker on a proclamation declaring Saturday, October 15th “Slow Down, Move Over” Day.
“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 Scott VerBracken, Vice President of Automotive Services 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. The Auto Club Group has created advocacy messages featuring familiar roadside scenarios like getting a flat tire, engine trouble, or running out of gas. This campaign will appear on social media, at events in our communities, in The Auto Club Group’s 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.
“If you see a disabled vehicle, be courteous and Move Over,” said Molly Hart, spokesperson for AAA–The Auto Club Group. “Remember the person on the roadside could be you, a friend, family member, coworker, or neighbor. Move Over For Me because it is the right thing to do.”
To protect emergency responders, AAA and other traffic safety advocates have led the way in getting Move Over laws passed in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. This year, AAA is also working with the Towing and Recovery Association of America to introduce a federal resolution for a National Move Over Law Day. A national day is one more way to remind drivers of the importance of paying attention, slowing down and moving over when they see others at the side of the road working or stranded with a disabled vehicle.
AAA’s tips to protect roadside workers and stranded motorists:
- Remain alert. Avoid distractions and focus on driving.
- Keep an eye out for emergency vehicles – including tow trucks – that have their lights on as well as cars that have their flashers on. Move over one lane when you see them and if you can’t move over, slow down to safely pass them.
- Be a good passenger. Help identify roadway issues and remind the driver to slow down and move over.
- Watch for people on the roadside. People may be in or near a disabled vehicle. Just because you don’t immediately see them doesn’t mean they aren’t there.
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.