What Is Arizona’s “Move Over” Law?

Jan 16, 2019 | Safety Information

If you’re driving on an Arizona road and you come upon a vehicle with flashing lights that has pulled over to the side of the road, what should you do? If you spot the flashing lights of an ambulance or police car heading in your direction, how should you respond?

Emergency vehicles like fire trucks, ambulances and police cars are a common sight on Arizona roads. Arizona’s “Move Over” law outlines the actions drivers must take when they encounter one of these vehicles either traveling on the roadway or sitting on the side of the road.

When do I need to “move over”?

Arizona’s “Move Over” law deals with two specific types of situations: When an emergency vehicle is sitting on the side of a road, and when it is traveling on the roadway. In both situations, the rule applies if the vehicle’s flashing lights are activated.

What do I do if a vehicle is sitting on the side of the road with its flashing lights on?

When an emergency vehicle is sitting on the side of the road with its flashing lights, drivers in Arizona are required to move over by one lane, in order to leave an empty lane of space between themselves and the vehicle. For instance, if you encounter an accident on the side of the road and an ambulance is parked there with its lights on, move to the left lane.

In some situations, it isn’t safe to move over by one lane. If you cannot move safely, slow down and give as much space as you can to the parked emergency vehicle without endangering yourself or others on the road.

What do I do if a vehicle is on the road with its lights on?

If you’re driving and you see or hear an emergency vehicle approaching with its lights and siren on, the “Move Over” law requires you to move as close to the right-hand side of the road as you can and stop. Stay there until the emergency vehicle has passed you. Once the vehicle has passed, stay alert to traffic around you as you start to move again.

The law also includes rules for traveling around police cars with their lights or sirens on. For instance, if you are behind the police vehicle, don’t travel beside it in the same lane or approach it from behind. Instead, keep a distance of at least three hundred feet (the length of a football field) between yourself and the police car until it pulls over to the side of the road. Then, you can pass it by following the rules for passing parked emergency vehicles.

Why does the “Move Over” law exist?

The law serves two primary purposes. For emergency vehicles parked on the side of roads, the law helps protect both emergency services personnel and individuals who may have suffered a breakdown or been in an accident. By requiring passing traffic to move over or slow down, the law helps to create necessary space between the passing traffic and the emergency vehicles, which can help prevent another accident or reduce the risk of an existing accident becoming even more dangerous.

For emergency vehicles passing through traffic, the law helps clear the roadways, allowing these vehicles to travel as quickly as possible to their destinations. For a sick or injured person in an ambulance, the few seconds created by a clear roadway could be the difference between life and death. Similarly, fire trucks and police vehicles often have a need to move as quickly as possible through traffic in order to prevent injury or death.

By requiring drivers to move to the right and stop, the law helps open up the roadways at crucial moments, allowing emergency vehicles to travel as quickly as possible while also seeking to reduce the risks that one of these vehicles will be involved in an accident en route.

Where can I read the “move over” law for myself?

The entire “Move Over” law is available online for drivers to read. The text of the “Move Over” law appears in section 28.775(e) of the Arizona Revised Statutes.

The law was enacted in 2008 and expanded in 2011. Drivers who took driver training before these dates may wish to review the law for themselves. All Arizona drivers can benefit from checking for updates to driving laws from time to time, so they can ensure they’re traveling as safely as possible on Arizona roads.

If you have specific questions about the law or how it applies to a particular situation, talk to an Arizona lawyer.

If you’ve been injured in an accident, don’t hesitate to contact an experienced personal injury lawyer. The attorneys at the Folger Law Firm are dedicated to helping our clients seek the compensation they need.

We work on a contingency basis, so you won’t pay fees unless we recover for you.

Contact us today to learn more.