With construction season around the corner the Wisconsin State Patrol is reminding drivers to slow down and move over.
State law requires drivers approaching emergency or roadside service vehicles that are displaying flashing lights to move over to the farthest lane away from them.
“As early as possible take that lane early so that the people behind you can also see that the lane is taken up and they can move over,” said Lt. Les Mlsna. “If you wait until the last second sometimes you’re creating a surprise for the person behind you if they can’t see that well ahead of your vehicle.”
If you’re unable to do so then you’re required to at least reduce your speed.
“We need to have the people slow down to a reasonable speed to pass safely those emergency vehicles that are working on the side of the roadway,” said Mlsna.
The Department of Transportation says drivers need to provide a safety zone for stopped law enforcement, emergency and maintenance vehicles.
The “Move Over Law” is meant to safeguard officers, road maintenance workers and emergency responders.
“We have more construction workers hit during construction season because that’s their bread and butter that’s when they’re out on the highways trying to do their jobs, repair our roads, so we can get to our destinations,” said Mlsna.
The DOT said if a road has more than one lane like the interstate and you can switch lanes safely you must move away from the lane closest to the vehicle with flashing lights. If it’s a single directional lane you must reduce your speed.
“We’re doing a dangerous thing as safely as we can so we just need the help of motorists to be paying attention, to obey that law to move over or slow down just to give that safety buffer we need in doing those things we do on the side of the roadway,” said Mlsna.
State patrol said the total cost of a citation for not moving over can run more than two $260.
According to the DOT, the failure of motorist to move over is one of the reasons that crashes kill more law enforcement officers on duty than any other cause.