If you see someone whose car has broken down on the side of the road, your first instinct may be to move away. What you may not realize is that Tennessee actually has a law that requires you to do so. The Move Over Law instructs you to change lanes when it is safe to do so. Its purpose is to protect lives, especially those of police officers, emergency responders, utility workers and any other public employees who may be engaged in job duties.

If you have ever been broken down on the side of the road, you know how scary it can be to have cars whizzing by you in excess of 50 miles an hour. When help finally arrives, this law ensures that you and those coming to your aid are safe from getting hit.

The law states that if you are travelling on a multi-lane road, you should try to move over to an adjacent lane when approaching vehicles that are stopped on the side of the road. Understanding that circumstances may not always permit you to change langes, the law also provides that you may instead remain in your lane but slow down and practice caution when passing the stopped vehicles.

Since the law was enacted in 2003, it has most likely saved numerous lives. However, according to the Tennessee Department of Safety & Homeland Security, there were still over 1,800 move over violations cited by the Tennessee Highway Patrol in 2014. Therefore, it appears that more widespread awareness could drastically reduce the number of violations cited and further prevent tragic injuries to drivers and first responders. By obeying Tennessee's Move Over Law, you are not only helping protect first responders but also making the roads safer for all drivers.


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