People of all ages rely on highways to safely get where they’re going. Speed limits and traffic signals are critical parts of keeping drivers and passengers free from harm, as are first responders who put their lives on the line every day.

Vehicles traveling at highway speeds pose a deadly threat to police officers, firefighters and roadside technicians who have stopped to help motorists and must often work within just a few feet of speeding vehicles.

Slow down, move over laws are aimed at keeping first responders safe at the roadside. The laws – versions of which exist in all 50 states – are simple to understand. Whenever approaching a vehicle with its emergency lights illuminated, drivers should exercise caution, slow down and, if possible, move over.

Drivers can familiarize themselves with their states’ specific move over laws by visiting the AAA Digest of Motor Laws.

“Our first responders’ lives depend on drivers adhering to slow down, move over laws,” said Kimberly Schwind, senior manager public affairs for AAA Ohio Auto Club. “Those that work so diligently to keep our roads safe deserve protection and peace of mind. That’s why it’s imperative drivers pay attention and slow down or move over when approaching any stationary emergency vehicle.”

Ohio state law requires drivers approaching a stationary emergency vehicle displaying flashing lights, including road service vehicles, traveling in the same direction, to vacate the lane closest to if safe and possible to do so, or slow to a speed safe for road, weather, and traffic conditions. Also included in the law are road maintenance vehicles.

First responders do their part to protect us on the road. Let’s return the favor and keep them safe by slowing down, and moving over.