AAA has long been an advocate for Slow Down, Move Over laws, requiring drivers to slow down and move over for emergency responders on the roadside. The organization regularly works with the Iowa Department of Transportation on traffic safety initiatives, yet there continues to be an alarming number of roadway fatalities. Nationwide, 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. AAA — The Auto Club Group and the Iowa Department of Transportation hope to educate motorists on Iowa’s law by partnering on AAA’s “Move Over for Me” campaign, which reminds drivers to move over for all disabled vehicles on the roadside.
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. Iowa took the safety initiative a step further by updating the law in 2021 to include any stationary motor vehicle on the roadside, including passenger vehicles, as long as they have lights continually flashing (which could include emergency hazard lights). This addition makes Iowa one of ten states* currently protecting stranded motorists with legislation.
“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,” Scott VerBracken, Vice President of Automotive Services for AAA — The Auto Club Group, said. “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.”
AAA and the Iowa Department of Transportation hope to increase awareness of Iowa’s Move Over law, with AAA’s “Move Over for Me” campaign. The campaign features familiar roadside scenarios such as getting a flat tire, having engine trouble or running out of gas. With the help of the Iowa Department of Transportation, the campaign will appear on social media, at events in local communities, in AAA Living magazine, on service vehicles, and in AAA retail facilities.
To further their commitment to safety, the Iowa Department of Transportation also launched a new traffic safety campaign, What Drives You, geared to get viewers thinking about who or what is waiting for them at the end of their journey. They hope this thought will help drivers act more safely along the way, including slowing down and watching out for what is on the road ahead.
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 and cars with 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. If you see flashing lights, move over or slow down. 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.
- Travel to the next exit or stopping point, if you are able to safely 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.