Move Over or Slow Down

January is Move Over Month in Florida. The Northeast Florida Department of Transportation District Two Community Traffic Safety Program reminds all motorists to obey Florida’s Move Over Law which helps protect those who protect us while they provide important services in a dangerous environment – the side of the road.

Move Over or Slow Down
Move over or slow down for stopped emergency and public service vehicles
Slow down if unable to move over for stopped emergency and public service vehicles
Pull over for moving emergency vehicles

In addition to first responders, this law also applies to other public servants and roadside workers. Drivers typically know to move over for law enforcement, fire rescue and emergency medical services. Many still do not realize the law requires them to move over for sanitation, utility, wrecker, maintenance, and construction vehicles. Basically, if motorists see a service vehicle on the side of the road with a flashing warning lights, they need to change lanes or slow down.

The Florida requirement expanding to cover these additional roadway service providers went into effect in July 2021. Preliminary data shows that in 2021, there were 191 crashes and more than 14,000 citations issued for motorists failing to move over in Florida, according to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV). Obeying Florida’s Move Over law will help ensure all personnel working along our roadways get home safely.

Florida Law, Move Over and Slow Down for Stopped Emergency and Service Vehicles

Move Over

  • As soon as it is safe to do so, vacate the lane closest to the stationary emergency vehicle, sanitation vehicle, utility service vehicle, wrecker, or road and bridge maintenance or construction vehicle when driving on an interstate highway or other highway with two or more lanes.
  • Always signal your intention to change lanes.
  • Be prepared to allow those who are attempting to move over into the next lane.

Slow Down

  • If moving over cannot be safely accomplished, slow down to a speed that is 20 mph less than the posted speed limit when the posted speed limit is 25 mph or greater; or travel at 5 mph when the posted speed limit is 20 mph or less when driving on a two-lane road.

Violating the Move Over law puts you and others at risk, and a citation will result in a fine, fees, and points on your driving record. To read the Florida Statue, see 316.126 – Operation of vehicles and actions of pedestrians on approach of an authorized emergency, sanitation, or utility service vehicle.

Pull Over for Moving Emergency Vehicles

Motorists should always remember to pay attention while driving and pull over for emergency vehicles approaching from behind. Help protect moving emergency vehicles by:

  • Yielding the right of way
  • Moving to the closest, safety edge of roadway
  • Clearing intersection
  • Remaining stopped until the vehicle has passed

Complete Streets

The Community Traffic Safety Program in Northeast Florida is committed to education, outreach, and the Target Zero goal of reducing serious injuries and deaths on our roadways. This presentation explains why FDOT’s Complete Streets are essential for safety and mobility. Learn about the policy, design guidance, strategies, and project examples.

Watch the video presentation of Complete Streets:

Because most of Florida’s population growth and development occurred in the “age of the automobile,” our transportation system can be challenging to non-motorized road users—pedestrians and cyclists. Complete Streets are essential for the safety and mobility of vulnerable road users.

The presentation includes national and Florida bicycle and pedestrian crash trends. In 2019, Florida had the highest number of bicycle fatalities. Pedestrian crashes account for approximately 20 percent of the fatal crashes in the 18 counties comprising District Two.

Recognizing these challenges, the FDOT Complete Streets policy was officially adopted in 2014. The approach for the Department is to consider all users of all ages and abilities in how it plans, designs, builds, and operates its transportation system. Complete Streets are roads designed not only for passenger cars and trucks but also for transit riders, pedestrians, and cyclists.

Flip through the Complete Streets presentation:

The context classification system broadly identifies the various built environments in Florida based on the general characteristics of land use, development patterns, and connectivity along a state roadway. These attributes provide cues to the types of uses that will likely utilize the road. This is used to make decisions about design parameters. The presentation provides an overview of each roadway context class.

Eight Context Classifications can be found throughout Northeast Florida:

  • C1 Natural – lands preserved in a natural or wilderness condition, including lands unsuitable for settlement due to natural conditions.
  • C2 Rural – sparsely settled areas which may include agricultural land, woodland, and wetlands.
  • C2T Rural Town – rural and natural areas immediately surround small concentrations of developed regions.
  • C3R Suburban Residential – primarily residential uses within large blocks and a disconnected, sparse major roadway network.
  • C3C Suburban Commercial – mostly non-residential uses with large building footprints and parking lots. Buildings are within large blocks and a disconnected/sparse roadway network.
  • C4 Urban General – areas with a mix of uses set within small blocks with a well-connected roadway network.
  • C5 Urban Center -typically concentrated around a few blocks and identified as part of a civic or economic center of a community with a well-connected grid network.
  • C6 Urban Core – areas with the highest densities and building heights within large, urbanized areas. Buildings have mixed uses and are close to roadways with a well-connected grid network.
  • LA Limited Access – roadways with grade separation and limited access, such as interstates and expressways.

Examples of strategies used in District Two to make streets safer and more complete for all users:

Towards the presentation’s conclusion are examples of successful Complete Streets projects in the Northeast Florida area, including before and after photos. One project on US 17/Main Street in Jacksonville reduced lane widths to provide space for a landscaped median and introduced street trees, enhanced crosswalks, and other features to manage speeds. As a result, it improved safety and made the roadway more accommodating for pedestrians.

Another example is along Archer Road in a more suburban area of Gainesville; we see how lane widths were reduced to provide for bicycle lanes. For instance, the introduction of a mid-block crosswalk to improve pedestrian connectivity.

A shared-use path was constructed on the right-of-way along State Road 207, a rural highway in East Palatka. The design and operation of the roadway were left unchanged for motorists. However, the new pathway provides for safer mobility of cyclists and pedestrians along the road.

We hope you take this opportunity to learn about Complete Streets and try new transportation options. The state of Florida celebrates Mobility Week to promote awareness of safe, multimodal transportation choices. Additionally, please check out our bicycle and pedestrian resources, and share the traffic safety messages.

Guide for Virtual CTST Meetings

FDOT District Two Community Traffic Safety Program uses Microsoft Teams for virtual team meetings. During the past two years, we have expanded the reach of our multi-county teams to serve our 18-county district better. We bring FDOT support to our monthly meetings from various department areas, including maintenance, public information, and engineering. This article is a guide for virtual CTST meetings and includes instructions for the Microsoft Teams platform and tips for looking and being your best as an attendee.

Meeting virtually has become the industry standard and allows more players to participate from a broader range across our district. While we miss meeting in person, this is an opportunity to save resources, reduce travel time and expenses, and bring vital members into the fold. 

How to Get Started

Teams can be downloaded as an app for your computer desktop, Android, or iOS: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-teams/download-app. Or you can join on the web: https://teams.microsoft.com/. Chances are, you have received a Teams invitation to a meeting, which might look something like the below. All you need to do is click on the link, and Teams will launch on your computer or in the mobile app. Using either the web version or the app version is just fine.

Guide for virtual CTST meetings

I clicked to join the meeting; what do I do on the first screen before I enter?

Once you click on the meeting link, you will have the chance to join via computer audio (which is the default) or by phone audio, in which case you would call in by phone and make sure your computer audio is off. You can also choose to join with your camera on or off. You can select a background filter (like a blur, a gallery photo, your photo, or no background filter, which means people WILL see your actual background in your space). Then, choose Join now.

I am in the meeting, now what?

Once you are in the meeting, you will most likely see a blank screen with tools on the screen’s top and/or side. Other members’ cameras (or their names) will begin to appear in the main part of the Teams screen as people join the meeting. Cameras/names will remain in this area until the host shares their screen with a presentation, if there is one. If not, cameras or names stay in that space.

How to toggle the camera and mic, how to share, and how to leave

You can click on the camera and the mic to turn them on and off. If you are asked to share your screen, click on Share and choose your screen or content. You can also leave the meeting by clicking on the red Leave button. We ask that you remain muted at all times unless you are speaking due to feedback and background noise.

How to use the chat feature, react, and view participants

We use the chat area to share our contact information and other helpful information, resources, and links. Everyone in the meeting can click on the “Chat” talk bubble to view the chat area. Teams does have a “Reactions” option that allows you to react to content (like, love, applaud, laugh, and surprise). We do not typically use the “raise hand” option in our meetings, it is an option if necessary. To see the other participants in the meeting, you can click on the “People” option.

Be the Best Virtual Meeting Attendee You Can Be

Let’s face it; meetings have always been a challenge.  But today, when people aren’t in the same room, it is more challenging than ever to get people to pay attention, let alone participate. Here are some tips on making your meeting experience more enjoyable for you and the other meeting participants.

Turn Your Camera On

Having your camera on lets the meeting host know that you care and plan to pay attention, versus not turning on your camera while multitasking and only half listening. Keeping your camera on whenever possible offers genuine involvement and helps everyone know you are engaged during the meeting.  

Call People By Name

All CTST meetings begin with the teams introducing themselves.  Discussions are much more successful and meaningful when people call you by name.  It automatically makes you feel important, and it makes you want to contribute to the meeting. 

Never Hold Side Conversations

Sometimes people in the same office need to join the team meeting, so they call together.  Calling in together is good and allows for camaraderie, but remember that you are in a group meeting.  If you need to take a phone call or engage in a side conversation with a co-worker, remember to mute your microphone so it will not interrupt the flow of the forum and distract the other attendees.

Remain Positive

Any meeting is always more enjoyable when the mood is upbeat.  Traffic safety is not rocket science, but we accomplish great things together.  We need to convey that energy – smiling when talking and acknowledging team members with accolades for tasks well done and solutions achieved.

How to Look Your Best During Virtual Meetings

While continuing to have remote meetings via video calls, we find people are looking more closely at how you show up, not less. Here are some tips and tricks to look your best because how you show up matters.

Lights

  • Avoid light behind you or in dark spaces, which add video noise and shadows and create imperfections
  • Face a window to allow the natural light to fill your features and hide facial lines and dark circles
  • If no window is available, place a tall lamp slightly behind the computer camera, so the light falls nicely on your face
  • Consider purchasing a “ring light” for consistent lighting (lots of options on Amazon for $15-30)

Camera

  • Position the camera slightly above eye level and angle down
  • Use a laptop stand ($16-40), box, basket, or anything stable to elevate the computer
  • Consider purchasing a webcam for more features and better quality ($30-$130)

Sound

  • Use earbuds or noise-canceling headphones
  • An external microphone that plugs into your computer via USB can be used to sound more professional for those of you hosting virtual meetings, podcasts, or webinars

Background

  • If you cannot find a great space in your home or office or out on location (e.g., parked in your car), use MS Teams Background filters to blur the background
  • Download a Traffic Safety Virtual Background from our website https://trafficsafetyteam.org/traffic-safety-virtual-backgrounds/ and in the Background settings, click +Add new, upload the file, and then select image

Professional Appearance

  • No hats are recommended, and hair should be neat
  • Limit touching your face, eating, or drinking on camera
  • Wear solid colors that compliment your skin tone and avoid busy or contrasty patterns
  • Make sure you are all buttoned up properly and no low-cut tops
  • Shoes are optional, but pants are not – you never know if you’ll need to stand up for any reason while the camera is still on
  • To help prevent the washed-out look video can give, consider using a face moisturizer, powder, and chapstick, or tinted lip gloss

Stay Engaged

  • Make eye contact with the camera when speaking
  • Avoid fidgeting and looking around too much (e.g., working on a second monitor)
  • Use the chat box and reaction icons when appropriate
  • Be active in the conversation and offer your professional input
  • Come prepared with something to discuss or a question you’d like to ask

CTST virtual meetings are an easy way to make a difference. Members can regularly address and solve roadway concerns affecting their local community by regularly participating. We appreciate the dedicated individuals and agencies consistently coming to the table and helping make the roads safer, ultimately reducing crashes, injuries, and fatalities!

Inclement Weather Safety

Traffic accidents increase during bad weather. Following the inclement weather safety tips below can reduce traffic-related crashes, injuries, and fatalities on our roadways. These traffic safety graphics and safe driving tips can be shared with your organization and community.

inclement weather safety
inclement weather safety

Today’s Forecast Calls for a Safe Drive

Sometimes we have the privilege of preparedness; other times Mother Nature mounts a sneak attack and we encounter a bad storm. Remember the saying “Expect the unexpected?” Knowing how to handle your vehicle in dangerous weather will prevent panic when you are forced into driving in a storm. Become weather-wise by following these simple guidelines:

  • Turn on your lights. Keep windshield wipers on and make sure they are in good working condition.
  • Slow down, but keep moving. Don’t stop unless you can get completely off the road.
  • Minimize lane changing.
  • Stay further behind the car in front of you.
  • Be careful of large puddles, they can make your brakes less effective.
  • On wet roads, apply brakes smoothly and evenly to avoid hydroplaning. If you do lose control, take your foot off the gas and do not apply the brakes suddenly.
  • Never drive through flood water more than six inches deep. If you encounter a flooded area, turn around. If your car stalls, abandon it immediately and climb to higher ground.

Northeast Florida experiences many challenging weather conditions that make it a hazard while driving. Thunderstorms and heavy fog are frequent occurrences. Hurricanes are also a significant concern. High winds, wet roads, and low visibility increase the crash risk. Plan ahead and be prepared for predicted storms and hurricanes. Please drive safe and stay off the road during inclement weather unless it’s an emergency.

Links to Safe Travel Information

4 E’s and More in Traffic Safety

The Northeast Florida Community Traffic Safety Program in FDOT District Two has long since integrated and promoted the 4 E’s. Our local Community Traffic Safety Teams (CTSTs) were founded on the four core values of road safety: enforcement, emergency service, engineering, and education.

It’s time to reevaluate the 4 E’s and more in traffic safety

The 4 E’s remain fundamental in traffic safety. However, as we work towards our goal of Target Zero, perhaps it is time to expand the list. Bringing new partners to the table can create better insight and opportunities to reduce the number and severity of crashes. This will result in fewer fatalities and serious injuries.

Evaluation is sometimes mentioned as the fifth E. Evaluating our roadway safety programs and crash facts has always been a critical function.

Innovation and technology play a big part in traffic safety today and in the future. Embedded technology could officially be added to the list as a vital part of road safety for six E’s. It continues to expand and grow with improved vehicle systems. Some embedded technology safety features include:

  • adaptive cruise control
  • airbag
  • telematics
  • traction control
  • in-vehicle entertainment
  • emission control system
  • parking system
  • navigation systems
  • collision sensors
  • climate control
  • radio
  • anti-lock braking systems

Evaluation and Embedded Technology brings it up to 6 E’s

Over the years, new players have been invited to the table. We need to do things differently to change the number and severity of crashes. Innovation and technology have helped us get where we are. Therefore, embedded technology needs to be included to continue learning and adapting.

Traffic safety partners are vital for every CTST. We must enlist, engage, encourage, and have equity to be effective. In summary, “it takes a village” to tackle and change driver behavior on our highways. We need to engage ALL players. This graphic illustrates our adaptation of the four original E’s of road safety and expands with the new E’s to enhance and complete the process.

4 E’s and More in Traffic Safety

10 E’s in Traffic Safety:

  • Engineering
  • Education
  • Enforcement
  • Emergency Medical Services
  • Evaluation
  • Embedded Technology
  • Engage
  • Enlist
  • Encourage
  • Equity

The Northeast Florida Community Traffic Safety Teams are locally based groups of highway safety advocates committed to solving traffic safety problems through a comprehensive, multi-jurisdictional, multidisciplinary approach. Our teams comprise members from the four “E” disciplines of highway safety—Engineering, Education, Enforcement, and Emergency Medical Services. Members also include City, County, and State representatives, private industry, and citizens. The common goal of each team is to reduce the number and severity of traffic crashes within their community.

Engage, Enlist, Encourage, and Equity are four more E’s to consider

Community Traffic Safety Team members are a vital part of the program. They work together to help solve local traffic safety problems related to drivers, vehicles, and roadways. Four additional E’s have been brought to the table that could assist these members, partners, and agencies. The new categories include Engage Your Audience,  Enlist Your People, Encourage Your Team, and Equity Sharing Opportunities.

In addition, it has been asked, “Should we expand safety strategies to include the 4 I’s?” These related topics benefit the Community Traffic Safety Program and improve the traffic safety culture. The 4 I’s include:

  • Information Intelligence
  • Innovation
  • Insight into Communities
  • Investment & Policies

In conclusion, the 4 E’s remain a core traffic safety function. However, there is room to grow. Adding additional strategies and insight can help work towards ZERO fatalities on our roadways.