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

Driving Tips for Teens

FDOT District Two Community Traffic Safety Program developed ten short videos with driving tips for teens. A series of brief educational and informative traffic safety messages were posted on YouTube for National Teen Driver Safety Week – and all year long. The highest percentage of our Traffic Safety Team YouTube channel audience (41.6%) is between the ages of 18 and 24, and an ideal place to help educate teens about speeding, distracted driving, and other road rules.

According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, in 2021, Florida teens made up nearly 5 percent of Florida’s driving population. However, more than 11 percent of all motor vehicle crashes in Florida involved a teen driver. Parents, teachers, and caregivers are a great source of driver education, and we hope they share these videos.

Occupant Protection and Distracted Driving Road Rules:

Buckle Up – It Can Save Your Life
Stop Distractions – Focus on Driving

Safety belts save lives! Buckling up properly is the single, most effective way to protect yourself in a crash. Wear your safety belt across your shoulder and your waist. Front seat drivers and passengers AND backseat passengers under age 18 – MUST wear a safety belt (Florida Law!)

Distracted driving is NOT just from cell phones but also includes: talking to passengers, eating, adjusting the radio, reaching for items in the backseat, putting on cosmetics, and anything that takes your attention away from the roadway. Please put your phone down, and focus on driving! In Florida, texting and driving are not just dangerous; it’s illegal.

Bicycle Safety and Motorcycle Driving Tips for Teens and All Motorists:

Bike Safety for Cyclists and Motorists
Please Always Ride Responsibly

Cyclists, please note: Lighting equipment on your bicycle is required at night. Helmets are required for those under 16 years of age. You are required to have properly working brakes. Always ride on the right-hand shoulder of the road. Do not wear earbuds in both ears. Motorists, this is Florida law: When passing a bike on the roadway, you must give three feet when passing. Please watch for sharrow markings on the road – this means that motorists must share the lane with cyclists.

Many factors can lead to motorcycle crashes – not just inexperienced motorcycle riders and motorists – but careless driving. Left turns in front of motorcycles are the leading reason for a crash – 40% of the time. Always look twice and drive with care. Bikes that are over 50cc require an endorsement on your license – Make sure you get the proper training and wear a helmet!

Pedestrian Safety and Florida’s Move Over Law:

Learn About Pedestrian RRFBs
Move Over and Slow Down

Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons (RRFB) Tips for pedestrians: Activate the signal by pushing the button. Wait for the lights to flash. Step to the curb and wait for traffic to stop. Cross the road while constantly monitoring traffic. And tips for Florida drivers: If you approach an RRFB and the lights are flashing, and a pedestrian is present, you must come to a complete stop at the stop bar. Remain stopped until the pedestrians are across the roadway. You may proceed with caution after the pedestrians have cleared the road.

Drivers, here is what you need to know about the Florida Move Over Law. This law includes police, emergency, service vehicles, Florida Road Rangers, tow trucks, construction, and other utility vehicles that are stopped on the side of the road and displaying flashing yellow, red, or blue lights. On approach, move over one lane. If you cannot safely move over, reduce your speed by at least 20 mph below. Police are cracking down. You might receive a moving violation if you do not abide by this Florida law

Lane Departure and Intersection Traffic Safety Tips:

Lane Departure is a Leading Cause of Fatalities
Traffic Safety at Intersections

Speeding on a curve is one of the leading causes of lane departure crashes. Never accelerate going into a curve! Release acceleration, coast through the curve, then resume acceleration. Chevrons, rumble strips, barriers, and guardrails are all countermeasures to reduce lane departure. Please drive carefully!

In Florida, intersections are among the top 2 locations for serious injury crashes. When approaching an intersection, be aware of driveway accesses, vehicles that suddenly come to a complete stop, and cars that suddenly change lanes in front of you. When stopped at a red light, check for pedestrians. Yield to pedestrians and bicyclists before turning right. When you see the flashing yellow arrow, yield to oncoming traffic and pedestrians.

School Bus and Railroad Crossing Safety Reminders:

Stop for School Buses
Railroad Crossing Safety Tips

Here are some important railroad crossing tips to keep in mind: Do not drive through, around, or under a railroad crossing gate. Never stop on the tracks. Stay back at least 15 feet from the track. Walking or stopping on the tracks is hazardous.

When the yellow lights begin to flash on a school bus, it is coming to a stop to load or unload students; you must stop and do not pass the bus. Remain stopped until the stop panels are retracted, the door is closed, and the bus begins to proceed. The only time you are not required to stop for a school bus is if you are in the opposing lanes of the bus on a roadway with a raised median or physical barrier of at least five feet or more.

These road rules apply to drivers of all ages, significantly younger inexperienced motorists. The goal is to reduce crashes and eliminate fatalities and severe injuries on our roadways. #TargetZeroFL

Other Important Reminders for Teen Drivers:

  • Reduce the number of passengers
  • Lower music volume
  • Use turn signals
  • Limit driving at dark
  • Obey the speed limit
  • Stop at stop signs and traffic lights
  • Share the road

According to Safe Kids Worldwide, more than half of teens killed in crashes were not wearing a safety seat belt. We cannot say this enough, please always buckle up for every car ride!

Links to Additional Resources and Driving Tips for Teens:

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.

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

Traffic Safety Talk Summer 2022

FDOT District Two Community Traffic Safety Program News and Information Update – Click here to download this edition of Traffic Safety Talk Summer 2022. In this issue, various projects from the past six months are highlighted. They include:

  • Safety Belt Use in Northeast Florida with four new occupant protection messages
  • 4 E’s and More in Traffic Safety
  • Reinforcing Florida’s Bike Safety Law
  • Move Over or Slow Down safety campaign and digital tip cards
  • Safety Town videos and coloring pages for children
  • Get Out and Move for Safety virtual event

Traffic Safety Talk Summer 2022 Newsletter Flip-book:

District Two Community Traffic Safety Outreach Online

Over the past year, TrafficSafetyTeam.org had 11,434 website sessions. New visitors make up of 76% of our visits. Our Instagram following has shown the most growth from 297 to 392. Our YouTube videos have had 689 hours of watch time. Pinterest views averaged 27,000 per month. Non-alcoholic mocktail drink recipes remain very popular on all platforms – St. Patrick’s Day Lucky Lime had 1,242 reactions in March 2022. A variety of posts exceeded social media engagement goals.

Traffic Safety Talk Summer 2022 CHAMPION –
Dr. Morya E. Willis

Targeting the best-of-the-best, Dr. Willis is the bullseye! We hope you will take a moment to read this article. She shared some of her Community Traffic Safety Team experiences – past, present and future. You will get insight on why she is a true Community Traffic Safety Program “Champion!”

Traffic Safety Outreach

If you have an upcoming event or an idea for community outreach that involves traffic safety, please let us know how we can help! We can share your event on our social media platforms, at team meetings, in an email, and highlight it in our next newsletter. Please email us at: trafficsafetyteam@dot.state.fl.us

Click here to read the complete CTSP Traffic Safety Talk – Summer 2022 newsletter and see upcoming projects.

Engineering Concerns

Our members are local highway safety advocates. They are committed to solving traffic safety problems through a comprehensive, multi-jurisdictional, multidisciplinary approach. A major function of the CTSTs is to submit, review and address solutions for these concerns. Since last summer, we have:

  • Followed 323 Engineering Concerns
  • Received 128 New Concerns
  • Closed 127 Issues

Tailing Traffic Safety

District Two CTSP wrapped 40 fleet vehicle truck tailgates. The three traffic safety messages included occupant protection, bicycle safety and stop speeding reminders.