Top 10 DMV Questions – Understand the Move Over Law

Move Over banner - NHTSA

Understand the “Move Over” law

Most permit practice tests or real driver’s license tests include questions about the “Move Over” law. Over the years, there has been more focus on this important law – that’s why you should know everything there is to know about it.

It is not just a law – it’s the right thing to do!

Move Over Law - NHTSA

Leading Cause of Death of Police Officers

Preliminary data shows that three law enforcement officers were struck and killed in 2014 as a result of drivers not obeying the “Move Over” law. Data also shows that being struck by a vehicle is the 4th-leading cause of death of police officers. In 2013, 46 law enforcement officers were struck and killed in traffic-related incidents.

Not the Same Law in All States

Details of the “Move Over” law differ between states, but the general idea behind the law is the same. It requires motorists to change lanes away from public safety vehicles to help protect public safety personnel.

The General Idea

If there are two lanes or more lanes in the same direction, you must move over to the lane farthest away from a stopped emergency vehicle – if you can to do so safely. If you are unable move over to another lane, you must slow down speed and pass with caution. Some laws specify what your speed should be. A rule-of-thumb is to slow down at least 20 mph below the posted speed limit.

Keep a safe distance to stopped vehicles, officers, and any emergency personnel. The closer they are to the travel lane, the slower your speed should be.

Authorized emergency vehicles usually include all tow trucks, ambulances, fire trucks, and police cars. As soon as you see white or colored flashing lights on or beside the road, assume that it is an authorized emergency vehicle.

Penalties for not obeying the move over law can be as high as $500. In some States, a violation of the law may result in jail time as well.

Questions on Your Permit Test

Before taking your permit test or driver’s license exam, you must become familiar with the “Move Over” law in your state. All 50 States have such a law, but very few Americans (71 percent) know they exist! This is why you should expect questions about this law on your permit test.

Permit practice tests on will include more practice questions on the “Move Over” law, starting 2015.

Read More: New York Mover Over Law – Example


  1. If there two lanes going one direction and the right lane which is a full lane that has diagonal lines and is empty space between the left lane and the shoulder where a cop car is parked, is that still considered a that you are in the left lane of the road and far enough from the patrol car?

    • Diagonal lines mean that it is not a traffic lane, but a divider. So, judging from you description the road has just one traffic lane with a divider/empty space/gore between the shoulder and the traffic lane. If the divider is just as wide as a traffic lane, I doubt that you would be violating the move over law. But consider the safety of any officer first, slow down if needed.

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