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Obey 'move over' laws to avoid accidents

Do you know what South Carolina's "Move Over" law is and how to follow it?

If you don't, you're hardly alone. A Move Over law requires drivers who happen across emergency vehicles on their side of the road to make safety adjustments to their driving. However, many drivers are unaware that such laws exist and continue to put emergency workers and others in significant danger.

The majority of the United States has some variation of a Move Over law -- although the specifics differ somewhat from state to state.

In South Carolina, the Move Over law is designed specifically with paramedics, police officers, firefighters and tow truck drivers in mind. However, it also requires drivers to treat temporary construction or roadwork zones -- whether they're marked by flashing lights or the standard orange construction signs -- the same way.

Under the law, drivers who see flashing lights or orange construction indicators ahead on the road are expected to recognize the scene as a hazard and respond accordingly:

-- Drivers should remain attentive and watch for workers and accident victims who may be either close to the edge of traffic or actually in their lane.

-- Drivers need to reduce their speed. While South Carolina doesn't mandate a specific speed unless there is a sign posted (like in constructions zones), drivers are expected to apply an abundance of caution given the time of day and weather conditions.

-- If it is possible to clear the lane immediately next to the emergency vehicle or road workers by moving over a lane, drivers are expected to do so.

Not following the law only results in a $500 fine if the driver is caught. However, the consequences to individual life and well-being is much higher.

For example, in 2015, a long-time tow truck driver was struck and killed in front of his own daughter as he tried to load a vehicle onto his wrecker at the side of a South Carolina interstate. An inattentive driver who failed to spot him, move over or slow down was to blame.

While you can do your part to contribute to the safety of the state's roadways, you or a loved one can still end up involved in a serious or fatal car accident because another driver fails to follow the Move Over law. If that happens, an attorney can provide more information on how you can pursue compensation.

Source: Move Over Laws.com, "South Carolina Move Over Law," accessed May 17, 2017

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