“Slow Down, Move Over” when approaching official vehicles stopped on BC roads

In 2009, a new law came into effect designed to help protect emergency services personnel on or next to roadways in British Columbia. Dubbed the ‘Slow Down and Move Over’ law for obvious reasons, drivers must decrease their speed when approaching a stopped emergency vehicle when it is on or beside a roadway and has its lights flashing. Further, if there are two lanes going in the same direction, drivers must move into the inside lane to pass, if it is safe to do so and a police officer has not directed them to do otherwise. This gives emergency workers as much space as possible to complete their duties.

On January 1, 2015 the previous law was amended to require motorists to Slow Down and Move Over, for ALL vehicles stopped alongside the road, which have flashing red, blue or yellow lights. This change under the Motor Vehicle Act provides maintenance workers, utility workers, land surveyors, animal control workers and garbage collectors with greater protection from accident and injury. These workers are now included in Slow Down, Move Over legislation in the BC Motor Vehicle Act, which also protects the operators of emergency and enforcement vehicles and tow trucks.

Where the speed limit is 80 km/h or higher, drivers must slow to 70 km/h, if they approach a vehicle stopped at the roadside with its lights flashing, Where the limit is below 80 km/h, drivers must reduce their speed to 40 km/h. (Hint: think of it as the 70/40 rule.)

On undivided highways, this applies to motorists approaching the parked vehicle from either direction. If the vehicle is stopped on the driver’s side of the road, and there is another lane going in the same direction, drivers must move into that lane, if it is safe to do so.

Remember: If you see red, blue or yellow flashing lights stopped on or beside a BC roadway- Slow Down and Move Over.

This video was produced by the Office of the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles in British Columbia.

“Slow Down, Move Over” legislation was added to the BC Motor Vehicle Act in 2009. With more than 400 roadside workers injured or killed in BC since 2001 –this law is essential in helping to protect the professionals who risk their lives to assist us when we need help.


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