Q: I was driving on Interstate 280 near Highway 85 when I spotted a disabled car and a tow truck on the shoulder, with numerous cars speeding in the slow lane merely feet away from them. Isn’t there is law requiring other cars to move into another lane when a vehicle is on the side of the road?
Brenda Palmer, San Jose
A: Yes, but it may be one of the most ignored safety rules on the books.
Laws require motorists to move over one lane or slow down when approaching an incident where tow providers, police, firefighters or emergency medical service crews work at the roadside. Many states have also expanded laws to cover other vehicles, such as utility and municipal fleets and any disabled vehicle on the side of the road.
According to AAA, most drivers who don’t comply with move-over laws don’t realize how dangerous it is for individuals waiting or working on the side of the road. An estimated 43 percent thought failure to move over was somewhat or not dangerous.
Even worse, almost a quarter of those surveyed (23 percent) are not aware of the move-over law in the state in which they live. Among those aware of such laws, about 15 percent say they do not understand the potential consequences of breaking the law.
California drivers can be fined up to $1,000 plus receive points on their record if they do not move over or slow down while driving by any vehicle with flashing lights that is pulled to the side of a road or highway.
Then there is the “moth effect.” Traffic cops say drivers sometimes inadvertently steer toward a disabled vehicle or a pedestrian on the shoulder, like a moth to a flame. Their advice is that if you must stop your car, pull off the freeway and remain in your car with your seat belt fastened and emergency lights flashing.
Said Sergio, an AAA spokesperson, “If you see something, anything, on the shoulder ahead, slow down and move over, every vehicle, every time.
Q: Adding to observations about few left-turn arrows in LA is the fact that at many intersections, you cannot turn left. You have to do what drivers in LA call a 360-degree right turn. You make a right at the intersection after the street you wanted to turn left on. You make another right at the next block. You make another right onto the street you wanted to turn left onto.
Conrad Schapira, Milpitas
A: That’s the strategy used on 19th Avenue in San Francisco, where left turns are often not allowed.
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Author: Gary Richards