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What Is Virginia’s Move Over Law? (Part A)

Virginia is known for some of the toughest traffic laws within the United States. In fact, the penalties can be excessive when it comes to simple traffic violations. But legislators argue that the traffic laws keep vehicles moving safely and smoothly. One of these laws, which the state takes very seriously, is Virginia's move over law.

What is Virginia's move over law?

Virginia's move over law states that "upon approaching a stationary vehicle that is displaying a flashing, blinking or alternating blue, red or amber light or lights," all drivers must: 

  • Yield the right of way by making a lane change into a lane not adjacent to the stationary vehicle; OR
  • If changing lanes would be unreasonable or unsafe, proceed with due caution and maintain a safe speed for highway conditions. 


In other words, if a police car, ambulance, fire engine, tow truck, or other vehicle with flashing lights is stopped on the side of a highway, Virginia motorists are required to "move over" when it is safe for them to do so.

What is the purpose of the move over law?

Originally, the purpose of Virginia's move over law was to ensure the safety of state police. This was because police officers were being injured and killed during routine highway stops. As of July 1, 2010, Virginia's move over law was expanded to include towing, motorist assistance, as well as repair and highway maintenance vehicles displaying amber-colored flashing lights. By moving their vehicles over, motorists give these workers room to safely do their jobs.

But the problem with Virginia's move over law is how it is enforced. It is not always within a driver's ability to "move over" on a whim. If you have been unfairly charged with violating the move over law, you can fight the charge with the professional help of a Virginia reckless driving attorney.

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Bob Battle
100% of my practice is devoted to serious traffic defense and criminal litigation in state and federal courts