This month marks the first time that drivers in the Silver State have been required to give wide berth to Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT) workers, thanks to the “Move Over” Law that took effect on July 1.
Previously, the Move Over Law required that drivers slow down, proceed with caution and, when possible, move to the far lane whenever approaching official emergency vehicles that are displaying flashing amber lights. Now the law has been updated to include NDOT vehicles that are stopped on the side of the road and displaying flashing amber or non-flashing blue lights.
The law has been updated at a crucial time, as summer is often the time when many road construction projects are in full swing. Below are some tips to help motorists navigate these hazardous areas with a maximum level of safety:
Watch Your Speed
When you’re approaching a road construction zone, always slow down, even if there are no road signs instructing you to do so. Once within a construction zone, try to maintain a speed consistent with the traffic flow, but always follow posted speed limits, adjusting your speed further for adverse weather conditions.
Keep Your Distance
Always leave adequate braking room between your vehicle and the one in front of you. To do this, count out at least two seconds from the time the car ahead of you passes an object and the time your own car passes that same object. Also keep a safe distance between your vehicle and traffic barriers, trucks, equipment, and construction workers.
If someone is tailgating you, pull over and let them pass, if possible. If this is not possible, turn your headlights on and off several times during daylight hours to illuminate your taillights and warn tailgaters they are too close. At night, lightly tap your brake pedal to illuminate your brake lights.
Keep Your Cool
Many drivers get stressed out when driving through construction zones, especially if they’re in a hurry and haven’t allowed extra time to arrive at their destination. Always try to:
- Remain calm
- Don’t rush
- Do not use your cell phone
- Pay attention to the road
- Watch for stopped work vehicles
Remember that DOT employees are working hard to maintain and improve the infrastructure of our roads and highways. Your consideration and focus while in construction zones can greatly ensure their level of safety while working in such close proximity to fast-moving traffic. While 24 NDOT employees have lost their lives in the line of work since 1948, the last fatality was in March 2015. With this latest update to the Move Over Law, Nevada hopes it will be the last.
Steve is the Managing Shareholder of Steven J. Klearman & Associates, a civil litigation law firm located in Reno, Nevada. He practices primarily in the areas of civil litigation and injury law, and has authored one of the definitive guides to Nevada civil law that is widely used by Nevada judges and attorneys, his book entitled Elements of Nevada Legal Theories.