Move over

It’s the law.

June 14, 2022 // 2 minutes

Law 32-31-6.1 is essentially the “move it or lose it” law.

In the state of South Dakota, you’re required to slow down and move over a lane when passing emergency vehicles. The purpose of this law is to give first responders and other vehicles displaying amber or yellow flashing lights the space they need to do their jobs. This Class 2 misdemeanor is punishable with up to 30 days in jail and/or a $270 fine.

Law enforcement, emergency response vehicles, service vehicles and those experiencing mechanical issues are the motorists protected by this law. People often forget that this law doesn’t just apply to law enforcement vehicles. Chances are—if the vehicle has flashing lights of red, blue or yellow—you should leave a lane.

Say you’re on an interstate with two or more lanes heading in the same direction. You see a car pulled over in the distance with their flashers on. Maybe they have a flat tire. They’re parked on the right shoulder of the road and a tow truck has come to help. In this situation you’re required to drive in the furthest lane to the left when passing. Proceed with caution and after passing, you can return to your original lane.

On highways with only two lanes, you should decrease your speed by 20 miles per hour at a minimum of three hundred feet before you meet the vehicle on the road. For instance, if the speed limit is 60 miles per hour, reduce your speed to 40 miles per hour roughly 300 feet before passing.

In case you are tempted, there are many reasons why you should leave a lane. First, it lessens the probability of you accidentally hitting a vehicle or pedestrian. Second, passing at a slower speed helps those on the shoulder avoid air turbulence—the act of their car shaking. Finally, you can avoid going to jail and paying a fine. Neither of which are very fun.

Remember to drive safe, wear a seat belt and move it or lose it!