Gov. Eric Holcomb has proclaimed April 3-7 as Work Zone Awareness Week in Indiana. The week marks the ceremonial start to the highway construction season and intends to draw awareness to both motorist and worker safety in work zones.
Not all "work zones" on the road involve construction, but all workers on the road deserve attentive and cautious drivers -- especially in emergency situations. Indiana's Move Over Laws are intended to protect workers performing their necessary duties on Indiana's roadways.
As soon as drivers see flashing emergency lights, they should reduce their speed and increase the distance from the vehicle in front of them. This increases visibility and the ability to safely react to whatever situation is ahead.
On multiple-lane highways, change lanes away from the emergency vehicle if it is safe to do so. This provides a safer space for workers and also helps approaching traffic to better see the emergency vehicle.
If it is not safe to change lanes, drivers should reduce their speed at least 10 mph under the posted speed limit, move as far away as possible within their lane, and proceed with caution.
Motorists should not stop in the road because this can cause a chain reaction of rear-end collisions with other vehicles. MOVE OVER and/or SLOW DOWN.
As you are driving, look well ahead and watch for these vehicles:
Fire trucks and rescue equipment
Incident-response vehicles such as Hoosier Helpers
Highway maintenance vehicles
Utility service vehicles
Vehicle recovery equipment such as tow trucks
Violating the law can result in a fine and a license suspension of up to two years if the driver causes damage to emergency equipment, and causing injury or death of an emergency worker can result in a prison sentence.
Even though Indiana's Move Over Laws state that motorists must move over and yield for only emergency vehicles, drivers should also always be courteous to those who are broken down on the shoulder. Give them room so that they can safely repair their vehicles. Be a courteous driver and help prevent tragedy.