You hope this never happens to you but something you could see every day when you're out on the road is someone who is pulled over by a police officer. For whatever reason the police officer chose to pull over that car, you can usually see the police car's flashing lights from a good distance. These lights are extremely bright for many reasons with the biggest one being they want people to be able to see them from far away.

Unsplash - Andrea Ferrario
Unsplash - Andrea Ferrario

When you see a cop car, a tow truck, or an ambulance on the side of the road with their lights on, did you know it's not just a common courtesy to move over and give them space? It's actually a requirement by Iowa law. Most people are pretty familiar with this but what about random, everyday cars that are pulled over to the side of the road and have their hazards on?

Move Over Law

The Iowa DOT says that "by following these two simple rules, you can help save lives, avoid tickets, and prevent the potential loss of your driver's license." Iowa Code 321.323A, also categorized as the "move-over law" was created to help vehicles safely pass stationary emergency vehicles that have their flashing lights activated.

What you might not be aware of is this isn't only for cop cars and ambulances. The move-over law also applies to stationary tow, recovery, maintenance, construction, solid waste, recycling collection vehicles, and stationary vehicles that have their hazard lights on. 

When you see a random car on the side of the road with its hazards on and you switch lanes, you're not just being nice, you're actually following the law and potentially avoiding some kind of ticket.

When you see a vehicle on the side of the road with flashing lights or its hazards on, the Iowa DOT says you should -

  • Change lanes or slow down, absent any other direction from a peace officer when approaching these vehicles
  • Yield the right of way to an emergency vehicle displaying flashing lights or giving an audible signal by moving over to the right, stopping, and waiting until the vehicle has passed before proceeding.

The penalties for failing to follow Iowa's move-over law is $100 plus any surcharge and court fees. If you failing to move over or stop your vehicle results in damage to the property of another person or bodily injury, the person responsible will lose their license upon 30 days notice and without a preliminary hearing. The length of time you can lose your license increases depending on the severity of the damage caused.

Now is a great time to remind you of the saying "Move over or get pulled over." Far too often people don't switch lanes for cars on the side of the road with their hazards on.

Hilarious Iowa DOT Signs

Anyone else share a sense of humor with a state's Department of Transportation? Just me? Well, every Monday the Iowa Department of Transportation puts up a sometimes hilarious, sometimes straightforward message on their road signs across the state. This is called "message Monday" and Iowa DOT tries to entertain and educate drivers through these signs. Here are just a few of our favorites.

10 Myths About Iowa That Even Some Natives Believe

Iowa is an ag state with more heads of hog than human, but there's a lot more to us than crops and critters. How many people actually know that, however?

More From K92.3