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LARSON: Musing over the 'move over' law

Susan Larson

Susan Larson

The Post’s July 12 Our View stressed the importance of the Move Over Law. It seems like this would be a matter of human decency and common sense. The law specifies that when you see emergency personnel, paramedics, firefighters, tow truck operators or highway maintenance staff working along the roadside you should move over to the outside lane as a safety precaution. Unfortunately, many drivers either don’t pay attention or don’t care, and thus, according to an FBI report, traffic crashes claim the lives of more police personnel than any other cause of death in the line of duty, including shootings.

Our View concluded the message by stressing “constant reminders are needed to keep emergency personnel safe.” I certainly don’t mind using a few words in my column to help the cause.

And I don’t mind reiterating another bit of traffic safety advice while I’m at it. It’s been said a zillion times, but please don’t text and drive. Moving over is easier with both hands on the wheel and both eyes on the road.

As for other roadside common sense, I can’t understand why so many people walk, run and jog on the wrong side of the road. Didn’t everyone learn in kindergarten to walk on the left side of the road facing traffic? Don’t they realize, especially those wearing headsets and can’t hear what’s going on, that if they can’t see traffic behind them and step around a puddle that they could easily be hit by a car that didn’t have enough time to move over?

Another moving violation I’d like to touch on while I’m at it is elevator etiquette. Isn’t it just common sense to move over to let the people on the elevator get off first? I can’t believe how many times I’ve seen people push their way onto an elevator while others are trying to get off. OK, so I never heard of anyone suffering a concussion or a dislocated shoulder trying to get on or off an elevator, so I’ll move on to more important matters. Like the changing laws and views on marijuana, which I’ll address with this quote from Mahuli Jakubek, director of Collaboration and Environmental Strategies, GUIDE Inc.

“It is imperative that those who have smoked marijuana, do not get in a car and drive because the latest studies show that ‘marijuana use directly affects the brain, specifically the parts of the brain responsible for memory, learning, attention and reaction time.’ It also reduces the peripheral vision and at night prevents the eyes from dilating quickly, which means that the driver is more easily blinded by oncoming traffic. The slower reaction time and coordination, along with reduced peripheral vision, create extremely dangerous situations, especially on our very busy roads, any time a driver high on marijuana gets behind the wheel of a car.”

Just one more caution motorists can take to help stay alert enough to move over.

Susan Larson is a writer from Lilburn. Email her at susanlarson79@gmail.com.