BC's Slow Down Move Over Law

slow down move overEmergency workers are very happy with BC's new slow down, move over law that came into effect June 1, 2009. When they are stopped at the side of the highway and displaying flashing lights, red, blue or yellow, approaching traffic is required to slow down and move over. This will provide a safe workspace for the emergency workers and hopefully also for those who are driving past.

The slow down half of the law requires overtaking motorists to slow to 70 km/h on highways posted at 80 km/h and higher and to 40 km/h in all other speed zones. My guess is that when this speed is enforced, very little, if any, wiggle room will be allowed. If you choose not to slow down to at least match the limit if not a bit less, you choose to risk a ticket.

The move over portion requires that if it is safe to do so, you will move into the unoccupied adjacent lanes. This could mean the adjacent lane in the same direction if there are multiple lanes, or the oncoming lane if there are not.

Remember, if you have to use the oncoming lane, you have no lawful excuse to encroach on it when there is oncoming traffic.

Will the law increase safety? Only if drivers think and then act before they approach closely. Many times in the past I have watched vehicles overtake my stationary police car at or over the speed limit a foot from my door instead of slowing down and moving into the empty lane.

Reference Links:

  • This link is no longer available on the BC Government web site.


Submitted by E-Mail

Regarding the new "move over and slow down", law I think it's great. Anyone with any common sense has been doing it for years. Sometimes I can't help but wonder if the police officers would be safer if they instructed the violators to continue to the next off ramp or pull out to get out of the traffic flow. 2 cases in point. On a Saturday afternoon when traffic is quite heavy with shoppers etc. an officer had a vehicle stop in the right lane on Vedder Rd in Chilliwack which is a four lane road.(It wasn't a break down he was getting a ticket)

Not only did this make a mess of traffic but it was dangerous and unnecessary as there was a large strip mall right beside where they were stopped. They could have both pulled in the mall. When I was driving transports and I was getting pulled over, which happened from time to time (mostly in the USA) if it was a bad location I would put on my right signal to show the officer I had seen him and then proceed to the next safe spot. I never had an officer get upset because I didn't stop immediately, and quite often I was thanked for finding a safe spot to stop.

The next case will be hard for you to believe because I seen it and I'm not sure I believe it. I was travelling westbound on Highway #1 near #3 road west of Chilliwack and there was a speed trap. 2 police cars each with a customer about 1 mile apart. All the cars moved to the left lane and slowed down, and stayed in the left lane until we were clear of the second officer and his customer. While we were in the left lane the first officer finished with his customer and then proceeded to pass us all on the inside lane (right lane) at or above the speed limit.

Officer #2 was at the window of the customers car handing him the paperwork and he was standing on the fog line while his co-worker whizzed by his backside at 100kmh. I couldn't believe it. If officer #2 had stepped back he would have been a goner. If I was officer #2 I would have had a little chat with officer #1 back at the shop.