Roadside Chat - Move over for flashing lights on shoulder

5-13 move overPart of learning to drive includes gaining an understanding of the laws and rules that are put in place to improve safety. Some of those laws and rules are for your protection as a driver and some are designed to keep those who work on the road safer. Many of these statutes serve to enhance the safety of everyone.



There are some basic rules of the road every driver needs to know:

  • Use your turn signal before you turn or change lanes.
  • Keep plenty of distance between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you.
  • Always keep an eye out for pedestrians and bicyclists.
  • Keep a close eye on what’s going on around you.
  • Move to the other lane or slow down for flashing lights on the shoulder.

When you see any vehicle on the side of the road with flashing lights, Iowa law requires you to move over if you can. If you cannot move over, slow down. Since the speed limit is different for different road configurations, the law is not specific on the exact speed, but it does say, “…reduce the speed of the motor vehicle to a reasonable and proper speed for the existing road and traffic conditions, which speed shall be less than the posted speed limit and be prepared to stop.”

Initially, this law was put in place to protect law enforcement and first responders who are assisting motorists on the side of the road. It has since been expanded to include ANY vehicle that displays flashing lights. This helps protect those who have a need to stop alongside the road whether it’s for an emergency, in response to an emergency, or completing routine work. For more details on Iowa’s Move Over or Slow Down law, go to

In Iowa in 2022, there have been 95 deaths in traffic crashes. That’s an increase of six since last Friday. To see statistics published daily by the Office of Driver Services, go to the daily fatality report at

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