Emergency responders work hard every day to keep Texas residents and visitors safe. Of course, when police officers, firefighters, paramedics and others assist troubled motorists, they often stand near moving lanes of traffic. To decrease the chances of a catastrophe, Texas law requires motorists to reduce speed and change lanes when approaching a stopped emergency vehicle.

Because the Lone Star State regularly ranks near the top of states with officer fatalities, the move-over and slow-down law makes a great deal of sense. To promote safety, officers may issue steep fines for violating the law. Still, if a negligent driver fails to drive responsibly around emergency vehicles, your life may be in danger.

Passing your vehicle 

The Texas law does not only aim to protect police officers and other emergency officials. On the contrary, it also keeps you safe. If an officer stops your vehicle, you expect passing motorists to reduce speed and change lanes. If that does not happen, a passing driver may hit your vehicle. Any accident, of course, has the potential to leave you with life-altering injuries. Still, because you may be unable to maneuver your vehicle out of the way, a crash beside the road may be particularly hazardous.

Violating the law 

When you drive, you must watch for stopped emergency vehicles and other roadside hazards. If you see any, you must take appropriate action to avoid a collision. The motorists behind you should follow your lead by reducing their speed as well. Unfortunately, though, a tailgating or distracted driver may inadvertently crash into the back of your car, truck or SUV.

Not complying with the Texas move-over and slow-down law may result in a fine of up to $2,000. While the law has been effective at reducing some fatalities and serious injuries, it has not eliminated them all. By understanding how a negligent driver may cause you to sustain a substantial injury, you can better plan for staying safe behind the wheel.