BISMARCK, ND (KXNET) — Every year, nearly 350 people are struck and killed while outside of a disabled vehicle in the US, and roughly a quarter of drivers on the road are unaware of laws that instruct them to slow down and move over when approaching vehicles on the side of the road. This number is even worse in North Dakota, where 36% have admitted to being unaware of the state laws.

A recent survey conducted by the American Automobile Association (AAA) found that 97% of motorists are concerned when it comes to vehicles passing them at high speeds while they’re on the road. Combined with the increasing number of car accidents across the US, further pushes just how important it is for drivers to slow down and move over for all cars and trucks on the roadside, no matter what kind of vehicle it is.

In order to draw more attention to these important rules of the road, AAA’s North Dakota branch will be launching their ‘Move over for Me’ campaign in an effort to help broaden the laws protecting individuals who may be casualties of roadside accidents and introduce new educational efforts on the topic.

During the campaign, this month, messages on social media, AAA vehicles, locations and products, and community events will feature familiar roadside scenarios, such as running out of gas, flat tires, or engine trouble, as well as information about advocacy for roadside safety awareness.

“For years, Slow Down, Move Over efforts have focused on emergency responders, and it’s critical that we continue to protect these individuals who come to the aid of motorists,” says the regional director of public affairs for AAA’s The Auto Club Group Gene LaDoucer in a press release. “But as motorists get flat tires, break down, run out of gas, or find themselves otherwise in trouble at the roadside, they also face the dangerous elements of high-speed traffic and need the same protection.” 

For those who are looking for more advice on how to protect roadside workers and marooned motorists, the AAA offers the following pieces of advice.

For Drivers

  • Remain alert when on the road. Avoid distractions and focus on driving.
  • Maintain visibility on everything occurring on the road 20-30 seconds ahead of you. This allows a driver to see problems that may be ahead on the road and take steps to avoid them, including reducing speed and changing lanes.
  • Remember that emergencies can occur anywhere on the road. If you see flashing lights, slow down well in advance and prepare to change lanes. If others need to merge into your lane, allow them to do so.
  • Don’t follow semis, trucks, or other large vehicles closely. If a truck moves into a left-hand lane, do not attempt to pass on the right side. If a truck changes lanes, you should be prepared to do so yourself.
  • Never make sudden lane changes in slippery conditions. These will cause an untrollable skid. Change lanes early and move over as gradually as possible.
  • If a passenger, work to help your driver. Help identify roadway issues and remind the driver to slow down and move over.

For Stranded Motorists

  • Pull over as far on the shoulder as safely possible to create more distance between your vehicle and passing traffic.
  • Turn your hazard lights on so other drivers know you are there.
  • If you are safely able to make it to the next exit or stopping point, do so.
  • Call for assistance immediately via phone, website, or app.
  • Remain in your vehicle as long as it is safe to do so.
  • If you must leave your vehicle, watch for incoming traffic to ensure a good time to exit, and remain alert and close to your vehicle. Avoid turning your back to traffic whenever possible.

For more information about stranded motorists and proper safety procedures, visit the AAA’s website.