Modes of Transportation – In an Automobile

Move-Over Law

You must obey the Move-Over Law and move over to leave space between you and any emergency vehicle, tow truck or surveillance vehicle that is stopped by the side of the road.

In brief

When an emergency vehicle, a tow truck or a surveillance vehicle is stopped by the side of the road and its rotating or flashing lights are activated, you must slow down and move over to leave as much space as possible between you and the stopped vehicle, but only once you have made sure you can do so safely.

If you fail to comply with the Move-Over Law, or do not yield the right of way to an emergency vehicle, you are liable to:

  • a fine of $200 to $300
  • 4 demerit points

Why have a Move-Over Law?

The Move-Over Law ensures the safety of first responders (police officers, firefighters, ambulance technicians, carrier enforcement officers, tow truck operators, road maintenance workers) when they are working by the side of the road, as well as the safety of anyone else in the area (such as the occupants of a flipped vehicle in the case of an accident, for example). 

A measure taken to ensure the safety of workers

The section of the Highway Safety Code concerning the Move-Over Law came into effect in 2012. It seeks to reduce the risks encountered by people carrying out emergency interventions on a roadway.

Where and when does the Move-Over Law apply ?

  • The Move-Over Law applies everywhere—on highways, rural roads and city streets  
  • It applies whenever an emergency vehicle, tow truck or surveillance vehicle is stopped and its yellow arrow light signal, flashing lights or rotating lights are activated. Such vehicles include:
    • police vehicles
    • ambulances
    • fire department vehicles
    • Contrôle routier Québec vehicles
    • tow trucks
    • surveillance vehicles equipped with a yellow arrow

How to obey the Move-Over Law

As a general rule

  1. Slow down.
  2. Move over to leave as wide a space as possible between you and the stopped vehicle, but only after making sure that you can do so safely.
    • If necessary, stop your vehicle before passing the stopped vehicle so as not to jeopardize the lives or safety of others.

Illustration of a bird's eye view of a road where a vehicle travelling in the right lane is switching into the left lane in order to safely pass a police officer who has pulled over another motorist onto the side of the road. The Move-Over lane is illustrated by a yellow strip in the right lane and the manoeuvre to carry out is shown by a dotted line that goes around it.

Vehicle stopped in the lane you are travelling in

  1. Slow down.
  2. Move over into another lane after making sure that you can do so safely. If it is not safe to do so, stop your vehicle and wait until it is.
  3. If you are travelling on a road or highway with two-way traffic, yield the right of way to any vehicle approaching from the opposite direction before moving over into the other lane.

Vehicle stopped on the shoulder or on an adjacent lane going in the same direction you are travelling in

  1. Slow down.
  2. If there is another lane going in the same direction you are travelling in, move over into that lane so as to leave a lane between you and the stopped vehicle, but only after making sure that you can do so safely.
  3. If you cannot change lanes, move over as far as you can—while remaining in the same lane—so as to leave as much space as possible between you and the stopped vehicle.