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Winter returns to WNY and brings slippery travel conditions

Tow truck operators remind drivers of the "Move Over Law"
Posted: 7:00 PM, Feb 07, 2020
Updated: 2020-02-07 19:00:17-05

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — It has been such a mild winter so far that many people were wondering if WNY would get much snow and ice this season. The question was answered after widespread freezing rain and snowfall returned to the area; something that is more usual for February.

Winter weather is also a reminder of the importance of road safety - especially for tow truck drivers.

"Statistics actually show once every six days a tow truck driver is killed by someone who doesn't move over," said Daniel Gerbec, a towing operator for the AAA of Western & Central NY.

The NYS Move Over Law requires motorists to give emergency vehicles with flashing lights space to perform operations safely by moving vehicles one lane over or slowing down if unable to change lanes.

While many people are following the law, Gerbec and other tow operators, such as Callahan Towing in the Orleans County Town of Holley, say some drivers are putting their lives at risk by distracted driving or just not caring.

"You can see them and make eye contact with them when they are going 60-70 mph next to you. You can see they are looking right at you," explained Gerbec.

"We are putting ourselves out there and we don't have the choice of our working conditions," added Sarah Callahan, who had been previously bumped by a vehicle while working with her towing company.

The NYS Thruway Authority offers the following advice:

  • As soon as you see lights, vests or reflectors, check traffic around you, SLOW DOWN and MOVE OVER if safe to do so.
  • Drivers MUST use due care when approaching an emergency vehicle or hazard vehicle including police vehicles, fire trucks, ambulances, construction and maintenance vehicles and tow trucks.
  • The Move Over Law applies to both sides of the roadway, not just the shoulder on the right.