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Turnpike workers urge caution when driving

Ohio recognizing Saturday Oct. 16 as Move-Over Day
Published: Oct. 14, 2021 at 2:03 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - When driving on the highway, you probably see a patrol car pulling someone over, or a maintenance truck at work, both with lights flashing. But not every driver notices these vehicles or moves over to give them space, which can lead to some dangerous situations.

The issue has become significant enough that the state is recognizing Saturday as Move-Over Day, by reminding Ohio drivers to move over and slow down for any vehicle with flashing lights parked on the roadside. It’s not just a day, it’s also a law.

Not moving over or slowing down can be dangerous for the people working on the roads. Ohio State Highway Patrol Sgt. Shawn Fosgate was working on an icy road one morning in 2015 when he was hit by a driver.

“You had two vehicles out on 475 that had crashed. I was out investigating that crash when someone came off the Maumee River bridge. It went sideways because of the ice on the road, and then struck me,” Fosgate recalled of the incident.

Fosgate survived serious injury, but others have not been as lucky.

Nate Overmyer is a maintenance worker for the turnpike. Overmyer was on the job in early 2012 when a tractor trailer crashed into the work zone, killing a co-worker, John Fletcher, 53, of Perrysburg. Two co-workers also were seriously injured.

“Just heard a ruckus, the wreck, and came back up, and it was like a war zone... bodies, guys were laying on the ground,” Overmyer said.

New data suggests there is a lack of awareness among drivers. A study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that 23% of drivers are unaware of their state’s Move Over law.

“It was created for the safety of the public workers on the road, and anyone we may come in contact with. If you do see flashing lights, you need to give us that lane first, but if you can’t give us that lane, you need to slow down and proceed past us with caution,” Fosgate said.

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