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Driving Safety

New York's Move Over Law and Safe Driving Tips on the Thruway

  • 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. In 2023, the Move Over Law was expanded, requiring drivers to exercise due care to avoid all vehicles stopped on the roadway, including by changing lanes.
  • The Move Over Law applies to both sides of the roadway, not just the shoulder on the right.

Buckle Up New York

Protect yourself and your loved ones by using seat belts at all times. New York State law states:

Rules of the Road

  • Buckle Up – it’s the law.
  • No U-Turns.
  • No Stopping or Parking in the Travel Lanes or Medians.
  • Always Signal Your Intentions.
  • Don’t use your hand-held cell phone while driving, as mandated by law.
  • Keep to the Right – use the left lane only to pass.
  • Don’t Tailgate.
  • Adjust Speed to Conditions.
  • Stay awake, alert, and never drink and drive.
  • Be watchful for deer.
  • Don’t Pick Up Hitchhikers.

Air Bag Precautions

  • Never place a rear-facing infant safety seat in the front seat of a vehicle equipped with air bags.
  • Children 12 and under should always ride in the back seat wearing seat belts.
  • All passengers, regardless of age or seating position, should buckle up.
  • Small, pregnant and older adults seated in front seats should sit as far away from the steering wheel or dashboard as comfortably possible. Also, steering wheels should be held on the sides and tilt steering wheels should be adjusted down, toward the chest.

Use Caution in Work Zones

Be aware of maintenance vehicles and warning signs signaling maintenance or construction zones on the highway and reduce your speed as signs indicate. Workers are there to improve the highway for your future trips, so don't risk your life or theirs by traveling at excessive speed through work zones. Motorists are reminded that speeding fines are doubled in work zones. More info on Work Zone Safety.

Don't Tailgate

It is dangerous to drive too closely to the vehicle ahead of you. To provide enough space between you and the vehicle ahead of you, use the "three-second rule." Choose an object near or above the road ahead, such as a sign, tree or overpass. As the vehicle ahead passes it, count aloud slowly: "One thousand one, one thousand two, one thousand three." If you reach the object before you finish counting, you are following too closely. When weather, driving conditions or visibility is poor, increase the count to four or five seconds to allow for more time.

Keep to the Right

If vehicles accumulate behind you while you are traveling in the left (passing) lane, safely move into the right lane and permit faster-moving vehicles to pass.

Signal Your Intentions

Change lanes carefully and always use directional signals to indicate intentions to the drivers around you.

Look Behind You

Check your rear-view mirrors frequently for fellow motorists. But remember, mirrors have blind spots, so check carefully before changing lanes.

Use Headlights

Whenever weather or other conditions limit visibility to 1,000 feet or less, or when windshield wipers are on, turn on headlights.

Don't Drive When Drowsy

It is a good idea to take frequent safety breaks at one of the 27 Travel Plazas along the highway.  Rest areas are also good spots to pull over to take a break.

Be Mindful of Deer Crossing

The Thruway Authority also urges motorists to be watchful for deer, especially during May-June and October-November.

  • Be alert for deer along the highway, especially at sunrise and sunset during the spring and fall. Scan the shoulders of the road for light that is reflected in deer eyes.
  • Slow down if you see deer along the highway or ahead of you
  • If you see one deer cross the highway, expect that additional deer are close by and could follow
  • Do not rely on high beams or using your horn to warn deer

If you cannot avoid a collision with a deer:

  • Do not swerve to avoid the deer. The most serious collisions occur when drivers swerve at highway speeds
  • Firmly apply your brake, hold onto the steering wheel, and bring your vehicle to a controlled stop
  • Do not touch the deer
  • Report the accident by calling the Thruway Authority emergency telephone number (1-800-842-2233), or 911

For further information please visit the New York State Department of Transportation's website at Leaving NYS Thruway Authority's Website 

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