Driver responsibilities

What can you do to help?

You, too, can help manage traffic across the state.  By following some simple tips, you can help minimize the number, and severity, of potential incidents, and if you do have a crash, to keep yourself safer and to reduce the impact that you have on other drivers. 

Be a safe driver

The best way to avoid an incident is to drive defensively and safely.  This means choosing to drive the speed limit, avoid distractions (like eating, putting on makeup or using a cell phone), use your signals, watch for other vehicles and drivers. 

When you are the driver, encourage everyone in the vehicle to wear their seatbelt.  According to the report Lives Saved in 2016 by Restraint Use and Minimum Drinking Age Laws, the use of seat belts in 2016 saved an estimated 14,668 lives of occupants age 5 and older. The report also estimates that 328 toddlers were saved (aged 4 and under) because of child restraints. 

Six out of 10 Missourians killed in traffic crashes are not wearing their safety belts. Safety belts are considered one of the most important safety devices in your vehicle, and using them correctly and on every trip is the most effective way to reduce injuries and DEATH in a crash.

Another major way to drive safely is by avoiding distraction. Currently, the most common distraction is mobile phone use. The American Automobile Association reports that texting increases the chances of a car crash by 50%.Cellphones contributed to nearly 2,271 crashes in Missouri in 2019.  

Move over for emergency vehicles

If you are traveling, and you see flashing lights ahead of you on the side of the roadway, please either move over a lane, or slow down as you are passing the vehicle.  It is always a good idea, if you see a vehicle on the side of the road, to move over and give them some space.  Missouri’s Move Over law requires drivers to change lanes, if safe to do so, when approaching MoDOT vehicles, law enforcement vehicles, and any other emergency vehicle with lights flashing. If drivers can’t change lanes safely, they must slow down as they pass the emergency vehicles. This Missouri law helps provide a safer area for law enforcement, emergency vehicles, and transpor­tation workers as they perform their official du­ties. Missouri’s Move Over law requires drivers to approach cautiously when an emergency ve­hicle displaying red or red and blue lights or a vehicle owned by the state highways and trans­portation commission displaying lighted amber or amber and white lights is stopped along the side of the road. Motorists must change lanes away from the emergency vehicle if they are on a multi-lane highway and can SAFELY do so. If drivers can’t change lanes safely, or they are on a two-lane highway, they must slow down while maintaining a safe speed so as not to impede other traffic.


Steer It Clear It law

Missouri law requires that if you are in a motor vehicle traffic crash and there are no apparent serious personal injuries or death, and the vehicle is safe to drive, you must make every reasonable effort to move your vehicle to the shoulder as not to obstruct the regular flow of traffic. Simply put, if you can “Steer It, Clear It” – it’s the law (Traffic Regulations Sections 304.151 and 304.155). For more of the law, please visit the Steer It Clear it webpage. 

Know before you go

There are several ways to find out about road conditions before you travel.  The best before ever leaving is MoDOT's Traveler Information Map or Gateway Guide. These two options give you real-time traffic information and include possible construction lane closures, lane closures due to incidents or natural disaster, and congestion.  You can also follow MoDOT on Facebook or Twitter to see information on major incidents on state roadways.  While you are traveling, keep an eye on the overhead message boards.  They can share updated information on traffic congestion and slowdowns or roadway closures due to incidents.  By paying attention to that information, you can make changes to your route to avoid the congestion.

Work Zone safety

When traveling around the state, drivers will often encounter work zones. Some of them are more permanent, for construction, but some are also moving operations to mow, clean litter, patch potholes or other roadway maintenance.  Please be on the lookout for these work zones, and when you see them, please slow down, avoid distractions and watch out for us.