Yielding to Emergency Vehicles
You’re happily bopping to your favorite CD at the red light of a busy intersection when you hear the faint sound of a distant siren. Almost out of nowhere, a fire engine with lights and siren blaring materializes behind you. You know you’re supposed to pull to the right and let the fire engine pass, but there are cars in the right lane next to you. The traffic light is still red, and there is too much cross-traffic to pull into the intersection safely and give the fire engine enough room to pass. You start to get anxious and nervous. What are you supposed to do?
The first thing to remember is to stay calm. If you are blocked by other motorists at a red light, stay where you are and let the fire engine move around you. In many instances, the emergency vehicle will simply wait for the light to green and then proceed. Don’t risking hit by cross-traffic by going through the red light. When the light turns green, proceed and pull over to the right when you can — safely. Remember that your safety is also of paramount concern to emergency workers.
Emergency vehicle drivers are experienced professionals and face the challenges of getting to the scene of an emergency on a daily basis. Mere moments can mean the difference between life and death, so it is every motorist’s responsibility to react quickly and safely.
Here is how you should respond to emergency vehicles:
On a multi-lane highway
•Slow down, signal and move to the right.
•If possible, pull as close as you can to the right side of the highway and stop when it is safe to do so.
•Watch for other vehicles that may also have to move across lanes of traffic to yield the right of way.
•Do not move onto the shoulder.
On a two-lane road
•Signal and move to the right.
•Pull as close to the right edge of the road and clear of any intersection.
On a one-way street
•Signal and pull to the right or the left side of the street.
•Be sure that you are clear of any intersection.
•All traffic at an intersection, approaching from any direction, must yield to an emergency vehicle until it passes through the intersection.
•Never block the intersection.
•Do not make a left turn if an emergency vehicle is approaching from behind. Instead, proceed straight through the intersection, then pull to the right and stop.
You should always pay close attention to your surroundings. Check your rear-view mirrors frequently and keep the radio at a reasonable volume so you can hear approaching emergency vehicles. By following the rules of the road, you may be helping to save a life.