Safe In 60: Avoiding Confusion Around Emergency Vehicles
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Whenever an emergency vehicle uses lights and sirens, it raises the level of confusion for all drivers on the road. Here are some important reminder if you encounter a firetruck, ambulance or police car while driving.
If an emergency vehicle is using lights and sirens, you must yield the right-of-way. Safely pull to the right side of the road and stop until the emergency vehicle has passed. Don’t pull to the left, and never stop in the middle of the road.
Emergency vehicles are usually required to pass on the left. If they are forced to pass on the right, it can cause even more confusion and traffic accidents.
Try not to slam on your brakes, and don’t follow behind an emergency vehicle too closely – stay at least 500 feet back.
Don’t try to out-run the emergency vehicle.
If you are stopped at a light, don’t pull into the intersection. If it is safe to do so, move over to the right to make room for the emergency vehicle, or pull around the corner if possible.
If you are driving in the opposite direction of the emergency vehicle, you should still pull to the right side of the road and stop. If the first responders have to drive into oncoming traffic to get around vehicles that are not able to get out of their way, this gives them room to do so.
The only exception is on a road with a physical barrier between directions of travel, such as the freeway. In those cases, you can continue in your opposite direction without stopping.
Another good thing to remember: the “Move Over” law exists in all 50 states. It requires drivers approaching a stationary emergency vehicle with flashing lights to slow down and provide as much space as possible around the emergency vehicle. If safe to do so, drivers should move over a full lane away from the emergency vehicle.
These laws exist to save lives and protect our emergency responders.