Emergency Vehicles and Right of Way
Don't be part of the problem when emergency vehicles need the road.
Whether your speakers are pounding, you're engrossed in some serious talk-radio, or your air conditioning is turned up on high, pay attention to emergency vehicle sirens. Though laws on maneuvers you must take vary by state, Shelter has a few guidelines to keep in mind:
Always Be on the Lookout for Emergency Vehicles
This kind of vigilance will help you make the right move, yield the right of way, and signal other drivers who may be paying less attention to do the same.
What's the Right Move?
If you see an emergency vehicle approaching from behind or in front of you, use your blinker and pull over to the nearest side of the road in the direction you’re traveling. This clears an opening. Remember, seconds matter.
They Don't All Look the Same
Ever wonder how toxic sludge from a turned-over oil truck gets cleaned up? The Department of Environmental Protection has its own emergency vehicles for this task. Tow trucks are emergency vehicles too, performing the critical task of keeping the roads clear. Some law enforcement officials may drive unmarked emergency vehicles, equipped with red or blue flashing lights. The same "move over" rules apply to all of these vehicles, so give them room on the road to do their jobs.
Give Them Some Room
While it may seem like an ideal time to take advantage of an open road, most states have laws against following within 500 feet of an emergency vehicle.
Don't Be a Looky-Loo
It's human nature to want to know what's going on, but looking to see what happened means you aren't paying attention to your driving. Avoid city blocks where emergency vehicles are stopped with their lights flashing. Entering these blocks may well be illegal in your state.
Don't Put Workers' Lives in More Danger: Move Over
Nearly every state has a "Move Over Law" to protect emergency workers from traffic. These laws require you to move over to the opposite lane when passing emergency vehicles with lights flashing. No room to move over? Be sure to slow down to 20 mph below the posted speed limit.