FD: Emergency Lights & Sirens

What To Do When They Approach

When you hear sirens approach as you are driving, move to the right and stop. This allows emergency vehicle drivers to pass safely on the left. Sometimes, however, they may have to travel in opposing lanes. This is why it is so important for drivers to respect response vehicles by moving out of the way and stopping. That will provide the space needed and ideally give an escape route if something goes wrong. 

Drivers of emergency vehicles are thoroughly trained and tested and are taught to first drive with regard for the safety of others. Their intent is never to force other drivers off the road. 

Things You Should Do

  • Pull your vehicle to the right and stop. This is the general rule in all cases. When you are in the right lane, pull onto the right shoulder if there is room and stop or at least slow down if you are on an open high-speed road.
  • When you are in the left lane and traffic in the right lane is moving onto the shoulder, move right into their lane.
  • If you cannot go right because of an obstacle, such as a car in the right lane when you are in the left lane, the next best thing is to stop. The driver of an emergency vehicle can then anticipate where to move his vehicle. If you are continuing to travel, someone else might not see the response vehicle or respond inappropriately. If you are moving, you are at risk of collision.
  • When you are at an intersection with a stop sign or red light and a response vehicle is coming up behind you, stay where you are if you cannot pull to the right.
  • If you are on a one-way street, pulling to the right is still best, but sometimes, due to traffic, you may pull to the left curb and yield the middle lane(s). This is one appropriate exception to the "pull right" rule.

Things You Should Not Do

  • Stop in the middle of the lane when there is room to pull right.
  • Pull to the left in the center yellow lane or left turn lane.
  • Drive through a red light or stop sign when an emergency vehicle approaches from behind.
  • Make a left turn quickly to a driveway or street.
  • Race ahead to get through a green light or turn before the response vehicle gets there.
  • Disregard and continue to travel despite the response vehicle.