One of the more hazardous parts of being a first responder is driving to an emergency with lights and sirens on. It’s important to know the rules of the road when you see an emergency responder and be prepared with next steps. Here are three easy tips when you see those flashing lights.
Slow down, move to the right. If you see or hear an emergency vehicle with their lights and sirens on, please move to the right side of the road.
EMS personnel are trained to pass traffic on the left. When traffic does not pull over to the right, it may force an ambulance to drive on the same side of the road as oncoming traffic, which could lead to an accident. If for some reason a driver cannot get over to the right (i.e. the vehicle is stopped at a red light or turning left), do not move. EMS will move around vehicles in this scenario.
Do not slam on your brakes in the middle of a driving lane. EMS vehicles are often traveling at a higher rate of speed than regular traffic and won’t be able to stop if brakes are applied suddenly by those they are passing. It’s important to move to the right and stop until the emergency vehicle has passed.
Do not brake abruptly on the highway and stay to the right. Since speeds are higher on the highway, you don’t need to stop. It’s important to slow down and move to the right. The exception to this rule is when an ambulance is already in the right-hand lane. The emergency vehicle is likely exiting the freeway or approaching an accident. In this case, drivers should move to the left.
These simple tips will help keep traffic flowing and allow EMS crews to get to their destination safely.