Every driver will experience at some point the alarming situation of being exposed to emergency vehicles passing through the streets or intersections where he or she is located. While most drivers know that it is feasible and important to give the right of way to the passing emergency vehicle, the majority of drivers are not aware of further types of actions that must be followed in order to avoid any potential risk when being exposed to emergency vehicles and their situations on the road. It is also fundamental to learn how to recognize and identify all types of emergency vehicles that can be present at any moment in the road.
Most drivers are often exposed to either ambulances or fire trucks, but the scope of emergency vehicles goes beyond these two types of vehicles. Emergency vehicles can include but are not limited to police cars, ambulances, all fire department vehicles, blood delivery vehicles and other equipped vehicles that are from a wide variety of rescue organizations. A detailed bulleted list of the actions that must be done when one is exposed to any of these emergency vehicles is presented below:
• The first and most important action is to pull over to the curb of the road that you are driving or to the right side of the road and make a complete stop. It is very important that whenever you hear a siren to reduce your speed no matter if the vehicle comes in your forward or backward direction.
• When pulling over to the side of the curb and you can’t stop due to incoming traffic, it is very important to keep driving at a low speed and parallel to the curb as much as possible in order to clear the traffic for the emergency vehicle to pass.
• Always make sure to stay away from intersections, especially those that have a four-way intersection and a stoplight. Emergency vehicles must pass intersections at moderately high speeds and other drivers must give the right of way by clearing the intersection in its entirety from incoming and outgoing traffic.
• At the moment of being exposed to this situation, it is important to not drive aggressively or be in a rush as to somehow go against the emergency vehicle. Keep in mind that these vehicles in most cases are trying to save someone’s life and doing this undesirable action is somewhat unethical.
• Watch out for multiple vehicles passing on the same road, keep your attention focused in multiple sirens as well. In the majority of situations you will hear multiple sirens and multiple emergency vehicles passing on your side at the same time.
• Once the emergency vehicle(s) pass you, you can start driving once again when the vehicle has traveled over 500 feet away from you. It is highly recommended to drive slowly or come to a complete stop until this distance threshold is met by the emergency vehicle; this threshold is meant to give your vehicle and other surrounding drivers the chance to incorporate once again in a safe manner.
• All drivers must obey during an emergency situation the instructions set by police officers, fire police or any other person attired and somehow associated with the emergency itself. It is your responsibility as a citizen and driver to obey all instructions and meet all the instructions and procedures set by law enforcement agencies.
The bottom line is that you as a driver must be very careful and pay attention to these guidelines whenever emergency vehicles and emergency situations occur at any given time on the road. Obeying these standard rules mentioned above will not only help you to be a better responsible driver, but you could also potentially save someone’s life in the long run. For this reason, we highly encourage all drivers to keep these required mentioned steps present whenever they are driving no matter which road, city or town they are driving.