Yielding to an Emergency Vehicle
“Well, I thought that you were trying to catch that car ahead of me.” This is a common reply when drivers are stopped to explain why they didn’t pull over for the police vehicle trying to catch an obvious violator. The vehicle ahead of these drivers might be the object of the pursuit, but how is that driver to know?
The driver doesn’t need to know. On the approach or an emergency vehicle, police, fire or ambulance, that is sounding a siren and showing a flashing red light a driver must yield the right of way and IMMEDIATELY drive to a position parallel to and as close as possible to the nearest edge of the roadway clear of an intersection, STOP, and REMAIN STOPPED until the emergency vehicle has passed. A driver doesn’t have to consider who is being pulled over because EVERYONE must pull over and stop. This includes drivers on BOTH SIDES OF THE ROADWAY regardless how many lanes wide it might be.
What if you don’t hear a siren? This doesn’t mean that one is not being used as emergency vehicles approaching from the rear are seldom heard before they are seen if the driver is paying attention. Pull over and stop even if you don’t hear a siren as this will avoid possible charges if you are in error.
Consider for a moment that when you require one of the emergency services it is very important to you that they arrive as soon as possible. You would appreciate other drivers making room to keep that precious time short, wouldn’t you? Regardless of what the law might say you must be prepared to extend that same courtesy to others by getting out of the way yourself.
This law from Austria is interesting. If you are on a multiple laned divided highway and you come upon stopped traffic causing congestion, everyone is required to stop making a clear lane up the middle for emergency vehicles.