When you are behind the wheel and you hear a siren, it is only natural to tense up a bit. After all, those sirens indicate an emergency. Yielding the right of way to emergency vehicles with flashing lights and/or blaring sirens is not only the safe and courteous thing to do but is also the law. Knowing how to share the road with emergency vehicles safely will help you to remain calm behind the wheel and to proceed accordingly.
Yield the Right of Way
When you see an emergency vehicle – with its sirens and/or emergency lights on – approaching from behind, you need to yield the right of way by slowing down, moving over, and coming to a safe stop. This allows the emergency vehicle the space it needs to navigate through traffic smoothly and safely. How you manage to pull over and stop will depend upon the driving situation in which you find yourself. Always use your blinker and take safety precautions when changing lanes. If changing lanes and stopping is not possible, slow down and do what you can to allow a clear path for the first responders.
The Texas Driver Handbook
The Texas Driver Handbook addresses the issue of emergency vehicles on our roadways with the following rules:
- Allow at least 500 feet when following an activated emergency vehicle.
- Do not drive or park on a street in which a firetruck is answering a call.
- Do not park in a spot that could interfere with the arrival or departure of an emergency vehicle traveling to or from the scene of an emergency.
Emergency vehicles ferry first responders to emergencies of all kinds, and motorists need to allow them space to move freely through traffic.
The MOVE OVER Law
When you are approaching an emergency vehicle that is stopped, you are required to either move over a lane or to slow down to help ensure the safety of those who are stopped. If there is no opportunity to change lanes, you should slow your considerably. The Driver Handbook shares that you should slow to a speed that is at least 20 miles per hour less than the posted speed limit (if it is 25 miles per hour or more) and should slow to less than 5 miles per hour if the speed limit is less than 25 miles per hour.
Proceed with Caution
If you have pulled over for an emergency vehicle, do not assume that just because it has passed, you are free to zip back onto the road. In fact, this is a dangerous practice. Often, there are more responders on their way. Wait until the sirens and lights have receded before moving safely back onto the roadway.
If Another Driver’s Negligence Leaves You Injured, You Need an Experienced Attorney
If you have been injured as a result of another driver’s negligence, Attorney Brett Pritchard at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard in Central Texas has the experience, dedication, and skill to help you. For more information, please do not hesitate to contact or call us at (254) 220-4225 today.