All drivers learned at an early age that emergency vehicles have the right of way. Then why do so many motorists refuse to pull over to allow passage of these vehicles when they are responding to an emergency?
At a recent meeting of the Franklin County Traffic Safety Board, which has representation from all enforcement agencies in the county, it was brought before the Board that all too often motorists are not yielding to emergency vehicles.
Vehicle and traffic law mandates that you must yield the right-of-way to fire, ambulance, police and other authorized emergency vehicles when they are responding to emergencies. They will display flashing red, or red and white, lights and sound a siren or electronic air horn. When you hear or see an emergency vehicle approaching your vehicle from any direction, including on your side of an expressway or limited access highway, safely pull over immediately to the right edge of the road and stop. If you are in an intersection, drive out of it before you pull over. Wait until the emergency vehicle passes before driving on. If you hear a siren or electronic horn but don't know exactly where the emergency vehicle is, pull over until you are sure it is not approaching you.
Emergency vehicles using lights and sirens or electronic air horns are unpredictable. The driver may legally exceed the speed limit, pass red lights or stop signs, and drive the wrong way on one way streets. Although emergency vehicle drivers are required to exercise due care, you should be very cautious when an emergency vehicle approaches.
Here are a few more points with respect to emergency vehicles:
Know the law, and drive safely.
Dave Werner can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.