We’ve all been in this situation: we are driving down the road, and suddenly hear a blaring siren and an urgent horn. Within seconds, you see an ambulance, police car, or fire truck approaching at breakneck speed, and you are in its path. It’s hard not to feel panicked or unsure. Do you know the laws regarding pulling over for emergency vehicles? Do you know what to do in this specific situation? How can you avoid an accident?
It is extremely important that emergency vehicles get to their destination quickly, whether it is the scene of an accident, the scene of a crime, a burning building, or a hospital. And while the drivers of emergency vehicles are well trained in driving to and from emergencies, accidents do happen. Tragically, there are thousands of crashes each year in the United States that involve emergency response vehicles and hundreds of first responders are seriously injured in these crashes. While some of these crashes are due to speed or other factors, some occur because other drivers aren’t sure what to do when they approach.
Indiana Traffic Laws Regarding Emergency Vehicles
What should you know about sharing the road with emergency vehicles? The following are important emergency vehicle tips:
- You are required by law to yield to emergency vehicles that have engaged their lights or sirens. Pull over to the right side of the road and do not move until the vehicle is well past.
- Realize that where there is one emergency vehicle, there are often others. Many accidents happen when cars pull out in front of the second or third vehicle headed to or from an accident scene.
- If you are in an intersection when you see an emergency vehicle, go through it before pulling to the side of the road so as not to block off possible routes and paths.
- Understand that emergency vehicles do not have to follow many rules of the road, including speed limits or stop signs. They may approach your car quickly or act unpredictably.
- Even if the emergency vehicle is not in your lane or on your side of the street, you are still legally obligated to pull over.
It is vital for the safety of first responders and other drivers that everyone is aware of the protocols when approached by an emergency vehicle with its lights and siren on. Emergency vehicles always have the right of way, but they are not permitted to endanger the lives of other drivers. If you have questions about a crash involving an emergency vehicle, call Keller and Keller. We are here to help.