Every day, emergency vehicles respond to urgent requests for help from the public. The call may be for an armed hold-up in progress, fire alarm, or someone having a heart attack. All drivers must know their responsibilities when approached by an emergency vehicle with lights flashing and siren sounding.
The men and women of the Columbiana Safety Services ask for you help in ensuring safe roadways for personnel and the public. If you or someone you love is in need of emergency assistance, you want help to get there right away. Every other driver on the road feels the same way. Unfortunately, distractions, carelessness, nervousness, selfishness and ignorance of the law lead some drivers to make poor decisions when an emergency vehicle approaches with lights and/or siren on.
Over the past several years in Ohio, more than 20 public safety vehicles have been involved in fatal crashes; 3,500 in injury crashes; and 8,000 in property damage crashes. You can make a difference! Move your vehicle to the right for passing sirens and lights!
Pull Over Please
The law is very specific; drivers must yield the right-of-way to fire apparatus, fire command vehicles, ambulances and police cars. Failure to follow the rules of the road can cause serious accidents or delays in ambulances, fire engines, and police cars arriving at the scene of an emergency. Safety Service Personnel are careful to avoid vehicle collisions by driving slowly in heavy traffic. Emergency vehicles will proceed slowly or stop completely at intersections. However, the cooperation of ALL vehicles on the roadway is essential.
Here are some simple rules to follow when you are on the road and encounter an emergency vehicle…
- Stay calm.
- Pull to the right and come to a complete stop.
- If you are traveling on a high-speed road or if there is no room to stop, slow down as much as possible.
- If you are in the left lane, pull over into the right lane as traffic in the lane to your right moves over.
- If you cannot move to the right because of another vehicle or obstacle, just stop. Your action will let the driver of the Emergency vehicles know what you are doing and allow the driver to anticipate where to drive.
- When an emergency vehicle approaches you from behind while you are stopped at an intersection, stay where you are unless you can pull to the right.
- On a 4-lane highway or street without barriers, both sides of traffic should pull to the right.
- Be careful when driving by or around a motor vehicle accident or any situation where emergency vehicles are parked and the Safety Service Personnel are working.
- Drivers should stay at least 500 feet behind emergency vehicles.
- Do not panic.
- Do not play your radio so loudly that you are unable to hear sirens.
- Do not stop in the middle lane when there is room to pull to the right.
- Do not pull to the left in the center lane or left turn lane.
- Do not race ahead to make the green light or turn before the emergency vehicle gets there.
- Do not turn quickly to the left onto a street or driveway.
- Do not drive through a red light or stop sign when an emergency vehicle approaches from behind.
- If the emergency vehicle is traveling on the opposite direction of a divided highway or divided street, you do not need to pull over.
- Do not disregard the presence of the emergency vehicle by continuing to drive.