Each driver training program includes lessons on how drivers should deal with emergency vehicles on the road. Police cars, police motorcycles, ambulances, fire trucks, search and rescue team vehicles, and public utility vehicles, among others, are considered emergency vehicles, and are allowed to break traffic laws, so that they can get to a crime scene, a fire, or an injured or a sick person as soon as possible. They can run red lights, exceed speed limits, and they are not required to stop for pedestrians within crosswalk signs in case of emergency. So, since they are operated by government agencies that cater to the public interest, other drivers that notice an emergency vehicle in their proximity, must do anything they can to give way to it and let it pass them.
First of all, it’s very important to be alert and pay attention on the situation on the road ahead of them and behind them, so that they can hear and see when a fire truck, an ambulance or a police car approaching. These vehicles are equipped with various warning devices, such as sirens, bells, air horns, retro-reflective markings, and so on.
If you ever see or hear an emergency vehicle approaching, your instincts might tell you to stop immediately and let it pass, but that’s not always the best solution. That should be done in a situation when the road you are driving on is wide enough for a fire truck or a S.W.A.T. Vehicle to go around you, as they are pretty large, wide vehicle, that need a lot of space. That’s why, if you find yourself on a narrow road and you see an emergency vehicle with its lights and sirens on driving behind you, you should keep driving until you see a side road where you can pull over, leaving room for the emergency vehicle to go around you. If you pull over immediately, the emergency vehicle will be stuck behind you, and it won’t be able to reach its destination. Also, you might get hit by the vehicle behind you, and you may even cause a multiple car pile up. So, the smart, responsible, and right thing to do is to continue driving, and look for a place where you can stop by the side of the road and let the emergency vehicle pass.
Another specific and tricky situation is seeing an emergency vehicle approaching while you are at an intersection. The recommended thing to do in this case is to keep on driving until you are out of it, and then stop. Also, if you are driving on a one-way street, and see an emergency vehicle coming towards you, driving the wrong way, you should do anything you can to avoid it, by pulling over to the curb, or if there is not enough room for the emergency vehicle to go around you, by backing up until you see a side road that you can turn into.
So, the most important thing you should remember is that you have to obey any order that the person driving the emergency vehicle gives you, even if it means you have to exceed speed limits, or disregard a stop sign.