Clear the Road for Emergency Vehicles

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Clear the Road for Emergency Vehicles


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Anyone that follows on a regular basis knows that emergency vehicles can be encountered at any time on our Southern Maryland roadways. It is important for drivers to understand what to do to avoid becoming a problem for first-responders trying to make their way through traffic to get to an emergency scene.

Delaying emergency first responders could costs lives, delay arrests and allow conflicts to erupt into dangerous situations.

Drivers should look and listen for ambulances, fire engines, police, doctors or other emergency vehicles using flashing blue and or red lights and sirens or flashing headlights. Some people, when confronted by an emergency vehicle coming up from behind panic and stop. Stopping on a busy roadway can be dangerous. Stopping in front of a speeding police car or ambulance can have disastrous results.

Drivers should consider the route the emergency vehicle and take appropriate action to let it pass, while complying with all traffic signs. If necessary, drivers should pull to the side of the road and stop. However, caution is urged so that drivers trying to avoid an emergency vehicle do not stop just over the brow of a hill or on a blind corner. Sometimes the emergency vehicles have to use shoulders and cut corners to avoid other traffic and if a vehicle is hidden from their view, it could be dangerous.

In addition to the most familiar fire and police vehicle, there are a couple of emergency vehicles for which motorists should always be on the alert. There are wreckers and rescue vehicles that also aid in emergencies. These vehicles need to be able to maneuver their way through traffic so the problem can be eliminated.

Here are some basic dos and don’ts when it comes to clearing the way for emergency vehicles:
Do not attempt to out run the vehicle. The minute lights are seen or a siren is heard, the driver should immediately clear the path.

Slow down and immediately move to the right and stop the vehicle.

If at an intersection, drivers should clear the road immediately while keeping in mind that the vehicle might be turning at that intersection. Make every attempt, while clearing the intersection to not block emergency vehicle’s access to the intersection.

If the emergency vehicle is approaching on a divided highway, drivers need not stop, but stay to the right to allow the emergency vehicle room to pass in the left lane.

In every case, emergency vehicles have the right of way on the highway. Motorists must yield the right-of-way and immediately drive the vehicle to a position as near as possible and parallel to the right curb or shoulder of the roadway without blocking intersections.

Finally, if a police officer is on the scene, obey his or her traffic directions.

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