Drivers are Forgetting to Yield to Emergency Vehicles

By: Rhiana Huckins Email
By: Rhiana Huckins Email

Every day, police and fire officials put their lives on the line to save others.

Public safety officials say they are surprised to see the number of drivers who aren't using safety when an emergency vehicle is on the road.

When fire trucks, ambulances, and police cars are racing against time with lights flashing and sirens sounding, it means they're en route to an emergency, and drivers need to pull safely to the right.

It is something many of us learn in driver's education, but for some, the rules of yielding to emergency vehicles are easily forgotten.

"We see a number of drivers that simply don't know what to do when an emergency vehicle approaches behind them. We ask that everyone slow down and pull to the right," Capt. Chris Etheridge, with the Dothan Fire Department said.

However, what do you do if an ambulance pulls up behind you at a red light?

"We would like you to remain still; don't pull out into traffic. The emergency vehicle will find a way to get around you. More times than not it’s on the left side, even if we have to go into oncoming traffic," Capt. Etheridge continued.

Often times, an official can't pull a driver in these cases because they are on their way to an emergency. But, there is a price to pay if one is caught.

"You could receive a ticket, which is a mandatory court appearance and you are fined by the city judge," Sgt. Anthony Westberry, with the Dothan City Police said.

Drivers should also know that the consequences of failing to yield to an emergency vehicle may be greater than a citation.

"You never know who we're responding to. It may be your family, or your loved ones that we're responding to. Every second counts," Capt. Etheridge concluded.

Just remember: if an emergency responder faces an obstacle on the road, it decreases their response time, and in case of a medical or fire emergency, that responder must be on the scene as soon as possible.

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