What to do when an Emergency Vehicle Approaches

Emergency Vehicle


After recently watching a line of cars following a speeding fire truck I thought I would write a blog on emergency vehicles.  If an emergency vehicle approaches you from any direction with its lights flashing or siren/bell sounding you should immediately bring your vehicle to a complete stop.   Lights will normally be red or red & blue depending on the type of emergency vehicle.  If you are on a divided highway this only applies to emergency vehicles on your side.

While bringing your vehicle to a safe stop you are required to pull over as near as possible to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway.  Your vehicle should be parallel to the roadway and clear of any intersections (including highway off/on ramps).  Do NOT move onto or park on the shoulder of the roadway as the emergency vehicles may be traveling on the shoulder.

Use caution when pulling over for an emergency vehicle.  Other drivers may not be aware or already reacting to the situation.  Look to the front, back and both sides.  Signal your intention to pullover in advance and adjust your vehicle speed to merge with traffic to your right.  Then brake gradually to come to a safe stop.

If you spot an approaching emergency vehicle while you are in an intersection making a turn, you should abandon the turn and clear the intersection by proceeding straight when it is safe to do so. Once clear of the intersection pull over the right and stop.

Once the emergency vehicle as passed, check to see if the way is clear and signal before merging back into traffic.


It is illegal to follow within 150 metres of a fire vehicle responding to an alarm

Some volunteer firefighters and medical responders may display a flashing green light when using their own vehicles. Please respond to them in the same way as any other emergency vehicle.

Police or other law enforcement officers may require you to pull over and come to a stop immediately. They will indicate this by driving behind you with their lights flashing or using hand signals from the side of the road.  In this case, follow the same procedures above except you should stop your vehicle outside of the traffic lanes and onto the shoulder if possible. Alternatively, turning and stopping on a side street with less traffic may be safer. Always follow the officer’s directions.