When an emergency vehicle is approaching, or parked on the side of the road during a traffic or emergency stop, there can be some confusion for motorists about what they should do in those situations.
As a motorist, there are certain steps you need to take when an emergency vehicle (police, fire, ambulance) is approaching in either direction. There are several scenarios to consider depending where you are travelling and the Ontario Ministry of Transporation outlines what should be done on different roadways:
On a multi-lane highway
* slow down, signal and move to the right
* if possible, pull as close as you can to the right side of the roadway and stop when safe to do so
* don't move onto the shoulder
On a two-lane road
* signal and move to the right
* pull as close as possible to the right edge of the road, clear of any intersection, and stop
On a one-way street
* signal and pull to the right or the left side of the street, clear of any intersection, and stop
in an intersection
* traffic in all directions must yield to emergency vehicles
* don't block the intersection
* if an emergency vehicle is approaching from behind you, don't make a left turn - proceed straight through the intersection, then pull to the right and stop
When Emergency Vehicles are Stopped
When you are approaching a stopped emergency vehicle, remember to "slow down and move over." If you see an emergency vehicle with its amber lights flashing stopped facing the same direction you are going, slow down and pass with caution.
If the road has two or more lanes, you must leave a lane of space between you and the emergency vehicle, if you can do so safely.
Drivers can be charged if they don't slow down, or move over when safe to do so, near emergency vehicles that are stopped with sirens or lights flashing. The first offence could include a fine of $400 to $2,000, three demerit points upon conviction and possible suspension of driver's licence for up to 2 years. Subsequent offences (within 5 years) could include a fine of $1,000 to $4,000, three demerit points upon conviction, possible jail time (up to 6 months) and possible suspension of driver's licence for up to 2 years.
Tips To Improve Your Awareness While Driving
* stay alert
* avoid distractions
* keep the noise level down in your vehicle
* use your signals to alert other drivers you intend to pull over
* check your rear-view mirrors, and look in front and on both sides of your vehicle
* don't drive on or block the shoulder on freeways
* when the emergency vehicle has passed, check to make sure the way is clear and signal before merging back into traffic
* remember it's illegal to follow a fire vehicle or ambulance responding to a call, within 150 metres
Emergency vehicles approaching (JPG file, 2,804.8K bytes)