Time is the enemy in an emergency. For everyone’s safety, it is important for motorists to understand how to correctly yield right of way to emergency vehicles with lights and siren activated. You can help EMS, police, and fire get to the scene quickly and safely by following these rules of the road:
When an emergency vehicle approaches with lights and siren activated:
- If you’re in the middle of an intersection when an emergency vehicle approaches with lights and siren activated, safely clear the intersection;
- On a one or two-lane road, motorists should move to the right side of the road, slow down, and then stop. Remember to signal;
- On a road with three or more lanes, motorists should move to the nearest side of the road and stop. If driving in the centre lane, move to the right side of the road and stop. Remember to signal;
- Come to a complete stop and wait for the emergency vehicle to pass. Shoulder check for more emergency vehicles (there is often more than one) before re-entering traffic flow. Remember to signal;
- Emergency vehicles might use any available road space to maneuver. This could include the shoulders, turning lanes, in order to pass other traffic.
When operating a vehicle:
- Drive attentively and defensively at all times. Be cognizant to sirens and be prepared to yield the right of way;
- It is Alberta law for motorists to slow down to at least 60 km/hour (unless a lower speed is posted) when driving past a stopped emergency vehicle. This includes EMS, police, fire, and tow trucks with their lights activated;
- Do not break the rules of the road in order to give right of way to an emergency vehicle. This could include proceeding through a red light, or making an illegal turn. Actions such as these jeopardize all motorists in the area;
- Drivers must place their full attention on the roadway and toward the safe operation of their vehicle at all times. The fine for distracted driving in Alberta is $287.00;
- Always leave plenty of space between your vehicle and an emergency vehicle, should it be required to stop suddenly.