What Is the Right Thing to Do When You Hear an Emergency Siren on the Road?

Sun Devil Auto Expert, published on 04/01/2016

At one point or another, you will likely encounter an emergency vehicle while you are driving. Surprisingly, many people do not know the proper course of action to take when an emergency vehicle emerges, which can potentially put others, as well as yourself, in danger. By being prepared and knowing how to react properly will make life easier for the emergency responders, other drivers, and yourself.

Pull Over to the Side of the Road Safely

A firetruck, ambulance, or police cruiser will turn on their sirens to inform everyone that they need to get to their destination quickly. If you hear this siren and it is coming from behind you, then you need to pull to the right side of the road. However, you do not want to pull over without first looking if it’s clear to do so safely. Make sure there are no vehicles or cyclists to your side, including in your vehicle’s blind spots. Once it looks clear, you can activate your turn signal and move over.

If you see an emergency vehicle coming towards you in front of you, you will still need to pull over to the right side of the road. Ambulances, firetrucks, and police cars have special privileges. They are permitted to travel in the opposite lane against the flow of traffic in order to get somewhere faster. No matter which direction the emergency vehicle is coming from, the law requires you to pull over and that you need to wait until the emergency vehicle has passed to resume driving. Be sure to look to make sure no vehicles are in your way before merging back into your lane and continuing on your driving path.

Additional Tips When There Is an Emergency Vehicle

When you hear emergency sirens, you are ultimately responsible for your actions, so be sure to follow every step safely. You should not slam on your brakes because someone behind you may not react that aggressively. If you are approaching an intersection and hear a siren, then you should not enter or cross it. Slow down and wait until the emergency vehicle has passed, and then you may continue on your route.

You also need to make sure your sense of hearing is not impaired while you are driving. Avoid wearing headphones to listen to music while you are driving. Even listening to the radio too loudly could affect how well you are able to hear other vehicles. There should be nothing in the way of you hearing a potential siren.

When an emergency vehicle has its lights flashing, it means they are en route to offer immediate help in a time-sensitive, emergency situation. Be sure to abide by the rules of the road, it could be a matter of life or death.