Reacting to emergency vehicles

How to react to approaching emergency vehicles.


When an emergency vehicle, such as a fire truck, police car or ambulance, approaches with its siren on, be aware of your surroundings and be prepared to act. Here is what to do when an emergency vehicle approaches with its siren on.

An emergency vehicle with its siren on has the right of way over all other vehicles.

  1. Immediately pull over as close to the curb as possible, remaining parallel to the road. Typically, you should pull over to the right. Make sure you are not in the middle of an intersection and use your turn signal.
  2. Stop and remain stopped until the emergency vehicle has passed and it is clear no other emergency vehicles are approaching.
  3. When the emergency vehicle has passed, be courteous and let drivers ahead of you back into traffic. Use your turn signal.
  4. Do not drive within 150 meters of an emergency vehicle with its siren and/or flashing lights on. For reference, 150 m is nearly 1.5 times the length of a football field.

Intersections and highways

Usually, you should pull through an intersection and over to the right curb when an emergency vehicle approaches with its siren on. But sometimes, that is not possible or safe.

If you cannot safely clear the intersection, move as far from the center of the intersection as you can and leave the largest path possible for the emergency vehicle to move through. Be careful when moving back into traffic.

If you are on a divided highway that has more than 2 lanes or on a one-way highway, pull over parallel to the nearest curb as close as you can. This might be the curb to the left. If you are in the center lane, you should move to the right.