In an emergency, minutes can mean the difference between life and death, and critical seconds can be lost if drivers don’t make way for emergency vehicles.
Take sirens seriously — make way for an ambulance, fire truck or police vehicle.Emergency Vehicles and YOU
Someday you may be the one calling for help, or the life on the line might be a friend, neighbor or someone you love.
You can do some simple things to help emergency personnel reach a person in need. Use the letters S.I.R.E.N. to remember the right way to yield to an emergency vehicle.
S: Stay Alert
Drive defensively, keep the noise level down in your car and look for more than one emergency vehicle approaching when you hear a siren.
Check your rear-view mirror, scan in front and on both sides of your vehicle, try to estimate the closing speed of the emergency vehicle and plan your next move.
React quickly, but calmly and scan in all directions before pulling over. Always use a turn signal when exiting the roadway and don’t slam on the brakes or pull over suddenly.
Before re-entering the road, make a visual sweep in all directions, turn on your signal, and gradually merge back into traffic.
Don’t stop at a place that doesn’t have enough room to pull over safely and never follow or try to outrun an emergency vehicle.
Be alert for pedestrians who may be in the crosswalk or at the edge of the roadway. They might be looking for the emergency vehicle too and not be aware of your efforts to yield properly.
On the Highway
Always use your signal so that other drivers know how you intend to exit the road and look for other cars that may have to move across lanes of traffic to yield. Pull as far off the highway as safely possible and gradually brake to avoid losing control in loose gravel on the shoulder.
Always check for turning vehicles before you step into the street because drivers may not see you. Be sure to stop at the curb, look left-right-left before crossing the street, and keep looking for vehicles.
Do not cross in front of an emergency vehicle which may be stopped at a busy intersection, wait for the vehicle to pass.
Always wear a helmet on every ride and equip your bicycle with reflectors on the front and rear. Bicyclists must obey traffic laws that apply to motor vehicles. Ride single file and on the right side of the road with traffic.
When an emergency vehicle is approaching, pull as far to the right as possible. Do not cross in front of an emergency vehicle which may be stopped at a busy intersection, wait for the vehicle to pass.
Not every emergency medical response requires lights and sirens, but next time you encounter such a situation, yield immediately so that the emergency personnel can reach the person who is waiting for help to arrive. Remember, it’s important to let them through...next time, it could be you.
The information on this page is from a brochure developed by the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration