Moving Over for Emergency Vehicles

Fire Truck with Flashing Lights

Almost every driver has been in a situation where they were in front of an emergency vehicle that was operating with its lights and sirens at least once or twice. It seems like this is an anxiety-inducing situation for most individuals. Some move over right away, others seem to panic and lose all sense of what they are supposed to do. Rest assured, any first responder that is operating with lights and sirens does not have a goal to run someone off the road. Doing so would be counterproductive. After all, they are there to help people, not to cause additional harm. However, it is vitally important that anyone operating a motor vehicle understands why it is so important to move over for an emergency vehicle. Doing so gives first responders the courtesy they deserve and it increases safety for everyone who shares the road. Perhaps, most importantly, it is simply doing the right thing to do.

Give First Responders the Courtesy They Deserve

By moving over and allowing first responders to continue on, drivers are exercising a courtesy. In fact, the person who is operating the emergency vehicle is essentially requesting the right of way by alerting other drivers to the fact that they need to get through the area as quickly and safely as possible. When drivers fail to yield to them, they might be preventing a first responder from getting to a call or making it to the hospital in a timely fashion. There are times when a few minutes makes all the difference between life and death. Therefore, drivers should do everything they can to safely get out of the way and allow emergency vehicles to pass.


In most cities and towns across the United States, the roads are already congested enough. This makes driving from one location to the next hazardous, even before anything else is added to the mixture. Throw in a few frustrated drivers that are already running late for an appointment and then place an emergency vehicle in the area and you have a potential recipe for disaster. All it takes is one person who refuses to move over to block the line for the emergency vehicle and everyone else. By the same token, drivers that refuse to move over create an unsafe condition for everyone who is operating on that roadway. The emergency vehicle has to get through, and making it more difficult than necessary only increases the level of risk for both the first responders and the citizens who are simply trying to get wherever they are going. The best thing that any driver can do is move over as far to the right as safely possible and hold that position until the vehicle passes.

It’s the Right Thing To Do

Imagine what that would be like if it was your loved one in the back of the ambulance or your house that the fire truck or the police car was responding to. You would definitely want everyone else to get out of the way so they could get where they need to go in order to help you or your loved ones. If you look at it like this, it becomes much easier to give them a little more courtesy and refrain from becoming frustrated simply because you might be delayed to your destination by a few extra minutes.

In closing, it is of paramount importance that you move over for emergency vehicles but that you do so safely. Don’t allow the sirens or the lights to scare you, but only to alert you that someone is behind you who needs to get by as quickly as possible. Maintain your level of courtesy to them and everyone else on the road, and every driver will have the opportunity to get where they are going quickly and safely.

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