The Athens Fire Department is reminding motorist that when you hear sirens approach as you are driving, it is important to yield the right of way to all emergency vehicles.
Drivers of emergency vehicles are thoroughly trained and tested, and are taught to first drive with regard for the safety of others. Generally, emergency drivers will move left, since obviously other drivers are directed to move right; however, due to some traffic conditions, emergency vehicles may have to travel in opposing lanes.
Drivers should respect response vehicles by moving out the way and stopping to provide the necessary space for an escape route if something goes wrong.
Things you should do:
- Pull your vehicle to the right and stop, as a general rule in all cases. When you are in the right lane, pull onto the right shoulder if there is room to stop, or slow down if you are on an open high speed road.
- When you are in the left lane and traffic in the right lane is moving onto the shoulder, move right into their lane.
- If you cannot go right because of an obstacle, such as a car in the right lane when you are in the left lane, the next best thing to do is to stop. The driver of an emergency vehicle can then anticipate where to move their vehicle. If you are moving, you are at risk of collision.
- When you are at an intersection with a stop sign or red light and a response vehicle is coming up behind you, stay where you are if you cannot pull right.
- If you are on a one-way street, pulling to the right is still the best option, but sometimes, due to traffic, you may pull to the left curb and yield the middle lane. This is one exception to the “pull right” rule.
Things you should not do:
- Stop when there is room to pull right.
- Pull to the left in the center yellow lane when there is room to pull right.
- Pull to the left in the center yellow lane or left turn lane.
- Drive through a red light or stop sign when an emergency vehicle approaches from behind.
- Race ahead to get through a green light or turn before the response vehicle gets there.
- Make a left turn quickly to a driveway or street.
- Disregard and continue to travel despite the response vehicle.
If you have any questions, feel free to call the Athens Fire Department at 740-592-3301.