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Step 6: Surprising Sirens & Lights Guidelines

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Everyone probably knows a driver should Go Right, Drive Right, Steer Right or Move to the right-hand side of the road, and yield to an emergency vehicle when its lights are activated. However, there are several circumstances when a driver should consider additional options that provide better safety, such as those listed below.

All Emergency Services want their response time minimized. Precious minutes lost while enroute to an emergency could be the difference between life and death. With the advent of new sound-proof cars, high-decibel stereo systems, cell phones, and unfortunately, drivers who simply don't care about anyone but themselves, the idea of getting to an emergency scene fast is very difficult. Many times they are often faced with drivers who can't see or hear them. This creates an incredibly frustrating situation for the emergency vehicle driver, as they weave their way through traffic.

  When you see sirens & lights, remain calm   .

 Do not   stop in, just before or just after a blind curve.
 Do not   stop on the uphill side, the downhill side or while cresting a steep hill on a two-lane road.
 Do not   stop in an intersection.
 Do not   follow within 500 feet after the emergency vehicle(s) have passed.
 Do not   assume there is only one emergency vehicle.
 Do not   race ahead to get through a green light or turn before the emergency vehicle gets there.
 Do not   turn quickly to the left into a driveway or street.
 Do not   drive through a red light or stop sign when an emergency vehicle approaches.
 Do not  panic and slam on the brakes.

 Do  keep a foot on the brake to alert the emergency vehicle driver that your vehicle is stopped or stopping.
 be alert when you see a fire engine or a medic unit coming out of its station, pull to the right-hand side and stop. The law requires you to pull to the right-hand side and yield to an emergency vehicle, even before it gets on the road.
 Do  pull parallel to the right-hand edge or curb and stop.
 Do  remain stopped until all emergency vehicles have passed.
 Do  pull over into the right-hand lane as the traffic in the lane to your right-hand side moves over.
 Do  move over or slow down when approaching stationary emergency vehicles with lights activated.

  Do  provide a three feet clearance when passing a bicyclist. (New Ohio State law effective 3-22-2017)
 Do   remember that funeral processions are classified as emergency vehicles. Drivers are required to yield to funeral escort vehicles displaying proper audio or visual signals.

Also Note

  1. Just because an ambulance is not running sirens & lights does not mean they do not have a patient on board. Ambulances transport patients, assume a patient is on board even without sirens & lights. Please do not cut in front of them. If you were an ambulance patient consider how you would respond if the vehicle driver had to suddenly slam on the brakes because of being cut-off.

  2. If you are walking, you also have responsibilities. Get off the road way as much as possible. If you are about to cross, stay where you are. It is difficult for most motorists to see you in normal circumstances. When an emergency vehicle is approaching it may be focused on finding the emergency and may not scan to see you.

  3. If there is one emergency vehicle, there may be more. Don't assume it is safe to enter an intersection just because the fire engine, police car or ambulance has come through. Be alert and scan for the approach of other vehicles.




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