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Pull Over for Emergency Vehicles or Suffer These Penalties

Driving Tips
jason-baxtorJason Baxter


Sometimes you’re not sure which direction they’re coming from, or they’re so far away you’re not even sure if they are on the same road as you. In any case, all drivers should proceed with caution and be ready to pull over for emergency vehicles as soon as they hear the sirens.

What To Do When an Emergency Vehicle Approaches You 

Generally speaking, if emergency vehicles with flashing red lights (or red and blue lights) and sirens activated, approach from any direction, you must do the following: slow down, signal and safely move to the right, as close as possible and parallel to the right side of the road, and stop as soon as it is safe to do so.

On one-way roads, you may also slow down, signal and move over to the left and stop when it’s safe to do so.

In intersections, regardless of which lane or direction the emergency vehicle is coming from, all vehicles must yield to the emergency vehicle. Do not stop or pull over at the intersection. If you have already entered the intersection when you see or hear the emergency vehicle, continue through the intersection, then safely slow down, signal, pull to the right and stop the vehicle.

If you plan to make a left turn in an intersection and an emergency vehicle approaches from behind, do not make the left turn. Instead, proceed straight through the intersection and follow the procedure for safely pulling over to the right and stopping. 

What To Do When You Approach a Stopped Emergency Vehicle 

The basic guideline when approaching stopped emergency vehicles, including police, fire, and ambulance vehicles, and tow trucks, is to “Slow Down, Move Over”. That means to safely reduce your speed, and move as far over to the opposite side of the road as possible, away from the emergency vehicles, and pass with caution. 

If the road you are on has two or more lanes in your direction, you must move over a lane and, if possible, leave an entire lane of space between you and the emergency vehicles.

The Penalties if You’re Convicted of Not Moving Over for Emergency Vehicles

If you don’t follow these procedures and pull over for emergency vehicles, you can suffer some very serious penalties and consequences.

First Conviction

  • A fine of between $400 and $2,000
  • 3 demerit points
  • Potential license suspension for up to 2 years

Second and Subsequent Convictions (Within a 5-Year Period)

  • Fines between $1,000 and $4,000
  • 3 demerit points
  • Potential jail term of up to 6 months
  • Potential license suspension for up to 2 years

But perhaps the worst consequence of not following move-over laws is, by getting in the way of an emergency vehicle, or the peace officers or emergency workers who use them, you might delay the medical or emergency attention that someone needs. A delay that could be fatal.

The serious consequences of being convicted of not moving over for emergency vehicles means you owe it to yourself to protect your rights as much as possible. The experienced X-Copper team of former police officers and traffic ticket lawyers understand the laws, enforcement methods and court processes. They have helped many drivers who have been charged with violating move-over laws get the best outcomes possible.

To find out more about protecting your right from any traffic violation, check out our article “What To Do When You Get a Traffic Ticket”.



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