Emergency Vehicle Right of Way

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Flashing lights and sirens from emergency vehicles can be startling when you’re driving. It’s important to stay alert. As a Phoenix car accident attorney, Ken Gerber is very familiar with the state’s “Move Over” law. It not only applies to tow trucks and motorists broken down on the side of the road. The law also applies to any first responding vehicles with flashing lights such as a firetruck, police cruiser or ambulance whether they’re moving or at a stop.

What to do when an emergency vehicle approaches and passes

Unless directed by a police officer, when a firetruck approaches with a siren and is within 500 feet with even just one flashing red or blue light, move over! You must yield the right-of-way.

Immediately pull over to a position parallel to and as close as possible to the right-hand edge of the curb of the road. The exception is if you’re in the middle of an intersection. It’s always important to keep an intersection clear. Once the emergency vehicle passes, you may move.

Remember, it’s illegal to follow any firetruck closer than 500 feet or drive into an area or park within a block where the firetruck has stopped.

It’s also illegal to approach or drive parallel to a police car. Arizona law says you must stay at least 300 feet behind any police cruiser involved in an emergency. Like with a firetruck, you must move to the lane closest to the right-hand edge or curb.

Arizona traffic ticket fines vary by violation and location but the penalties are the same statewide.

What to do when approaching stationary emergency vehicles

If an emergency vehicle is stationary with flashing lights on a four-lane highway with at least two of the lanes going in the same direction, proceed with caution and slow down. If possible, make a lane change into a lane not adjacent to the emergency vehicle.

Even though non-emergency vehicles are supposed to obey all laws as far as yielding the right-of-way and pulling over, emergency vehicle drivers are also supposed to drive with caution and have regard for the safety of everyone on the highway.

Sometimes, crashes do happen with emergency vehicles. If you end up being a victim of one of these accidents, please call Arizona Attorney Ken Gerber for a free consultation.

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