Local Issues

To Emergency Vehicles

Click to see original image“When police cars, fire
engines, ambulances, or
other emergency vehicles
approach, using audible and
visual signals, yield the
right-of-way and drive at
once to the right side of the
road and stop until they
have passed.”
Judging by comments
made by drivers of
emergency vehicles, a lot of
folks here in Utah need to
have a refresher on the
above passage from the
state law, quoted in the
Utah Driver Handbook
published by the State
Department of Public
Even though emergency
siren and lights are going,
some drivers seem
determined to stay on
course and not pull to the
right and stop, as directed
by the law.
in Salt Lake one
emergency vehicle, driving
in rather heavy trffic,
finally had to drift to the
right and drive along the
parking strip in order to get
Sometimes a blaring
radio and the sounds of an
air conditioner may make
hearing an approaching
siren difficult. On the other
hand, an attentive drivert
should be able to detect the
siren’s sound as well as
catch the view of visual
Obviously, drivers should
not panic when emergency
vehicles are approaching.
Keep your head, drive
carefully and competently
in moving to the right so
that you don’t become a
hazard and cause an
accident of your own.
Drivers of emergency
vehicles usually are
especially safetyconscious
and will not force you
beyond your ability to get
out of the way. On the other
hand, don’t delay. With the
emergency vehicle, the
mission might be a case of
life or death and each
second may be vitally
If you see an emergency
vehicle moving leisurely
through traffic with neither
siren or visual signals
functioning, you are not
expected to respond as in
the case of an emergency.
The vehicle may be en route
to “gas up” or to a wash job
or on some other routine
In such cases, the
emergency vehicle
normally will not be
pressing the speed limit, lt’s
authority to exceed speed
limits pertains only to
In a related situation, the
law provides that you must
not follow within 500 feet of
a fire apparatus responding
to an alarm, nor drive into
or park in the block where
the fire engine has stopped
to answer an alarm.
We understand that in
Orem, spectators crowded
in so quickly with their cars
in one situation that the fire
engines couldn’t get in and
police had to clear the way.
Teach your family the
special meaning the sounds
and visual signals from
emergency vehicles have,
and how to respond. Life or
death might hang in the