The wail of an ambulance siren is unmistakable. These sirens warn drivers of their presence and help speed up emergency response times. But are the road rules for first responders and civilians the same or different? Regardless of what you drive, here these are the basic rules of the road for emergency vehicles.

Road Rules for First Responders

Driving an ambulance or firetruck doesn’t give you the freedom to do whatever you please. Under normal conditions, you must abide by all local laws and regulations. These include driving the posted speed limit and stopping at all controlled intersections. But when an emergency arises, first responders may break specific road rules.

When behind the wheel, the first rule is to drive with due regard for safety. This means being on the lookout for other cars and pedestrians. During an emergency call, turn on your sirens and lights to alert vehicles in your path. These warnings signal request the right-of-way from other drivers.

Authorized emergency vehicles can drive above the speed limit, go through red lights, and park in prohibited places. When approaching a railway crossing, remember to come to a complete stop and silence all sirens. You must maintain control of the vehicle whether operating in emergency or non-emergency mode.

Rules of the Road for Civilian Drivers

There is always a chance civilians might encounter an emergency vehicle when on the road. The most common are ambulances, fire trucks, and police cars. If an approaching first responder has their lights flashing and sirens blaring, drivers should cautiously move out of the way. Here are the general rules to follow:

  • Tap the brake pedal to let the first responder know that you see them.
  • Carefully pull over to the right side of the road.
  • Stop and remain there until the emergency vehicle passes.
  • Reenter the roadway and stay at least 500 feet behind the vehicle.

It’s not always possible to pull over. In these situations, it’s best to slow down and move at least one lane away from the first responder. Never try to outrun the vehicle, and remember to obey any red lights or stop signs. Entering an intersection before it’s your turn could cause an accident. Instead, wait for the light to turn green before allowing the emergency vehicle to pass.

Get Your Ambulance Road-Ready

There’s no time for a mechanical breakdown when answering an emergency call. It’s crucial to have an ambulance that will get your response team on the road both quickly and safely. Trinity Apparatus is your one-stop shop for emergency vehicle buying and maintenance. Whether you want to add another ambulance to your fleet or need to schedule tune-ups for your existing vehicles, we’ve got you covered.

Ready to start saving lives? Now that you know the rules of the road for emergency vehicles, connect with us online to browse our ambulance inventory.