Remember to Pull to the Right for Lights and Sirens

Remember to Pull to the Right for Lights and Sirens title=
Remember to Pull to the Right for Lights and Sirens
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Source: Santa Barbara County Fire Department

If you or someone you love is in need of emergency assistance, you want help to arrive immediately. Did you know that there’s one simple thing everyone can do to help firefighters, ambulances, and law enforcement officers provide emergency assistance as quickly as possible? Just Move Right for Sirens & Lights.

Every year in the United States there are 16,000 collisions involving fire department emergency vehicles responding to or returning from incidents. These collisions result in over 1,000 firefighter injuries and 50 deaths. Many, if not most, of these accidents would be avoided if everyone would just Move Right for Sirens & Lights.

Why, then, doesn’t everyone just pull to the right? Many people panic. Some don’t know or understand the law. Others simply don’t adhere to the rules of the road.

The law is very specific: Drivers must yield the right-of-way to an emergency vehicle. Firefighters work hard to avoid vehicle collisions by driving slowly when traveling against traffic, coming to a complete stop at intersections, etc. However, the cooperation of ALL vehicles on the roadway is essential.


There are some simple rules to follow when you’re on the road and encounter an emergency vehicle whose lights are flashing, whether the siren is sounding or not.

DO pull to the right and come to a complete stop. If you’re traveling on a high-speed road or if there is no room to stop, slow down as much as possible.

If you are in the left lane, DO pull over into the right lane as traffic in the lane to your right moves over.

If you cannot move to the right because of another vehicle or obstacle, just stop. Your action will let the driver of the emergency vehicle know what you are doing and allow the driver to anticipate where to drive.

When an emergency vehicle approaches you from behind while you are stopped at an intersection, DO stay where you are unless you can pull to the right.

On a two or four-lane highway or street without barriers, both sides of traffic should pull to the right

If the emergency vehicle is traveling on the opposite direction of a divided highway or street, you do not need to pull over.

If you are on a divided highway where traffic in front of you is at a standstill and you see emergency lights behind you, move to the right if you can; stay where you are if you can’t. NEVER move into the center divider—you could be moving into the path of an approaching emergency vehicle.

DO stay at least 500 feet behind any emergency vehicle.

DO be extremely careful when driving by or around a motor vehicle accident or any situation where emergency vehicles are parked and the firefighters are working.

DO NOT move to the left—ever.

DO NOT play your radio so loudly that you are unable to hear sirens.

DO NOT stop in the middle lane when there is room to pull to the right.

DO NOT pull to the left into the center lane, the center divider or left turn lane.

DO NOT race ahead to make the green light or turn before the emergency vehicle gets there.

DO NOT turn quickly to the left onto a street or driveway.

DO NOT drive through a red light or stop sign when an emergency vehicle approaches from behind.

DO NOT disregard the presence of the emergency vehicle by continuing to drive.

Following these simple rules will help everyone involved in an emergency: those who desperately need help and those who are hurrying to help them. Every emergency responder—firefighter, ambulance driver, police officer—will appreciate it when you Move Right for Sirens & Lights.

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Lucky 777 Aug 06, 2019 09:57 AM
Remember to Pull to the Right for Lights and Sirens

I obey the law that says the frail humans walking across the cross walk must be all the way to the other side before I can turn right through it. I think it is a good law. But I get honks and curses from the people behind me who apparently would have clipped the old codger's heels had they been first at the corner.

a-1582308622 Aug 06, 2019 09:25 AM
Remember to Pull to the Right for Lights and Sirens

And how many Fire and Ambulance drivers will turn on their sirens because they are stuck in traffic, late for lunch, because their buddies called them for a sandwich,in a hurry or they are running late for a Doctors appointment, etc ? I saw a fire truck in, San Francisco in heavy traffic as i was walking up Van Ness that i was keeping pace with while walking that turned on his sirens at almost every red light because he didn't want to sit in traffic . I followed him up to a donut shop where he got out, went in, sat down & got coffee and donuts . Not wanting a confrontation I left a note on his window that reminded him of abusing his authority by using his sirens to get through traffic .

a-1582308622 Aug 06, 2019 06:12 AM
Remember to Pull to the Right for Lights and Sirens

It amazes me how many people don't yield! Pull to the right, stop, won't take long. Many times when a street has traffic they will drive in the opposing lanes, it's ok, they need to get there. Let's all keep that in mind and get out of the way asap and let them get there safely.

a-1582308622 Aug 05, 2019 11:41 PM
Remember to Pull to the Right for Lights and Sirens

You know where that large, treed median is on Upper State/Calle Real/entrance to 101 as you sit at the light with Five Points on your left and McDonald's on your right? I was at the light, waiting to head west, along with a slew of other vehicles/drivers. Suddenly, an EMT unit, sirens blaring, came up from the rear. As it came speeding up behind us, the driver knew there was no way those of us waiting at the light would be able to pull over to the right. The driver saw his/her chance and, without slowing in the least bit, heaved left, driving on the *wrong side* of the median, and blasted through the intersection, continuing onto the freeway onramp. It was amazing to watch. I didn't know those units were allowed to drive on the wrong side of the road, especially at such a huge and well-trafficked intersection.

CoastWatch Aug 05, 2019 11:52 PM
Remember to Pull to the Right for Lights and Sirens

The Northside of Santa Barbara is a huge problem for the FD and EMS as far as response on Upper State St. With the Center divider / Planters that run from Las Positas to Five Points- there is virtually NO WHERE for a 38,000 lbs. fire engine or ambulance to "get around"... The Fire Station at Ontaire and State must often drive on the opposing side of traffic to get by and they are one of the busiest stations in the City... If you're in the front line of a Red Light and the FD or Ambulance is behind you, you CAN proceed through the Red if it is safe to do so which would allow the unit to get through the intersection.

ginger1 Aug 05, 2019 04:27 PM
Remember to Pull to the Right for Lights and Sirens

Thanks for posting that lesson. How do they not know to yield to the car on the right when stopping at a stop sign? How do they not know that right turn on red means full stop, check the crosswalk, then turn? Seems to me that most drivers need a refresher on the rules of the road. The people who simply stop dead in their tracks when the hear/see emergency vehicles coming --- where did they get that idea anyway? A what about purposefully running through an already red light? That should be VERY hefty fine, considering you might kill someone. Oh....wait. We do not have traffic enforcement in SB.

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