National EMS Week—What to Do When You Hear the Sounds of Sirens

Have you even been driving down the road when all of the sudden you hear a siren in the distance or see flashing lights in your rearview mirror and immediately ask, “What is going on?”, “Where is that coming from?”, or even “What have I done?” It is easy to get surprised by an emergency vehicle and even more important to know how to respond quickly as this teen found out while in the car with her dad. Your reaction, however, could help save a life.

In honor of National Emergency Medical Services Week and the first responders helping to save lives on our roads, here are some quick tips to help drivers react the right way and clear the road quickly:
  • When an emergency vehicle is approaching, pull as far to the right as possible and stop until the vehicle safely passes.
  •  If you’re on a two-lane road, at an intersection or stuck in gridlock, yield the right-of-way as best as possible to give the vehicle room to get past and keep intersections clear.
  • If there is no safe way to pull over and stop, slow down to at least 20 MPH under the posted speed limit, or 5 MPH if the speed limit is already 20 MPH or less, and let the emergency vehicle go around you.
  • When you happen upon an emergency vehicle on the side of the road with their lights flashing, this is not the time to try to get a closer look at the action. Slow down, stay focused to watch for emergency personnel in the area and keep your distance until you’ve safely made your way past the scene.
To get to emergencies without delay, ambulances, fire trucks, police and other emergency vehicles depend on  the cooperation of other roadway users. Keep these tips in mind the next time you hear a siren squeal to do your part to support these lifesaving heroes!