Dealing with an emergency vehicle

So, who is in charge when you are on a driving exam? Even though the person grading you on your exam is giving instructions and even though they hold your fate in their hands, you are ultimately responsible for the vehicle because you are the driver.

Actually, the law always takes precedent over the exam proctor during a driving test. They won’t tell you things like, “the speed on this road is 45MPH.” However, the most stressful thing that can happen during a driving test is when an emergency vehicle enters your route. Sometimes an exam proctor will give you instructions in recognition of the extraordinary circumstances but many times they simply wait to see how you react to it.

One of the challenges is that many drivers on the road don’t know what to do when an emergency vehicle comes on the scene. Other vehicles on the road may not behave exactly as you think they should.

So, when you see an emergency vehicle what do you do?

Well, its simple really; pull over. If you don’t pull over and it was safe to do so you will fail your driving test. A police car on the scene can site you for failing to yield but they generally don’t have time.

If you are stuck somewhere where it’s impossible to pull over, you may have to pull over as far as possible for the emergency vehicle to get through. You should also beware that another emergency vehicle isn’t following it (it may not be the same type by the way, for instance if you have an ambulance you may get a police car following on behind).

Remember though it is always advisable only to stop if the situation isn’t hazardous; do not put yourself in danger.

The Toughest Thing About Emergency Vehicles!

Because the sirens are generally on it should give you plenty of time to respond, though you might have initial confusion on where the emergency vehicle is coming from. As with all times on a driving test it is essential not to panic. If you aren’t on a driving test and you were listening to music turn it off until the emergency vehicle has passed.

It is always a good idea to stay especially alert in a situation such as this.

Although you might be tempted to follow an emergency vehicle through traffic, especially if its an ambulance carrying a loved one, do NOT do this. You should be more than 500 feet away from the emergency vehicle at all times.

When you overtake an Emergency Vehicle.

When you see an emergency vehicle at the side of the road you should reduce your speed slightly and change lanes if it is safe enough to do so. If you can’t change lanes you should proceed with caution.

Emergency Vehicles from Different Directions

How exactly you deal with an emergency vehicle depends on where they approach from. If they approach from behind (that is, if you see one in your rear view mirrors) you must attempt to pull over, staying as close to the curb as you can.

If they are approaching from the front you must still stop and pull over. This is in case the drivers in the opposite lane cannot pull over fully.

The difficulty with emergency vehicles may reveal itself at intersections. Ideally, no part of your car should be impeding the emergency vehicle’s progress.

This specific law is known as the “Move Over” law, but it also known as the “Steer Clear” law in Pennsylvania. There may be a specific speed limit for cars that cannot get out of the way of an emergency vehicle, for instance in Texas it is 20 mph below the advertised speed limit.

According to information released by Taylor & Francis Online more firefighters die in traffic accidents than the fire itself, though it does refer to these vehicles being a hazard to other road users. It’s difficult to think of a solution to this problem as a fire engine must get to the incident as quickly as possible.

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