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  • Right of way

    I have a quick question. I understand that for emergency vehicles you need to get out of the way. Well the other day while I was driving home on a country road and an ambulance was coming code 3 on the oncoming side of the road. Naturally people on that side pulled over, but then the guy in front of me pulled over as well. I continued on and didn't pull over simply because I was not in his path of travel. My question is, should I have pulled over for courtesy or is it ok to keep driving like I did?
    Thanks and stay safe,
    Tim

  • #2
    Not really wanting to call it a "driver's rule", but it could be considered "driver's courtesy" to at least move over to the right, and slow down - stupid drivers do stupid things sometimes. When travelling on country/narrow roads I always move over and or stop as traffic/weather/road condition dictate.
    If you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)

    "I may be slow, but my work is poor." Chief Dave Balding, MVFD

    "Its not Rocket Science. Just use a LITTLE imagination." (Me)

    Get it up. Get it on. Get it done!

    impossible solved cotidie. miracles postulo viginti - quattuor hora animadverto

    IACOJ member: Cheers, Play safe y'all.

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    • #3
      On a two lane road, both sides should pull of to the right, this will clear the center, since the liklihood of the people in the emergency vehicles lane of travel will likely not be able to pull completely off road, and you are supposed to, where I live at least, give as wide a berth as possible to an emergency vehicle whether you are in it's lane of travel or not. Exceptions are divided highways.

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      • #4
        was there or will there ever be any intersecting roads with traffic lights? if so you should have kept on going b/c the ambulance will stop

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        • #5
          It was just a country road the ambulance was well in his lane and I clearly was not so I just continued driving on my side. Now had he needed my lane at all I would have pulled over.

          It was clear as day and warm so the weather wasnt bad. There was one guy in front of me who pulled over and one on the oncoming side which the ambulance had passed already.
          Last edited by Pancho; 01-06-2007, 03:54 PM.

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          • #6
            If it was a school bus with the same conditions and you werent in his lane would you have stopped? Do you really think where you were going was more important than where he was going?? Think about your question ...

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            • #7
              No I don't and no I don't stop for buses either unless it they are stopped picking up kids. I think my question is legit. I was not impeding the way. I'm simply asking if there's a rule against it or if it's just common courtesy to pull over for them.

              And I was never in his lane???

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              • #8
                I don't know about MO, but in NH, courtesy doesn't enter into it. The law requires that the road be cleared in both directions, unless it is a divided hghway.

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                • #9
                  If you read the state law, it is 99% going to tell you that you were wrong. I do recognize that you said if you were, you would have pulled over. However, the law is you pull over regardless of it being in your lane or not. It gives the emergency vehicle the entire road to maneuver. I personally find it annoying when people do like you did, even if it doesn't slow me down.
                  Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

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                  • #10
                    As a fellow missourian and emt on the ambulance and firefighter YES, you should have pulled to the side of the road. No matter which direction you are traveling v. their direction you are to yield to all oncoming emergency vehicles. If a deputy or HP had passed you you could have gotten a ticket for failure to yield.

                    Since you are a fellow missourian do you remember the last news about all the troopers in my area, one of which was a member of my fire department, that were hit and killed by people not moving over or yielding? The penalties are much greater now, I would consider yourself lucky nothing happened.
                    Firefighter/EMT-B
                    IACOJ

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                    • #11
                      You should have moved to the right and stopped......
                      Buck
                      Assistant Chief/EMT-B

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                      • #12
                        Most if not all State VTLs require you to pull to the right and stop whenever an emergency vehicle is approaching you....from any direction.

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                        • #13
                          Yes. You should have pulled over.

                          I have had similar conversations with people over the years on the topic of when it's appropriate to yield the right of way to an emergency vehicle.

                          Here is what my response is to the "Should I have pulled over?" question:
                          Even if you feel that there was clear passage for the emergency vehicle, and your continuing to drive along the road would likely not impede its response, would you have pulled over if they were responding to one of your family members, or to your house if was on fire?

                          The answer is always the same...YES!




                          Kevin
                          Fire Lieutenant/E.M.T.
                          IAFF Local 2339
                          K of C 4th Degree
                          "LEATHER FOREVER"
                          Member I.A.C.O.J.
                          http://www.tfdfire.com/
                          "Fir na tine"

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                          • #14
                            As others have said, regardless of which direction the vehicle is coming from, pull comepletely off the road and come to a complete stop if you can do so safely.
                            TO/EMT CVFD (1219)
                            EMT GEMS
                            CPT/EMT MVFD
                            ---------------------------------------------------
                            Proud Member of IACOJ
                            ---------------------------------------------------
                            9-11-01 Never Forget FDNY 343

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                            • #15
                              RSMo 304.022 says you should have moved over, which as a firefighter you should know already. If you don't know it, I'd recommend you follow the link and take a look at all of it. I require all my vollies to understand this and other applicable statutes prior to driving any department vehicles, or even their POV's emergency.

                              RSMo 304.022, in part...
                              1. Upon the immediate approach of an emergency vehicle giving audible signal by siren or while having at least one lighted lamp exhibiting red light visible under normal atmospheric conditions from a distance of five hundred feet to the front of such vehicle or a flashing blue light authorized by section 307.175, RSMo, the driver of every other vehicle shall yield the right-of-way and shall immediately drive to a position parallel to, and as far as possible to the right of, the traveled portion of the highway and thereupon stop and remain in such position until such emergency vehicle has passed, except when otherwise directed by a police or traffic officer.

                              2. Upon approaching a stationary emergency vehicle displaying lighted red or red and blue lights, the driver of every motor vehicle shall:

                              (1) Proceed with caution and yield the right-of-way, if possible with due regard to safety and traffic conditions, by making a lane change into a lane not adjacent to that of the stationary vehicle, if on a roadway having at least four lanes with not less than two lanes proceeding in the same direction as the approaching vehicle; or

                              (2) Proceed with due caution and reduce the speed of the vehicle, maintaining a safe speed for road conditions, if changing lanes would be unsafe or impossible.

                              3. The motorman of every streetcar shall immediately stop such car clear of any intersection and keep it in such position until the emergency vehicle has passed, except as otherwise directed by a police or traffic officer.
                              As a side note/question, any of you guys ever hear the "old wives tale" that postal carriers are exempt from right-of-way regulations for emergency vehicles? I've always heard it (since they're federal employees), but have never actually seen it confirmed.

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