Q: If an emergency vehicle is driving in the opposite direction you are traveling on a four-lane highway without a center median, what are you supposed to do? Just move to the right lane? Move to the right lane and slow down? Pull all the way to the shoulder and stop?
A: When an emergency vehicle, such as an ambulance, fire truck, or police car, displaying flashing red lights and sounding a siren approaches your vehicle on a two-way road, you must pull to the right and stop. If you are traveling on a one-way road, you must pull to whichever side is nearest and stop. If you are within an intersection, proceed through it before stopping. Remain stopped until all emergency vehicles have passed. A law enforcement officer with probable cause to believe a driver has violated this law may issue a citation to the driver within four hours of the violation.
You are not required to stop if the emergency vehicle that is approaching you is separated from your lane of traffic by a physical barrier such as a fence, wall, or median strip.
When in that left lane, signal your intent to move right. When it is safe to move right, do so and continue onto the right shoulder. Slowly apply your brakes, and come to a stop when it is reasonably safe to do so. If this situation happens and you are in the process of passing another vehicle that is in the right lane, get around that other vehicle by either completing the pass or slowing up and get behind it. Do not slam on the brakes. Again, signal your intent to move right. This will help notify the officer or driver of the emergency vehicle that you acknowledge they are there.
Please be aware of your surroundings while driving as an emergency vehicle may be approaching you very quickly. By being an attentive driver you will be able to see and hear the emergency vehicle approach and be able to safely yield to it.
Sgt. Neil Dickenson is a public information officer with the Minnesota State Patrol. Send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. You may remain anonymous if you wish.