Thread: Right of way

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    Question 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

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    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.
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    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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    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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    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 at 03:54 PM.

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    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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    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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    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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    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.
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    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.
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    You should have moved to the right and stopped......

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    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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    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!




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    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.
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    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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    I always pull over myself,regardless of which way I'm going, although here in Ontario I get looked at like I'm on some sort of crack when I do. People in this province seem to think they abide by some sort of different laws than everyone else or something
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    Quote Originally Posted by Catch22 View Post
    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.
    Apparently, they are exempt from most everything.

    My neighbor was involved in an accident with a mail delivery van last summer. The postal truck was backing up on the shoulder of the road and my neighbor struck the rear corner of the postal truck that was protruding into the lane of traffic. My neighbor was charged with failure to yield to a postal delivery vehicle.
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    In downtown Maryland, When an Emergency Vehicle approaches, Our laws require you to pull completely to the right, and come to a full stop, regardless of the direction of travel of said Emergency Vehicle.
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    Ok, I figured if nothing else it was common courtesy but it sounds like its even a legal issue. Wasn't a big deal in this instance, just a quick question.
    Thanks and stay safe,
    Tim

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    When I used to have to drive an ambo, I would usually drive right down the middle. It removed this kind of confusion. Everyone got out of my way.
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    ChicagoFF: When I used to have to drive an ambo, I would usually drive right down the middle. It removed this kind of confusion. Everyone got out of my way.
    Hey Chicago...

    Isn't that what the yellow line is for? To center the hood of the ambulance on to make sure you stay on the road? I have done that more than once myself.

    FyredUp

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    LOL that's great! I'll deffinitely stay clear next time.

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    Talking Try this...

    Quote Originally Posted by ChicagoFF View Post
    When I used to have to drive an ambo, I would usually drive right down the middle. It removed this kind of confusion. Everyone got out of my way.
    Go ahead and drive in the opposing lanes. I've found that when driving in the opposing lanes, I demand much more respect for my lights and siren than trying to get the folks going my way to pull over.

  24. #24
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    In Michigan you must pull over regardless of who is on what side, unless obviously the road is divided by some kind of barrier

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    Dear Pancho.

    While I see how disturbing this question must be for you, and the angst involved with your worries, and that the details involved are quiet disconcerting for yourself, there is one thing that I can say that may help your healing process.

    If the vehicle approaching you is doing a goodest rate of knots with the verily brightest of lights and a large trumpeting is issuing forth, get the h@ll out of the way of the Brothers doing righteous work.

    Nuff said.
    Psychiatrists state 1 in 4 people has a mental illness.
    Look at three of your friends, if they are ok, your it.

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