Defensive Driving Blog

One Last Tip Before Labor Day

As we get ready to hit the roads for the unofficial “End of Summer” celebrations, we at want to help you avoid getting a ticket. One law our students are surprised to hear about pertains to what to do when approaching an emergency vehicle with the lights on or flashing. Do you know? There are laws on the books since September 1, 2003 designed to help protect our law enforcement officers. If you don’t follow the rules, you could get a ticket of up to $200.00, and if there is property damage, make it $500.00.

The law is: if you are driving and come upon a stopped emergency vehicle that has it’s lights activated, UNLESS otherwise directed by a law enforcement officer , you have to get out of the lane closest to the emergency vehicle. If they are pulled over on the right shoulder of a highway with two or more lanes traveling in the same direction of the emergency vehicle, the lane next to them, the right lane, needs to be empty of traffic so move over safely.

But what if traffic is backed up or extremely heavy and you can’t safely get out of the lane next to the emergency vehicle? The you MUST slow your speed to 20 miles per hour below the posted speed limit. For example, if you are on a highway with speed limits of 55 mph and you approach an emergency vehicle pulled over to the side, you need to lower your speed to 35mph or less as you pass the emergency vehicle. If you are on a street that has a speed limit of 25 mph or less (a neighborhood street for example) you must slow to 5 mph or less as you pass the vehicle.

You can see how this helps protect our law enforcement officers. Be careful out there and don’t do anything to get a ticket. Hopefully this one tip will help you have a safe holiday weekend for you, your family and our law enforcement officers everywhere. Happy Labor Day from all of us.

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