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It’s the law! Yield to emergency vehicles on JBSA

By Senior Master Sgt. Brian Bibb | 502nd Security Forces Squadron | Nov. 27, 2017

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO, Texas —

Uh-oh! You’re driving down the road on one of the Joint Base San Antonio installations and you suddenly hear sirens in the distance. What do you do now?

Here is some information and rules to follow:

Emergency response vehicles approaching from the rear

1. Slow down and check the flow of traffic around you.

2. If you’re the lead vehicle, put your hazard lights on so cars behind you know there’s an emergency ahead.

3. Utilize your turn signal and pull over as far to the right as you can, so the emergency vehicle can pass you. It is important to drive as safely as possible so you don’t cause an accident or disrupt traffic further.

4. Come to a complete stop.

5. Pull back onto the road only after the emergency vehicle is a safe distance ahead of you.

6. Stay at least 500 feet behind any emergency vehicle with its lights on.

Emergency response vehicles approaching from the front

While the appropriate response to an emergency vehicle approaching from behind is fairly uniform across the country, what to do if the vehicle is coming from the opposite direction varies from state to state.

Texas law requires drivers to pull over to the right until the vehicle passes, no matter which direction it’s coming from.

Texas also has a move-over law. This law was created in an attempt to lower the number of law enforcement officers injured or killed during traffic stops. This requires drivers to move into the opposite lane when passing a stopped emergency vehicle.

If unable to move into the next lane, drivers must slow to a speed as much as 20 mph less than the speed limit. Failure to slow down or move over may result in a driver receiving a citation.

Emergency response vehicles stopped on the road

If you are driving and come upon a stopped ambulance, fire truck or police car with its lights flashing:

1. Vacate the lane closest to the emergency vehicle.

2. Slow to a speed not more than 20 mph less than the speed limit when the posted speed limit is 25 mph or more.

3. Slow to a speed not more than 5mph when the posted speed limit is less than 25 mph.

Also, it is important to remember that emergency vehicles will request the right away via lights and sirens when clearing intersections while responding to emergency situations.

A good rule of thumb is to simply drive as safe as possible. By giving emergency vehicles the right of way and/or enough space to get where they need to go, you’ll ensure your safety and will assist JBSA first responders to do their jobs – protecting our families.