“Please Abide – Pull Aside” Do you know what to do when approached by an emergency vehicle?

The area is often crowded and congested with traffic conditions caused by collisions, work zones, holiday travelers, sports events and sometimes just “normal” traffic. Emergency vehicles are impacted by these conditions, as well. When somebody calls 911 for help – the men and women of CARS respond. How can everyday drivers help us to help you? – Normally, drivers will HEAR us first, next they will SEE us, and then we need drivers to CLEAR for us.

Hear Us - See Us - Clear for Us

C – L – E – A – R for emergency vehicles.

  • C – Calmly pull to and as close to the edge of the roadway as possible and stop.
  • L – Leave room. Keep intersections clear and never try to follow emergency vehicles.
  • E – Enter into traffic with caution after the emergency vehicle has passed. Remember to use signals.
  • A – Aware (be). Be aware of your surroundings. Keep radio volume low and check rear view mirrors frequently.
  • R – Remain stopped until the emergency vehicle ha passed. Be mindful that there may be additional emergency vehicles approaching.

    When approached by an emergency vehicle – the law says to pull over to the closest parallel edge of the roadway and yield the right of way to the emergency vehicle. An emergency vehicle is one with an audible siren and/or siren and emergency flashing lights. When driving and approaching an emergency scene – slow down and move over. In other words - “Give us a brake!”

    Reduce the risk of an accident near an emergency scene and around emergency equipment. Stay alert – expect anything to occur when approaching emergency vehicles. Pay close attention – watch for police or fire direction. Turn on your headlights – let on scene workers and other motorists see you. Don’t tailgate – unexpected stops frequently occur near scenes. Don’t speed – slow down. Keep up with the traffic flow – dedicate you full attention to the roadway and those traveling around you. Minimize distractions – avoid changing radio stations and using mobile cell phones while approaching these areas. Expect the unexpected – keep an eye out for emergency workers and their equipment. Be patient – remember, firefighters and EMT’s are working to help someone.

    Local pedestrian and traffic safety issues are front and center. If you travel by car or are a pedestrian, please place extra emphasis on safety. Simply looking both ways before crossing a street, crossing in a crosswalk, spending a few extra seconds to cinch the belt on your child's safety seat, or delaying departure to ensure you get enough rest before a long trip can make all the difference. Preventative safety, while measured in seconds or minutes, can save you from months or years of anguish, grief, and "what if". Be smart. Be safe.

    Virginia law says you must SAFELY pull over to the nearest curb when approached by an emergency vehicle.

    Hear us – See us – CLEAR for us! “Please Abide – Pull Aside!”

    See a video clip of a news crew riding with us one evening, click here. Video courtesy of NBC Channel 29 News.

    Web page information courtesy of Montgomery County (MD) Fire and Rescue

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