Ask a Trooper: How do I respond to emergency vehicles at an intersection?
Published 8:45 pm Tuesday, January 31, 2023
Ask a Trooper by Troy Christianson
Question: I was wondering if you are stopped at a stop light in the left turn lane and an emergency vehicle with lights and sirens come in behind you (either in the turn lane or the lane to your right), what is the proper procedure? Thank you!
Answer: When it comes to encountering emergency vehicles while stopped at a stop light and the only place to move is the actual intersection, it is best to stay in place and let the emergency vehicle maneuver around your vehicle. Unless otherwise directed by law enforcement.
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Otherwise, for an emergency vehicle, such as an ambulance, fire truck or police car, displaying flashing red lights and sounding a siren or bell 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 arrest 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.
You can avoid a ticket — and a crash — if you simply buckle up, drive at safe speeds, pay attention and always drive sober. Help us drive Minnesota toward zero deaths.
If you have any questions concerning traffic-related laws or issues in Minnesota, send your questions to Sgt. Troy Christianson, Minnesota State Patrol, at 2900 48th St. NW, Rochester, MN 55901-5848; or reach him at Troy.Christianson@state.mn.us.
Troy Christianson is a sergeant with the Minnesota State Patrol.