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Sharing the Road with Authorized Vehicles

Driving Safety Tips: Sharing the Road with
Authorized Vehicles

Driving laws differ by state, but some rules of the road apply nationwide. Some of these pertain to sharing the road with police cars, ambulances, fire trucks, school busses and funeral processions. These vehicles change the rules of the road, and it’s important to respond correctly and safely when you encounter them.

1. Pull over for emergency vehicles.
Encountering police cars, ambulances and fire trucks on the road is fairly common. When one of these vehicles approaches at a high rate of speed with lights and sirens, it’s important to move out of the way quickly and safely for two reasons. First of all, you don’t want to obstruct the vehicle’s path. Secondly, you will receive a ticket and face penalties if you don’t obey these traffic laws. Check with your state on specifics, but in general, here are the rules of the road you should follow when you spot an emergency vehicle showing lights and sirens.

• Pull over to the right side of the road and come to a complete stop. If you’re on a multi-lane road, get as far right as you can. It may not be possible due to traffic congestion to move all the way to the right. The same rule applies whether you are on a road or highway.

• If you see an emergency vehicle stopped on the side of the road with lights flashing, change lanes to move as far away from the vehicle as possible. You must also slow down. All but three states (Hawaii, Maryland & New York) require you to react this way to a stopped emergency vehicle.

2. Learn the school bus stop law in your state.
When school busses stop to pick up or drop off children, traffic around the bus must also stop. This has been the law in every state for many decades. To alert drivers, school busses are equipped with eight flashing red lights as well as a stop sign that extends from the driver’s side of the bus. In some states, the busses will first flash amber lights as a warning that a stop is coming soon. If you see those lights, slow down and prepare to stop. Come to a complete stop once you see the red lights and the stop sign.

This law differs in some states when it comes to school bus traffic laws on divided highways. Some states still require cars on the other side of the divider to stop while others don’t. Consult your local traffic laws for clarification.

3. Wait for funeral processions.
Many drivers may be unsure of the rules of the road when it comes to funeral processions. While it may differ by state, follow these guidelines to safely share the road with a funeral procession.

• Stop and wait for the entire procession if it is passing through the intersection in front of you."

• Maintain your position or consider finding an alternate route if you are traveling behind the procession.

• If you’re traveling in the opposite direction, you can maintain your course but consider slowing down, and keep an eye out for the leader of the procession to indicate a turn.

• Most importantly, never cut into the procession or honk your horn in frustration.

Take the time to learn driving safety tips so you can react appropriately when you encounter emergency vehicles, school busses and funeral processions. Doing so can keep everyone safe and help you avoid a ticket. Find a reliable auto insurance company today to help keep you protected on the road.