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ASK A COP: What Should I Do if I'm Stuck in an Intersection and A Firetruck is Barreling Toward Me?

You're sitting in front at a stop light with traffic all around when a fire truck comes up from behind. It's trapped, and so are you.

Trapped at a red light. (Photo: Patch Archive)
Trapped at a red light. (Photo: Patch Archive)
Question from a Patch Reader:

Is legal for you roll thru a red light to make room for a responding emergency vehicle, I see a lot of folks will not get out if the way or make room for the emergency vehicle to pass.

Answer from CHP Officer Bradley Sadek:

It is not legal to roll into the intersection to make way for an emergency vehicle. The best thing to do at this point, if you can't move to the right , is to just stay put. This will allow the emergency personnel to determine the best and safest way around you.

Send your law enforcement questions to Brad.Kava@Patch.com

James Thurber December 15, 2013 at 11:19 AM
Sorry to disagree but the courts have ruled, time after time, that it is legal to violate a law in order to SAFELY deal with an emergency situation. Therefore, if it is SAFE for you to move through a red light in order to make way for an approaching emergency vehicle a court will not find you guilty - even if an officer writes you a ticket (although they'd probably be headed to the emergency situation, too). That being said, MOST drivers haven't got the slightest idea what to do and panic tends to set in. Therefore, the best ADVICE is to sit still and LET the emergency vehicle driver figure out the safest, fastest way to get through a traffic blockage / red light.
Anthony K. Girdley December 16, 2013 at 01:54 PM
Jim, I think that is why the police officer recommended that the motorist just sit there rather than move into an intersection against the light. Better safe than sorry.

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