Published on March 8, 2022

Emergency Vehicles and Rules of the Road

You see the flashing lights of an emergency response vehicle, but do you know what to do? The flashing lights are your first warning that there is a problem ahead. 

Know the Rules of the Road 

As you approach any emergency scene, remember:

  • Use caution and slow down. Slow down to 60 km/h (or less, if the speed limit is lower) and drive with increased caution as you pass emergency vehicles that are alongside the road with their lights flashing.
  • Be aware that the vehicles ahead of you may stop suddenly. 
  • Obey directions of the emergency workers.
  • Avoid watching the emergency scene, keep focused on driving. 
  • Always leave plenty of space between your vehicle and the other people/equipment parked or being operated at the emergency location.
  • Look at least 15 to 20 seconds ahead and check the mirrors every five to eight seconds. These best practices will help you to be more aware of emergency vehicles. 

Did You Know
An emergency vehicle with its siren on always has the right of way over other vehicles. You must not follow within 150 metres of any emergency vehicle that has its siren or lights operating.

Take Note - Intersection Safety

Accidents often occur at intersections. This can create very confusing scenes, especially soon after emergency crews arrive.

Here are some tips on how to navigate these areas:

  • Be patient, sometimes entire intersections must be closed for emergency crews to safely work. As such, you may be redirected. 
  • Remember, everyone who is involved in the accident may not be immediately visible. Please slow down and pay attention to workers and bystanders.
  • Do not drive between pylons, unless directed to do so by emergency workers.
  • Avoid debris or fire hoses that may be present on the road.
  • Drive with care - the conditions that caused the first accident could cause a second.  

Think Ahead

Stay up to date on road information and potential traffic delays by visiting 511 Alberta.


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Last edited: March 8, 2022