You’re headed home from work and out of nowhere, ambulance sirens flood through your open car window. What do you do next?

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 4,500 ambulances are involved in accidents each year, resulting in 30 unnecessary deaths.

As a driver, knowing what to do if you see or hear the sirens of an ambulance, fire truck or any other first responder is imperative for the safety of the first responder crew, potential patients onboard the first responder vehicle, and other vehicles on the road.

If you see or hear sirens, begin to act

If a siren is approaching from behind, slow down and survey your scene. The goal is to get to the right side of the road, but make sure there aren’t any pedestrians, bicyclists or other vehicles there first.

If the path is clear, turn on your right turn signal to show other drivers you will be moving your vehicle to the right side of the road. From there, slowly and carefully make your way to the right side of the road–first responders will almost always be passing on the left. Come to a complete stop on the right side of the road.

Remain at a standstill until the emergency vehicle has passed you by and the sirens are no longer audible. It also never hurts to wait for just a moment either. In an emergency situation, there may or may not be more than one first responder vehicle coming through traffic.

Once the coast is clear, use your left turn signal to signal getting back into traffic. Make sure you’ve checked your mirrors and looked over your shoulder to ensure there is a definite clear path to do this. If traffic is clear, safely merge your vehicle back into your lane.

If you or someone you love has been injured in any sort of traffic accident, we are always here to help with legal counsel.