What is an emergency vehicle?
An emergency vehicle is defined as a police vehicle, ambulance or fire truck. These vehicles may have red, white or a combination of red and white lights which, when responding to an emergency, are constantly moving. (See Section 375 (41) of the Vehicle & Traffic Law.)
What should I do if I am approached by an emergency vehicle with its light and sirens going?
- When approached (from the front or rear) by an emergency vehicle whose light and siren are activated the driver of every other vehicle must yield the right of way.
- In yielding the right of way, you must drive immediately to the right hand edge or curb of the roadway, parallel to the roadway, and clear of any intersection.
- You must stop and remain stopped until the emergency vehicle or vehicles have passed, unless otherwise directed by a police officer. (See Section 1144 of the Vehicle & Traffic Law.)
How far must I park from a fire hydrant?
Unless otherwise indicated by pavement markings, parking meters or official signs, you may not park within 15 feet of a fire hydrant. You may not stop or stand within 15 feet of a fire hydrant unless a licensed driver is in the front seat so the vehicle may be immediately moved in the event of an emergency.
What do different colored flashing lights mean on personal vehicles?
These lights are only to be used in the event of an emergency operation. The people who display and use these lights must have written permission from the authorized chief officer of the organization for which they are volunteering.
|A flashing blue light indicates a volunteer fire fighter responding to an emergency call.|
|A flashing green light indicates a volunteer ambulance service member responding to an emergency call.|
|A flashing amber light, indicates a hazard vehicle engaged in a hazardous operation (i.e., snowplow, tow-truck, utility company vehicle).
NOTE: In cities with a population over 1 million, a flashing amber light may be used on the vehicle of an individual who is a member of a volunteer civil or crime patrol.
What should I do if I am approached by a personal vehicle with a colored light flashing?
These are not emergency vehicles. Their drivers must obey all traffic laws. You need not yield the right of way to these vehicles. However, if you can do so safely, you should yield the right of way to vehicles with blue or green flashing lights as a courtesy. Also, be cautious in the vicinity of a hazard vehicle.
Yes, VTL §1144-a. Operation of vehicles when approaching a parked, stopped or standing authorized emergency vehicle states:
Every operator of a motor vehicle shall exercise due care to avoid colliding with an authorized emergency vehicle which is parked, stopped or standing on the shoulder or any portion of such highway and such authorized emergency vehicle is displaying one or more red or combination red and white lights pursuant to the provisions of paragraph two of subdivision forty-one of section three hundred seventy-five of this chapter. For operators of motor vehicles on parkways or controlled access highways, such due care shall include, but not be limited to, moving from a lane which contains or is immediately adjacent to the shoulder where such authorized emergency vehicle displaying one or more red or combination red and white lights pursuant to the provisions of paragraph two of subdivision forty-one of section three hundred seventy-five of this chapter is parked, stopped or standing to another lane, provided that such movement otherwise complies with the requirements of this chapter including, but not limited to, the provisions of sections eleven hundred ten of this title and eleven hundred twenty-eight of this title.
This law took effect January 1, 2011.
What should you do if an emergency vehicle approaches you with lights flashing and siren sounding?
(The correct answer is #2.)
According to § 1144 of the Vehicle and Traffic Law:
Don't follow that fire truck!
Did you know?
- Emergency Medical Services issues are handled primarily by our partners, the NYS Department of Health and the NYS Department of State.
- The NYS Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services is responsible for fire safety in New York State. Their Office of Fire Prevention and Control has a wide variety of fire related information.
- The NYS Department of Health has a large index of available information on the EMS Main Page.