Emergency Vehicles: Sharing the Road With Them

According to the Association for Safe International Road Travel, more than 38,000 people die every year in accidents on US roads. The majority of such accidents are avoidable and due to drivers’ errors. As such, it’s essential to obey applicable road safety rules to avoid falling victim to such mishaps. Adhering to traffic rules also ensures that your personal injury attorney can secure maximum compensation for you in an accident.

Standard traffic safety rules include obeying traffic signs, remaining within speed limits, maintaining the proper distance between automobiles, etc. However, some of the rules may change depending on the kind of vehicle you’re sharing the road with.

For example, different regulations apply when you’re on the road with an emergency vehicle compared to regular cars. Emergency vehicles include police cars, ambulances, fire vehicles, and tow trucks. We’ll discuss all you need to know about sharing the road with such vehicles.

What to Do When Approaching Emergency Vehicles

Emergency vehicles are so-called because first responders use them to respond to urgent situations. For example, a hospital ambulance may be transporting someone with life-threatening injuries. As such, they’ll need to get to the hospital as quickly as possible. That’s why sharing the road with emergency vehicles is different—you must help them get to their destination in time.

These are essential rules and regulations governing emergency vehicles in Georgia:

  • Laws for Emergency Vehicle Drivers

Generally, automobile vehicles are only emergency vehicles when they’re in an emergency. That is when they’re blaring their sirens and flashing their lights. Otherwise, they’re just ordinary vehicles and will be subject to the same traffic rules as other cars on the road.

However, when they’re in an emergency, they’re allowed to break specific traffic rules so long as it’s safe. So, for example, they can run a red light and drive beyond speed limits, drive in the wrong lane, etc. They must, however, do those with due regard for the safety of other motorists.

  • The Move Over Law

The Move Over Law applies when approaching a stopped emergency vehicle with flashing lights. The law mandates you to move into the adjacent traffic lane (or move over one lane) away from the emergency vehicle. However, you must only do so if traffic conditions allow for it.

If you can’t safely move over one lane, you must slow down below the speed limit. The law mandates you to stay at that speed until you safely pass the emergency vehicle. This is to avoid endangering the lives of first responders.

  • Yielding the Right of Way

This law applies when an emergency vehicle is coming toward you from the opposite direction. In such instances, you must yield the right-of-way and move to the far right of the road. You must remain there till the emergency vehicle has safely passed you. It’s the same rule for when the emergency vehicle is behind you.

Who Is Liable for an Accident Involving an Emergency Vehicle in Georgia?

Typically, when motorists who disobey traffic rules get in an accident, they are liable for their injuries. So, you may be liable in an emergency vehicle crash if you fail to obey a traffic law or two.

However, remember that emergency vehicles can disregard traffic rules depending on the situation. This can make it challenging to determine liability in collisions involving emergency vehicles.

Still, an emergency vehicle’s right to break safety rules isn’t unlimited. They must only do so under safe traffic conditions with due regard for other motorists. But, again, they may only do this if they have their emergency lights and sirens on. So, emergency vehicles are liable in situations where they didn’t do a risk assessment before running a red light, etc.

Sovereign immunity is one factor to consider when an emergency vehicle causes your accident. You cannot sue government agencies under that rule, but some exceptions exist. You must work with your auto crash attorney to determine if your case falls under the exceptions.

Get Help From an Experienced Atlanta Car Crash Attorney Immediately!

Traffic accidents typically always lead to devastating consequences. But, if you’ve suffered an injury in a road collision that wasn’t your fault, you can recover compensation for your injuries. Our personal injury lawyers would make sure of that.

Our Atlanta car accident attorneys at Bethune Law Firm have extensive experience in auto crash cases. As the most reliable personal injury law firm in Atlanta, you can trust us to meet all your legal needs. Our top-notch legal services ensure a smooth and stress-free process that you’ll be proud of. Contact us today for a free consultation, and let’s get started on your case.