Sirens and Lights, Move to the Right …

Here’s a situation we’ve all been in many times before:

You’re driving down the road and in your rearview mirror, you see and hear the lights and sirens of an emergency vehicle, most likely an ambulance, fire truck or police car.

What do you do?

(Your first thought probably is a sigh of relief that you’re not getting a ticket.)

We’re all taught a simple mantra: “When you see sirens and lights, move to the right.”


While I was at a meeting Thursday with several of Central Kitsap Fire and Rescue’s chiefs and officers, this topic of conversation came up. Unfortunately, they said, many drivers get confused or are troublesome when emergency vehicles are racing to a situation where seconds count.

According to CK’s Public Education Specialist Theresa MacLennan and Assistant Chief Randy Billick, moving to the right should always be the first thought. And whatever you do, don’t block the vehicle by stopping in the middle to the road.

Granted, there are tricky situations. For instance, what do you do in a roundabout? (Find out here.) What about heavy traffic?

Just move to the right, unless instructed to do otherwise, they say. You’ll be helping them to get to what could be a life-and-death situation.

Thanks to a bill passed by the 2005 State Legislature, you could be ticketed for blocking a vehcile (To read the bill, click here).

Many of us have stories about times an ambulance, cop or fire truck has entered our rearview mirror with its lights and sirens going. Feel free to share yours.

One thought on “Sirens and Lights, Move to the Right …

  1. I live near the busy intersection on SR 303: J. Carson Rd, Walmart, and McWilliams. I see this all the time during heavy traffic – an ambulance or engine company is going through light and sirens – and around 30% of the drivers seem to be completely oblivious. It’s problematic in that area, because the raised center divider channelizes traffic, and people in the left lane try to merge to get out of the way, instead of just moving right. If everyone would simply move right, it would work; unfortunately I’ve seen EVs stuck for more than 2 min by confused drivers trying to merge right and getting themselves into a jam.

    Just move right!

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