woman seeing emergency vehicles behind her while driving

Many drivers feel a sense of anxiety when an emergency vehicle is approaching or stopped on the side of the road while driving. Meanwhile, emergency personnel also fear distracted drivers who do not recognize an emergency up ahead and cause another accident, potentially harming first-responders and other victims.

The best way to ensure safety for all is for drivers to be aware of the rules of the road regarding emergency vehicles. It is also important to know that if you or a loved one have recently been in a car accident, please call an experience South Kingstown RI car accident lawyer today.

What to do When an Emergency Vehicle is Passing you?

emergency vehicle speeding down a road

Many people struggle with not knowing what to do when seeing flashing lights and hearing sirens coming from behind them. Luckily, in Rhode Island, the law is clear. You must pull over to the right side of the roadway if you see an emergency vehicle that is:

  • Within 500 feet from your vehicle;
  • Has at least one light flashing that is red, white or blue; AND
  • The vehicle has some type of emergency sound like a siren or bells

It’s important to pull over to the side of the road in order completely clear the intersection, so the emergency vehicle can safely pass. The only exception to this rule is when a police officer directs you to move your car elsewhere or to comply with the regular duty of driving with due regard for the safety of all persons using the roadway.

What to do When an Emergency Vehicle is stopped on the Side of the Road?

Police Car idled on the side of the road

How your respond to an emergency vehicle idled on the side of the road depends on the type of roadway it is. If the road has at least two lanes going in the same direction, like a highway, then a driver must move the vehicle into a lane that is not the lane nearest to the emergency vehicle. If the road has only one lane going in the same direction, then a driver must slow the vehicle, maintain a safe speed for traffic conditions, and operate the vehicle at that reduced speed until completely passed the emergency vehicle.

Contact an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer Today!

We have the experience and resources to handle your case and get you the compensation you deserve. Our staff utilizes a team-work approach to obtain your medical records, investigate your claim, and track your progress. We have been focusing on personal injury and disability cases for over 20 years and know how to deal with the insurance company.

South Kingstown RI car accident lawyerWe offer a free (no obligation) consultation and charge no fee unless we get you a settlement or award. Our experienced South Kingstown RI car accident lawyers can get you the best settlement possible. Call us 24/7 at 1-800-992-6878 or fill out an online contact form for a free evaluation of your case.


  1. http://webserver.rilin.state.ri.us/Statutes/TITLE31/INDEX.HTM
Author Photo

Paul d’Oliveira

Attorney Paul d’Oliveira has been practicing personal injury and disability law for over 30 years. He started his personal injury law practice in 1989 with two offices in Fall River, MA and East Providence, RI. Today his firm has 16 offices in RI and Southeastern, MA.

Rate this Post

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars