Move over – it’s the law

The Glengarry News - Glengarry Supplement - - News -

In re­cent years, both the On­tario and Québec gov­ern­ments have cracked down on mo­torists who en­dan­ger emer­gency re­sponse per­son­nel while they are on the scene of an ac­ci­dent.

The On­tario Min­istry of Transportation notes that there are cer­tain steps you need to take when an emer­gency ve­hi­cle is ap­proach­ing in ei­ther di­rec­tion. Find out what you need to do on dif­fer­ent kinds of roads.

When you see an emer­gency ve­hi­cle ap­proach­ing from the rear, on a multi-lane high­way, slow down, sig­nal and move to the right if pos­si­ble, pull as close as you can to the right side of the road­way and stop when safe to do so. Don't move onto the shoul­der.

On a two-lane road, sig­nal and move to the right; pull as close as pos­si­ble to the right edge of the road, clear of any in­ter­sec­tion, and stop.

In an in­ter­sec­tion, traf­fic in all di­rec­tions must yield to emer­gency ve­hi­cles. Don't block the in­ter­sec­tion if an emer­gency ve­hi­cle is ap­proach­ing from be­hind you. Don't make a left turn; pro­ceed straight through the in­ter­sec­tion, then pull to the right and stop.

Ap­proach­ing a stopped emer­gency ve­hi­cle

Slow down, move over. If you see an emer­gency ve­hi­cle or a tow truck with its am­ber lights flashing, stopped or fac­ing the same di­rec­tion you are go­ing, slow down and pass with cau­tion.

If the road has two or more lanes, you must leave a lane of space be­tween you and the emer­gency ve­hi­cle, if you can do so safely.

Stay alert. Avoid dis­trac­tions. Keep the noise level down in your ve­hi­cle.

Use your sig­nals to alert other driv­ers you in­tend to pull over.

Check your rear-view mir­rors, and look in front and on both sides of your ve­hi­cle.

Don't drive on or block the shoul­der on free­ways.

When the emer­gency ve­hi­cle has passed, check to make sure the way is clear and sig­nal be­fore merg­ing back into traf­fic.

It's il­le­gal to fol­low a fire ve­hi­cle or am­bu­lance re­spond­ing to a call, within 150 me­tres.

Penal­ties

Driv­ers can be charged if they don't slow down, or move over when safe to do so, near emer­gency ve­hi­cles or tow trucks that are stopped with sirens or lights flashing.

First of­fence: $400 to $2,000, and three de­merit points upon con­vic­tion, pos­si­ble sus­pen­sion of driver's li­cence for up to two years.

Sub­se­quent of­fences (within five years): $1,000 to $4,000, three de­merit points upon con­vic­tion, pos­si­ble jail time (up to six months), pos­si­ble sus­pen­sion of driver's li­cence for up to two years.

STEER CLEAR: When you see a po­lice cruiser, am­bu­lance, fire­fight­ers or a tow truck on the scene of an ac­ci­dent, slow down and move over, if it is safe to do so.

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