Move over – it’s the law
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.
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.