Traffic Rules for Emergency Vehicles

Emergency vehicle drivers may operate the lights or siren of their vehicle when performing their duties and as required by the circumstances. When they do, they may override some of the rules as long as it is safe to do so.

When an emergency vehicle is approaching and its lights or sound signals are on, you must yield the right of way:

  • by reducing your speed;
  • by moving as far to the right as possible;
  • by stopping your vehicle, when required.

The main emergency vehicles are:

Exemptions for Emergency Vehicle Drivers

When the lights or siren are activated, the emergency vehicle driver is not required to follow certain traffic rules.

For example, the driver is not required to comply with:

  • road signage, including traffic lights;
  • speed limits;
  • roadway markings (e.g., single or double continuous line);
  • the requirement to use turn signals to indicate an intention to turn, make a U-turn, change lanes, etc.

The driver may also perform maneuvers that are normally prohibited if they can be done safely.

For example, the driver has permission to:

  • make several successive zigzag passes;
  • pass by using the opposite lane when approaching and through an intersection;
  • pass on the right;
  • stop their vehicle on a sidewalk, on a restricted roadway (e.g., highway) or in a location where parking is a sign prohibiting parking.

Last update: November 1, 2023


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