Yielding to Emergency Vehicles

City of Calgary

For everyone’s safety, it is important for motorists to understand how to correctly yield right of way to emergency vehicles with lights and siren active. You can help EMS, police, and fire get to the scene quickly and safely by following these rules of the road.

When An Emergency Vehicle Approaches with Lights and Siren Activated:

  • If you’re in the middle of an intersection when an emergency vehicle approaches with lights and siren activated, safely clear the intersection.
  • On a one- or two-lane road, motorists should move to the right side of the road, slow down, and then stop, remaining parallel with the road. Remember to signal.
  • Move right or left to the nearest curb on 1-way streets.
  • On a road with three or more lanes, motorists should move to the nearest side of the road and stop. If driving in the centre lane, move to the right side of the road and stop. Remember to signal.
  • Come to a complete stop and wait for the emergency vehicle to pass. Shoulder check for more emergency vehicles before re-entering traffic flow. Remember to signal.
  • Emergency vehicles might use any available road space to maneuver. This could include shoulders or turning lanes, etc., in order to pass other traffic.

When Operating a Vehicle:

  • Motorists must reduce speed to 60 km/h or the posted speed, whichever is lower, when passing emergency vehicles or tow trucks that are stopped with their lights flashing. This law applies to the lane(s) immediately next to the stopped vehicles. If you’re not in the lane next to the stopped vehicles, it is recommended to reduce speed and leave lots of space between yourself and emergency personnel.
  • Do not break the rules of the road in order to give right of way to an emergency vehicle. This could include proceeding through a red light or making an illegal turn. Actions such as these jeopardize all motorists in the area.
  • Drivers must place their full attention on the roadway and toward the safe operation of their vehicle at all times. The fine for distracted driving in Alberta is $300 and three demerit points.
  • Do not drive within 150 meters of an emergency vehicle with its siren and/or flashing lights on. For reference, 150m is nearly 1.5 times the length of a football field.