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When your teen gets behind the wheel, there are plenty of traffic laws, unwritten rules and best practices to follow, but one of the most important is safely getting out of the way of emergency vehicles.
Emergency vehicles using lights and sirens – whether it’s an ambulance, fire truck or police vehicle – always have the right of way and may appear unexpectedly. This is why parents have to teach their teens from day one to respect and make room for these vehicles anytime they share the road with them. The lesson can be as simple as: If an emergency vehicle approaches you with lights and sirens on, slow down and pull to the right side of the road until the vehicle passes.
Though this situation can be difficult to practice (you don’t want to have your teen suddenly pull over and stop if it is not an emergency) you can quiz your teen while out driving about where they could safely pull over on different roadways. This could help them react quickly in a real situation.
Though the rule is clear, your teen may still have questions. To help them in such a situation, explain that they should:
Your state laws may vary somewhat – some states recognize tow trucks and utility vehicles with flashing lights as emergency vehicles, for example – but the main takeaway for your teen is, when in doubt, slow down and pull over. This way, the emergency vehicles can safely use the road free of hazards.
DriveitHOME™ is an initiative of the National Safety Council, designed by and for parents of newly licensed teen drivers. DriveitHOME™ offers free resources parents can use to help their teen build experience to become safer drivers.
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