In the past month, on two separate occasions, I’ve been travelling in front of two emergency vehicles on the interstate. On both occasions, I moved into the right hand lane and prepared to stop. The motorists directly behind me zoomed by and honked their horn as they yelled obscenities towards my direction. Those vehicles didn’t slow down, but moved to the right hand lane and let the emergency vehicle fly by them in the left lane. Was this a coincidence or are there different laws for yielding the right-of-way to emergency vehicles on the interstate?
In short, the answer is no. Here’s what Indiana Code 9-21-8-35 says about yielding the right-of-way to emergency vehicles:
1. If an emergency vehicle is approaching with lights and sirens on, you should:
- Yield the right of way.
- Immediately drive to a position parallel to and as close as possible to the right-hand edge or curb of the highway clear of any intersection.
- Stop and remain in the position until the authorized emergency vehicle has passed.
2. If an emergency vehicle is parked with lights and sirens on, you should:
- Proceed with caution; yield the right-of-way by making a lane change into a lane not adjacent to that of the authorized emergency vehicle.
- Reduce your speed to at least 10 mph below posted speed limit and pass with caution, if changing lanes would be impossible or unsafe.
The same rules apply to a stationary recovery vehicle, utility service vehicle, or a stationary road, street, or highway maintenance vehicle, when the vehicle is displaying alternately flashing amber lights
To summarize, if there’s an emergency vehicle approaching or stopped in the roadway, slow down and move over. It’s the law. If you or a loved one has been injured by a vehicle who failed to yield the right-of-way, you should contact a personal injury lawyer to discuss your options.