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What do I do when an emergency vehicle approaches?

MCL 257.653 states in part:

(1) Upon the immediate approach of an authorized emergency vehicle equipped with not less than 1 lighted flashing, rotating, or oscillating lamp exhibiting a red or blue light visible under normal atmospheric condition from a distance of 500 feet to the front of the vehicle and when the driver is giving audible signal by siren, exhaust whistle, or bell:

(a) The driver of another vehicle shall yield the right of way and shall immediately drive to a position parallel to and as close as possible to the right-hand edge or curb of the roadway, clear of an intersection, and shall stop and remain in that position until the authorized emergency vehicle has passed, except when otherwise directed by a police officer.

This applies whether the emergency vehicle is approaching from the front or rear.

What to do?

  • Pull to the far right side of the roadway if possible.
  • If you have already stopped, stay put.
  • After the emergency vehicle has passed you by more than 500 feet, re-enter the travel lane with caution.
  • Keep intersections clear, you never know which way the emergency vehicle will have to go.
  • Do not try to follow an emergency vehicle.
  • If one emergency vehicle passes you, there may be more close by.
  • If you come upon an intersection blocked by the police or other emergency services, be especially on the look-out for emergency vehicles entering the area.


Follow the directions of any Police Officer, Firefighter or other emergency personnel on scene.

What is an emergency vehicle?

  • MCL 257.2 defines an authorized emergency vehicle as:
  • A fire department vehicle.
  • A police vehicle.
  • An ambulance.
  • Private vehicles driven by fire fighters and ambulance personnel on the way to or on scene of an emergency situation.