January 7, 2008
Motorist Duties When Approaching Highway Emergencies
CHAPTER 265, RULES OF THE ROAD, Pedestrians' Rights and Duties, Section 265:37-a Motorist Duties When Approaching Highway Emergencies. – When in or approaching an incident involving a fire, collision, disaster, or other emergency resulting in partial or complete blockage of a highway, or a location where a police officer has made a traffic stop, every driver other than the driver of an emergency response vehicle, shall:
I. Maintain a reduced speed.
II. Obey the directions of any authorized person directing traffic and of all applicable emergency signals and traffic control devices.
III. Vacate as soon as possible any lane wholly or partially blocked.
IV. Give a wide berth, without endangering oncoming traffic, to public safety personnel and any persons in the roadway.
- This statue applies to police cruisers, fire apparatus and ambulances when emergency lights are activated.
- If you cannot vacate the lane due to heavy traffic, you must maintain a reduced speed. In many other states the law requires that you reduce your speed by 20 miles-per-hour. Although it is not stated in New Hampshire law, this reduction may be used as a guide.
- Please also give the same wide berth to tow truck operators and highway maintenance crews when they are working on the roadside.