skip navigationNH Web Site
State of New Hampshire State Police
Missing Persons | Wanted Persons | Criminal Offenders | Troop Stations | Searchclear

Traffic Safety Reminder

March 25, 2010

Yielding to Emergency Vehicles

Emergency vehicles, including police, fire and ambulances, respond to calls throughout the state every day.  While some calls are ordinary, others include life-threatening situations. While responding to calls, emergency vehicles often use emergency lights and sirens. Lights and sirens are used to notify other vehicles as well as pedestrians of the oncoming emergency vehicle. Notifying other vehicles and pedestrians allows for vehicles to pull over and for pedestrians to be aware of the need to yield.

When emergency vehicles respond to calls, they often respond at a higher speed than the posted speed limit. Driving in normal everyday situations can be dangerous. Responding to emergency calls at high speeds in traffic can be even more dangerous. For this reason, all states require traffic to yield to emergency vehicles. New Hampshire law states that upon the approach of an emergency vehicle, the driver of a vehicle shall immediately pull to the right as far as possible and come to a stop until the emergency vehicle has passed.   

Yielding to emergency vehicles also allows for a quicker response by the police, fire or ambulance.

Remember these points:

  • If you are driving and see an approaching emergency vehicle, pull over to the side of the road as quickly, but as safely, as possible.
  • Use you your turn signal,  slow down and pull as far right as possible.
  • When the emergency vehicle passes, put your left turn signal on and pull back into traffic. Don’t rush to pull back into traffic. It is better to be safe than to keep your place in the flow of traffic.
  • When yielding to emergency vehicles, do not pull over and keep your speed at or near the speed limit.   This causes the emergency vehicle to take longer to pass you.   Also, breakdown lanes or the non-traveled portion of the road are usually strewn with rocks, dust and debris; the faster a vehicle goes, the more dust and debris gets kicked up leading to poor visibility and possible damage.  
  • If an emergency vehicle approaches on a curve or hill,  do not stop in the curve or hill. At a normal speed, get beyond this area to a flat or straight stretch of the road.



New Hampshire Department of Safety | 33 Hazen Drive | Concord, NH 03305
TDD Access: Relay NH 1-800-735-2964
transparent graphic
nh | Privacy Policy | Accessibility Policy