Public Education

Seconds Can Save a Life

Minutes can seem like an eternity to those waiting for help. Every day, police, fire and ambulance vehicles respond to urgent calls. Precious time lost in getting to the fire scene could mean the difference between life and death.

The biggest problem for emergency vehicles trying to reach the scene of an emergency is motorists who don’t make way, especially during peak traffic times.


It’s the law for any driver who sees and hears an emergency vehicle approaching from either direction to get out of the way.

What to do...

On a multi-lane highway (max. 100 km/h speed limit)

Slow down, signal and move to the right. If possible, pull as close as you can to the right side of the roadway and stop when safe to do so. Look for other vehicles that also may have to move across lanes of traffic to yield the right of way. Do not move onto the shoulder.

On a two-lane road

Signal and move to the right. Pull as close as possible to the right edge of the road and stay clear of any intersection.

On a one-way street

Signal and pull to the right or the left side of the street. Stay clear of any intersections, and stop.

At intersections

Traffic in an intersection or approaching from all directions must yield to an emergency vehicle until it passes through the intersection. Never block the intersection. Do not make a left turn if an emergency vehicle is approaching from behind. In this situation, the motorist should proceed straight through the intersection, then pull to the right and stop.


  1. Stay alert. Avoid being distracted. Keep the noise level down in your vehicle. This will help you to hear or see an approaching emergency vehicle with the lights or siren on. And, when you do, prepare to clear the way.
  2. React quickly. Don’t slam on the brakes or pull over suddenly. Use your signals to alert other drivers that you intend to pull over.
  3. Check your rear view mirrors. Look in front and on both sides of you vehicle. Allow other vehicles to also pull over. Pull to the right and gradually come to a stop.
  4. Wait for the emergency vehicle to pass and watch for more than one emergency vehicle. Check to make sure the way is clear. Signal before merging back into traffic.
  5. Don’t drive on, or block, the shoulder on freeways. Emergency vehicles will use the shoulder of the road if all lanes are blocked.
  6. Never follow or try to outrun an emergency vehicle. It is illegal to follow a fire vehicle or ambulance responding to a call, within 150 metres in any lane going in the same direction.

Take lights and sirens seriously. Clear the way! Pull to the right and stop. It’s the law.