When police, fire and EMS are driving with their lights and sirens on, every second counts in reaching their destination. And for first responders to safely reach their destination, we rely on other drivers to do their part as well.

Please remember and practice: When you’re driving and hear police, fire or ambulance sirens, move as far to the right as possible and come to a complete stop (or slow down as much as possible) until the first responders have passed you. Stop before entering an intersection, no matter what color the light is, to allow the emergency vehicle to safely pass through. Many severe accidents involving emergency vehicles occur at intersections.

In addition, if an emergency vehicle is stopped on the side of the road with lights on, move over to safely pass.

It’s not just courtesy or safety, it’s the law.

Louisiana law (RS 32:125) states that upon the immediate approach of an authorized emergency vehicle using audible or visual signals, or of a police vehicle properly using an audible signal only, the driver of every other vehicle shall yield the right-of-way and shall immediately drive to a position parallel and as close as possible to the right-hand edge or curb of the highway clear of any intersection, and shall stop and remain in such position until the authorized emergency vehicle has passed. It also states that motorists on a highway must make a lane change, if possible, when any emergency vehicle with flashing lights is stopped on the shoulder. If motorists cannot switch lanes, they are to slow down.

Distracted driving is an issue as well. Drivers are less aware of approaching emergency vehicles due to texting or using a cell phone, eating or changing the radio station. Please put your phones away and just drive.