By Chad Kelly for The Island Connection
Many of us have felt that moment of panic when we saw flashing lights in our rear view mirror or heard sirens. What do I do? Do I pull over? Should I speed up? Do I stay where I am? So what do we do?
SC Code of Laws Section 56-5-2360 states: Operation of vehicles on approach of authorized emergency vehicles. (a) Upon the immediate approach of an authorized emergency vehicle making use of an audible signal meeting the requirements of Section 56-5-4970 and visual signals meeting the requirements of Section 56-5-4700, or of a police vehicle properly and lawfully making use of an audible signal or visual signal, the driver of every other vehicle traveling along a two-lane roadway 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 any intersection and shall stop and remain in that position until the authorized emergency vehicle has passed, except when otherwise directed by a police officer. A driver of a vehicle traveling along a multi lane roadway shall yield the right-of-way and shall remain in, or move to a location that allows the emergency vehicle or police vehicle to pass safely, except as otherwise directed by a police officer.
So what does this mean to you? Basically, if you are on a two lane road, such as River Rd., no matter which direction you are going pull to the side and stop until the emergency vehicle has passed. However, if you are on a multi lane road, such as Betsy Kerrison, move to the outside lane and allow the emergency vehicle to pass. Do not panic and slam on the brakes. Emergency vehicles are also watching for you but emergency vehicles cannot stop as fast as your car.
Seconds count in an emergency so always yield the right of way to emergency vehicles. As always if you have any questions or need a smoke detector installed feel free to contact the St. John’s Fire/Rescue, Fire Prevention Division.