Here's when you don't have to yield to emergency vehicles

Trooper Steve Montiero answers viewer questions

ORLANDO, Fla. – News 6 Traffic Safety Expert Trooper Steve Montiero answers viewer questions every week about the rules of the road, helping Orlando-area residents become better drivers by being better educated.

Don, of DeLand, asked Trooper Steve if motorists are required by law to slow down for an emergency vehicle that's heading in the opposite direction. 

"Since the day you passed your driver's license exam, one of the biggest rules engraved in your brain was to slow down if you see red or blue lights flashing," Montiero said. "But that's not the case in every instance."

Montiero explained the situations in detail.

"Imagine you’re traveling southbound on the Florida Turnpike," he said. "As you're cruising, you see an emergency vehicle traveling northbound on the opposite side of the road with no physical way it could interfere with your driving. What do you do? Nothing, is the answer."

He said slowing down in that situation could be dangerous.

"Yes, you want to be aware of the situation, but slowing down or moving suddenly could cause a unnecessary crash," he said.

Every scenario is different, though.

"If you were traveling down a local four-lane road with an open median consisting of a continuous turn lane, you would want to use some extra care," Montiero said. "You’re not 100 percent sure where this emergency vehicle is going, so slowing your speed a little bit and paying attention to it would be called for."

Montiero, who spent more than 10 years in emergency vehicles, said drivers often panic at the sight of emergency lights.

"Always use extreme caution when you see red or blue lights coming," he said. "Remember, my answers come from experience, Florida statutes and what I feel to be the safest, most commonsense instructions."

If you have a question about the rules of the roads, email Montiero at asktroopersteve@wkmg.com.

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