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What to Do When An Emergency Vehicle Hits You - A Guide
The California Driver Handbook says that drivers must let police cars, fire trucks, and ambulances go by if they have their sirens and red lights on. Most drivers know how to move over and let these vehicles pass, but sometimes accidents happen. Here, we look at what the law says about these situations and what might happen if there's a collision.
When a police car, firetruck, or ambulance has its lights and sirens going, the driver must move over to the far right lane. They can use any other lane they want, but they must give the vehicle space when possible.
A driver who gets too close to these vehicles can cause problems. For example, they might:
Distract the driver of the emergency vehicle
Make the driver of the emergency vehicle worry about their safety
Put themselves and others at risk
Here are some of the laws that govern emergency vehicles in the state of California:
The CA Vehicle Code (VC)requires drivers to change lanes when approaching a parked emergency vehicle with its lights flashing but no siren. If a driver must cross a solid double yellow line to make this move, they must drive very slowly so as not to endanger themselves or other vehicles.
If there isn't enough space to move over, drivers must slow down and proceed with caution, just like they would if they were approaching a vehicle with its lights flashing.
Note that if a lane is too narrow for a driver to move over without driving onto the shoulder, the driver can stay in their original lane.
California Vehicle Code(CVC) 21806 is another law designed to keep emergency vehicles as safe as possible. It states that drivers should pull over to the right when they hear or see any of these vehicles with their lights and sirens on:
Emergency medical technicians
Fire trucks and other fire vehicles
Any public safety vehicle
The driving rules say that if the driver doesn't have to cross many lanes of traffic, they should pull over to the right. If there isn't room, they should find a safe spot to stop.
Like the "Move Over" law, CVC 21806 says that if a driver must cross a solid double yellow line to move over, they must do so very slowly and at a reduced speed. If a driver crosses a solid double yellow line, the California Highway Patrol(CHP) may ticket them for an unsafe lane change.
The California Vehicle Code (CVC) requires drivers to pull over to the right and slow down when they see a fire truck, ambulance, or other emergency vehicles with its lights and siren on. Here are the consequences that await drivers who blatantly break this law:
If a police officer pulls a driver over for violating section 21806, they may face a citation. If they're pulled over, they can:
Pay the fine
Go to traffic school
Take traffic school to get their fine waived
A driver who goes to traffic school and completes it will be issued a certificate of completion. They can give this certificate to the court and get their fine waived.
A driver who doesn't complete traffic school will be issued a citation. The police officer will also tell them to appear in court. This is a mandatory court date.
Just like drivers must slow down when they see an emergency vehicle with its lights and siren on, they must also do this when they pass it on a local road, unless otherwise posted.
Emergency sirens are designed to warn drivers that a police officer is near, but law enforcement officers aren't allowed to use them unless they think that lives are in danger.
If an emergency vehicle hits your car, you might have a case against the driver of the emergency vehicle. If this happens, you should call or visit a car accident lawyer in your area.
If you can't do that, try to take the following steps:
If you're in pain or have injuries, try to see a doctor as soon as possible. This will help you to better understand your legal situation. If your injuries are serious, you should make sure not to leave the scene of an accident before calling for help.
If there are witnesses around, ask them for the license plate number of the emergency vehicle. If the vehicle has any visible damage, take pictures of it.
If you can, pull over and stop when you've been hit by an emergency vehicle. This will protect you from any other drivers who aren't paying attention. If you can't do this, try to park in a safe place.
Write down the day, time, and location of the accident. Make sure to include the time that each driver was driving, and if there are any witnesses to the accident, write down everything they can tell you. If there are any witnesses to the aftermath of the accident, ask them to sign their names and spell them so that they can be included in the case.
If you have suffered injuries in an accident, you may benefit from consulting with a personal injury lawyer. A lawyer can help you to better understand your rights and legal options.
When emergency vehicles are involved in car accidents, they are often the ones who get sued in court. However, this isn't always the case. Sometimes, a driver who is driving another vehicle can be at fault. If you or someone you love has been hurt by an emergency vehicle, you should contact a personal injury lawyer right away.
Contact the top accident lawyers in Los Angeles in Mendez and Sanchez Law. Our attorneys and team members are here to help you through the difficult legal landscape as we pursue the compensation you deserve. Please contact us for your Personal Injury, Auto Accident, Workers' Compensation, Slip and Fall, or other legal needs today!
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