Question: When on a freeway, and an emergency vehicle is approaching from the rear, but not the same lane, is it the law to pull over and stop? Stopping on the freeway can be very dangerous.
Answer: Minnesota state laws says that upon the immediate approach of an authorized emergency vehicle, the driver 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 highway clear of any intersection, and shall stop and remain in this position until the authorized emergency vehicle has passed. If on a one-way roadway, the driver shall drive to the closest edge or curb and stop.
Every situation varies when emergency vehicles are responding to an incident and how much room there is to yield and move over and is there enough time for this to be done in a safe manner.
I my experience in responding to emergencies, I had seen drivers that had not seen or heard me behind them and this had created a very dangerous situation. Some drivers noticed my presence too late and apply the brakes very hard at freeway speed. Other dangerous situations that I see are lane change as I am about to pass them on the left.
I talk about driving with 100 percent of your attention on the task of driving. By eliminating distractions, you will be able to see and hear an approaching emergency vehicle and other potential dangerous situations that you may encounter.
If you find yourself with an emergency vehicle approaching you very quickly, safely slow down and move over as soon as you are able to and yield to them. Also, watch out for the vehicles in front of you in the event that they brake abruptly.
Law enforcement understands that there are some situations where motorists are not able to come to a complete stop, like on a freeway, so officer discretion will come into play.
Send your questions concerning traffic related laws or issues in Minnesota to firstname.lastname@example.org or Sgt. Neil Dickenson - Minnesota State Patrol at 1131 Mesaba Ave., Duluth, MN 55811.