Remember to yield to emergency vehicles

Posted 5/14/19

“To the left” was made popular by the singer Beyoncé as a phrase in her hit song “Irreplaceable.” I will leave music commentary to others, but I did think that this song would be a great …

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Remember to yield to emergency vehicles


“To the left” was made popular by the singer Beyoncé as a phrase in her hit song “Irreplaceable.” I will leave music commentary to others, but I did think that this song would be a great reminder that while “to the left” is an option for failed relationships, that the phrase “to the right” is an option from proper driving etiquette.

When faced with an emergency vehicle rapidly approaching your motor vehicle from behind, please if possible move safely to the right to provide emergency medical, law enforcement, fire or rescue services ample room for safe navigation to be able to provide help to another citizen, resident or visitor within Bradley County.

Last week in neighboring Hamilton County I not only saw a citizen ignore emergency lights and sirens, but when they approached an active fire suppression scene, instead of stopping and awaiting directions to bypass the scene they drove over a fire hose. This caused an interruption to the fire suppression ability of their fire department and subsequent extra damage to the home as they had to wait for a replacement fire hose to be brought to the scene.

Please understand that nobody wants to inconvenience anybody else, but if you were to approach an active emergency scene, wait until proper instructions are given to safely bypass the workers and protect you, your family and your motor vehicle in the process.

Many times I have witnessed, and I have been given reports of, individuals who evidently get scared and just stop with an emergency vehicle trying to negotiate traffic in their quest to provide emergency care or professional services to someone across Bradley County. Their indecision causes unnecessary delays in emergency vehicle traffic as they are trying to get to the scene to help someone else.

Please, if you see an approaching emergency vehicle in your rearview mirrors, move as far to the right as possible to allow them safe passage through traffic.

Tennessee’s Move Over Law (TCA 55-8-132) states that when approaching a stopped emergency vehicle with visual emergency lights activated, drivers are required to yield the right-of-way to the vehicle by moving into the closest available lane from the emergency vehicle, whenever possible.

When the roadway does not provide an additional lane, drivers are required to slow down and provide as much space as possible to protect emergency vehicle operators in action. This may be the only time that you are to possibly move to the left around emergency vehicles.

You may have noticed that in addition to “lights and sirens,” a new addition that has also been installed in Bradley County’s newest emergency vehicles included the device that actually causes a pulse or vibration effect to be felt by nearby vehicle traffic. This addition has been made to help offset the increased volume that some people enjoy while inside their vehicle and also the increased insulation that has helped make some of today’s vehicles almost soundproof to outside noises.

This additional effect has proven very helpful in today’s increased traffic within Bradley County and in fact the nation as a whole.

As school is coming to a close for the year and more cars are on the roadway, may we all pay close attention to where we are guiding our one-, two-, three- and possibly four-ton personal modes of transportation across Bradley County roadways.

Put down the phone, take out the ear buds, keep both hands on the steering wheel and do your best to arrive safely to each desired destination. And, if we encounter the presence of emergency vehicle traffic, may we all remember the correct way to give this an expedited route to their emergency. The life that they are trying to save just might be a family member, friend or you.

In doing so, we will all continue to keep Bradley County as Tennessee at its best!


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