Community Safety, Featured, News


In light of a number of instances noted by first responders, the Timmins Police
Service is issuing a Traffic Advisory in regards to the proper procedures for motorists to follow
when approaching or being overtaken by an emergency vehicle with its emergency lights in use.
When an emergency vehicle is approaching your vehicle from any direction with its flashing red
or red and blue lights, or siren or bell sounding, motorists are required to bring their vehicle to
an immediate stop.
When bringing your vehicle to a stop, the motorist is required to bring their vehicle as near as is
practical to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway.
It is recommended that extreme caution by used when stopping any vehicle because other
drivers may not yet be aware of or are in the midst of reacting to the approaching emergency
Always look to the front, both sides and toward the rear of your vehicle, signal your intention to
pull over well in advance and begin to adjust your vehicle’s speed to merge with any traffic to
the side of the roadway. Once you have moved your vehicle to the side, brake gradually as
required and bring your vehicle to a safe stop. Avoid any sudden changes in direction or
excessive braking and be aware that any vehicle may be approaching you from behind at a
significant rate of speed.
If you are in an intersection and preparing to make a turn when an emergency vehicle is
approaching, you should abandon the turn and clear the intersection by proceeding straight
when safe to do so, then pull to the right and stop. This will clear the intersection and minimize
the possibility of a collision with the emergency vehicle should it be passing you on the side you
intended to turn towards.
When any emergency vehicle has passed your location, check to make sure the way is clear
and signal before merging back into traffic. Remain vigilant for additional emergency vehicles,
and remember it is illegal to follow within 150 metres of a fire vehicle responding to an alarm.
Please be mindful that volunteer firefighters and volunteer medical responders may display a
flashing green light when using their personal vehicles to respond to a fire or medical
These persons are deemed to be first responders so please yield the right-of-way to help them
respond to an emergency call quickly and safely.
Police or other enforcement officers may require you to pull over and bring your vehicle to an
immediate stop. Typically, the officer may signal this requirement by driving their vehicle with its
emergency lights flashing and/or siren on behind your vehicle or by using hand direction from
the side of the road.
It is further recommended that motorists stay alert when having met or having been overtaken
by an emergency services vehicle as quite often, a second or third emergency vehicle is likely
not too far off and joining the same response.
It is best to adopt the point of view that, when approached by an emergency vehicle with its
lights or siren on, be prepared to clear the way.
React quickly but calmly. Don’t slam on the brakes or pull over suddenly. Use your signals to
alert other drivers you intend to pull over.
Check your rearview mirrors. Look in front and on both sides of your vehicle. Allow other
vehicles to also pull over. Pull to the right and gradually come to a stop.
Wait for the emergency vehicle to pass and watch for other emergency vehicles that may be
responding to the same call. Check to make sure the way is clear and signal before merging
back into traffic.
When approaching any emergency vehicle that is stopped with its red, or red and blue, lights
flashing or a tow truck with its amber lights flashing in the same direction of your travel, you are
required to reduce the speed of your vehicle and proceed with caution.
When reducing your speed, you are required to assess the speed of the surrounding traffic and
the condition of the roadway (such as fog, rain, snow). To ensure safety, brake early and
gradually to allow surrounding traffic to better adjust to a reduced speed and to ensure you have
full control of your vehicle when braking.
Tips to remember
1) Stay alert. Avoid distractions. Keep the noise level down in your vehicle.
2) Remain calm, and do not make sudden lane changes or brake excessively.
3) Before changing direction or speed, consider road conditions, check surrounding traffic,
use your mirrors, look to blind spots, and signal and brake early.
4) Keep roadway shoulders, intersections and highway ramps clear for emergency-vehicle
5) If your vehicle is being pulled over, in this instance, bring it to a safe stop on the shoulder
of the roadway, away from traffic, following any directions from the officer.
At no time is failing to respond to an emergency vehicle an acceptable driving practice.
Take emergency flashing lights and sirens seriously. Proceed with caution, clear the way and
bring your vehicle to a stop, where required.
It’s the law. If you don’t stop, you can be fined and get three demerit points for a first offence.
Additional offences can incur increased fines and the potential for jail terms up to six months.
The ability of first responders to attend an emergency scene safely and efficiently is a
responsibility shared by all motorists. Stay alert at all times.