Oklahoma's Own In Focus: Experts Talk About Moving Over For Emergency Vehicles After Fire Truck Crash

Drivers ed teachers and officers say what’s most important is that you pay attention to what’s going on around you and pull over as soon as you can when you hear those sirens because you don’t know where they’re headed.

Tuesday, February 27th 2024, 9:38 pm



State law requires drivers to pull to the right and stop when they see a police car, fire truck, or ambulance with lights and sirens on.

Those who drive these emergency vehicles will tell you that drivers often don’t know what to do, so they slam on their brakes, pull to the left, or just keep driving.

Drivers ed teachers and officers say what’s most important is that you pay attention to what’s going on around you and pull over as soon as you can when you hear those sirens because you don’t know where they’re headed.

Tulsa Police say deadly crashes like the one that happened near 41st between Harvard and Yale are a sad reminder of how dangerous driving can be and why it’s so important to pull over when an emergency vehicle comes up beside you.

Related: 2 Killed, Pregnant Woman Loses Baby In Multi-Crash Involving Tulsa Fire Truck

"It's an atypical situation,” said Captain Richard Meulenberg with Tulsa Police. “People will panic. They don't always pull over to the side. If you ever watch an emergency vehicle try and go down the road, people just go every which direction for some reason."

Beau Wikoff is a drivers’ education instructor for Safer Driving School in Owasso and says when you hear the lights and sirens, it’s important to react immediately but also calmly.

"When you can't safely move to the right, you just want to stop,” said Wikoff. “That's going to show the emergency responders that you recognized the sirens, you heard them, and you're reacting accordingly to them."

He says it’s written in state statutes that you have to slow down and pull over to the right- every time.

"As a motorist on the road in Oklahoma, you're required to move to the right as far as possible and stop,” said Wikoff. “And then you wait for that emergency vehicle to pass. On the same lines, you also want to be aware of, 'Hey, am I hearing more sirens?'"

Police say it’s very common for people to panic and not know what to do, but that puts everyone in danger.

"It's these moments that represent a stark reminder that we're fragile,” said Meulenberg. “We feel pretty safe in our little metal cage, but it's really not that safe."

They also say it’s much harder for a fire truck to stop its momentum than it is for a car, so it’s important not to make sudden turns right in front of them.

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