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Tips for driving near maintenance or emergency vehicles

Posted by Scott Stueber on Feb 15, 2022 9:33:26 AM

Tips for driving near emergency vehiclesNo matter what time of the year you’re driving, it’s likely you’ll come upon a vehicle that’s pulled over on the shoulder or driving slowly. It could be a snowplow, tow truck, police car, or simply a stranded, broken-down car. No matter what the situation is, do you know what to do? And what about when you’re driving and hear sirens, but you don’t know which direction they’re coming from?

Here are some driving tips for you and your family.


During the winter months, snowplow drivers are busy keeping our roads in good driving condition. If it weren’t for them, there probably would be times we’d be unable to drive. If you come upon a snowplow, here are somethings to remember:

1. Keep your cool. Let’s face it, the last thing anybody wants is to get stuck behind a plow that’s shooting snow into the air and dropping salt. However, it’s best to keep your composure. Aggressively trying to get by the plow could have dangerous and even deadly consequences.

2. Don’t tailgate. When you’re driving in poor weather, tailgating is the last thing you should do. Tailgating a snowplow will do you no good. More than likely, the driver can’t see you. And your aggressive behavior isn’t going to get the plow to move out of your way. It’s more likely your car will get damaged.

3. Pass with caution. If there’s an opportunity to pass, do it cautiously. With all the equipment that’s attached to the plow, the driver’s primary focus is on what’s in front of him or her, and it’s likely the driver won’t see you. Lastly, you should never pass in a no passing zone, no matter what time of the year it is.

Tow trucks or maintenance equipment

Tow truck operators are out and about in all kinds of weather conditions. In addition, based on the situation, it’s likely they’re not just sitting on the side of the road. They may be blocking one lane as they try to winch a car out of a ditch. Here are some things you can do to help:

1. Change lanes. If you’re on a four-lane roadway and you come upon a tow truck with flashing lights, change lanes. This will give the tow truck operators more space to do their job and keep them safe.

2. Slow down. If you’re not on a four-lane road or unable to change lanes, reduce your speed significantly. If you’re in state that has “Mover Over, or Slow Down” laws, be sure you’re familiar with them. Some states recommend driving 10-20 mph below the posted speed limit in these situations.

3. Don’t drive distracted. Driving distracted is foolish and dangerous. It’s a good idea to stay distraction free especially if you’re experiencing traffic congestion or approaching emergency or maintenance vehicles.

Emergency vehicles

When you’re driving and you hear sirens, it’s important to figure out where it’s coming from and to then make appropriate decisions. Unfortunately for emergency crews, time is of the essence.

Here are some things you can do to help them out and possibly save someone’s life:

1. Cover the brake. By the number of people I see running red lights, it seems like many have forgotten a basic rule from driver’s education which is to cover the brake as you near an intersection. The same holds true for emergency vehicles. If you can hear them but can’t see them, it’s a good idea to cover your brake until you know where they are.

2. It’s best to pull over. It may seem like a good idea to turn the corner to get out of their way. However, if they follow you around the corner, that maneuver doesn’t work. It’s always best to pull over to the right side of the road and stop. If for some reason you can’t pull over and stop completely, slow down.

3. Don’t reach for your phone. If you’re passing an accident scene don’t pick up your phone. Not only can the distraction cause an accident, but it’s also simply disrespectful to the injured party.

Do you have any tips you’d like to share? I’d love to hear them; please share them in the box below.

Topics: Auto Safety, Teen Safety, Weather

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