Everyone in North Carolina understands the Move Over law. The Move Over law requires that all moving vehicles move over into the next lane when passing an emergency vehicle that is on the side of the road. It also requires that all moving vehicles move over to the right side of the road and stop to allow emergency vehicles approaching from the rear to pass.

The only exception to the law is if an emergency vehicle is stopped on the side of the road and you cannot move over, you must drop your speed a minimum of 10 miles per hour slower than the posted speed limit to ensure the safety of those on the side of the road.

If an emergency vehicle approaches you from behind while you are stopped at an intersection, stay where you are unless you can safely pull to the right.

When on a 4-lane highway or a street without barriers, both lanes of traffic should attempt to pull safely to the right.

What Is Considered An ‘Emergency Vehicle’ In North Carolina?

When asked the above question, most people would respond quite quickly with – Police, Fire and Ambulance. But according to NC Legislation/Statutes pertaining to emergency vehicles, the actual list is:

  • Law enforcement
  • Fire department
  • Public or private ambulance
  • Rescue squad emergency service vehicle
  • Vehicle operated by the Division of Marine Fisheries of the Department of Environmental Quality
  • Division of Parks and Recreation of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources
  • North Carolina Forest Service of the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services


What Are The Laws Relating To Active Service Vehicles From The Perspective Of Those Driving The Vehicle?

Emergency service vehicles include police, fire, ambulance and rescue. All of these vehicles may find it necessary to speed down the road or ignore traffic signals and signs. However, these vehicles are held to certain road rules just like regular passenger vehicles, particular when it comes to matters of public safety.

Accidents with an active ambulance – laws in NC

Local cities and counties regulate the rules that their emergency services must follow. Police may have extra room to break road laws if they are in pursuit. However, even the police must take into account the safety of other people on the road when they are operating their vehicles.

Although each city will differ a little in their rules for emergency service vehicles, they will all be very similar to the following:

– When in service, all vehicles must use their lights and sirens to warn other vehicles of their presence.
– Emergency vehicles have the ability to go through traffic lights or signs if they announce their intentions through air horn or other special noise and cross through the intersection at a slower speed and only if it is clear.
– Emergency vehicles, not including the police, may not exceed 10 miles per hour over the posted speed limit for the area. Police may be given an exception based on circumstances.
– Emergency vehicles must refrain from driving down the wrong side of a road unless it is necessary to reach the emergency.

North Carolina Law and LawyersLaws Governing Fire Trucks On Emergency Call
Additional laws and regulations may apply to different cities or counties. To find out the exact laws pertaining to the emergency vehicles in your area, contact an official within your city. The official can direct you to the right laws and regulations for your area.

If you are driver involved in an accident with an emergency services vehicle, it will be very important to speak with a car accident attorney as soon as possible after the event. Your attorney will need to establish which, if any laws were violated during the accident, and which party involved in the accident was at fault. If it is discovered that the emergency vehicles violated their rules of the road, you may be entitled to receive compensation for your losses.

Emergency vehicles are very important parts of our society. These vehicles carry people that save lives. It is always important to give emergency vehicles the right of way and Move Over as the law states.

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