Yielding Right of Way to Emergency Vehicles

Approaching Emergency Vehicles

The Rockingham County Department of Fire and Rescue offers the following guidelines for motorists when approached by an emergency vehicle responding to a call.


  • Pull to the nearest edge of the roadway and come to a complete stop until all emergency vehicles have passed.
  • Be alert to the approach of more than one emergency vehicle. Be sure to check your rearview mirror before pulling back on the travel lane.
  • Keep the volume of your radio to a level that will not interfere with your ability to hear approaching emergency vehicles.
  • Use your turn signal when pulling off the road. This sends a message to the emergency vehicle operator that you are aware of their presence.


  • Block any intersection - Blocking intersections, even when attempting to yield to an emergency vehicle, is dangerous.
  • Follow an emergency vehicle responding to an emergency closer than 500 feet -It's against the law.
  • Stop on a bridge, curve, or crest of a hill - Instead, activate your turn signal and proceed forward until you can safely pull over and come to a complete stop.
  • Slam on you brakes or stop directly in front of an emergency vehicle - Large trucks require more stopping distance than passenger cars. Stopping abruptly in front of any large vehicle can have deadly consequences.

Code of Virginia Section 46.2-829 (In Part)

Upon the approach of any emergency vehicle as defined in 46.2-920 giving audible signal by siren, exhaust whistle, or air horn designed to give automatically intermittent signals, and displaying a flashing, blinking, or alternating emergency light or lights as provided in 46.2-1022 through 46.2-1024, the driver of every other vehicle shall, as quickly as traffic and other highway conditions permit, drive to the nearest edge of the roadway, clear of any intersection of highways, and stop and remain there, unless directed by a law enforcement officer, until the emergency vehicle has passed.

Violation of this section shall constitute failure to yield the right of way; however, any violation of this section that involves overtaking or passing a moving emergency vehicle giving an audible signal and displaying activated warning lights as provided for in this section shall constitute reckless driving.