Written by attorney Shane Lee Jimison

Yielding for Emergency Vehicles in Virginia: Know the Law

We often receive calls of people getting cited for not changing lanes when an emergency vehicle is on the shoulder. Most people are unaware that it's even a law until the Officer writes them a ticket. An expensive education to be sure.

First, the law: Code of Virginia 46.2-921.1, 1950, as amended says:

The driver of any motor vehicle, upon approaching a stationary emergency vehicle, as defined in § 46.2-920, that is displaying a flashing, blinking, or alternating emergency light or lights as provided in §§ 46.2-1022, 46.2-1023, and 46.2-1024, shall (i) on a highway having at least four lanes, at least two of which are intended for traffic proceeding as the approaching vehicle, proceed with caution and, if reasonable, with due regard for safety and traffic conditions, yield the right-of-way by making a lane change into a lane not adjacent to the stationary emergency vehicle or (ii) if changing lanes would be unreasonable or unsafe, proceed with due caution and maintain a safe speed for highway conditions.

In English this means if you see blue lights on the side of the road move over and give them room. If it's not safe to do so, slow down. Slow waaaay down. If convicted you are guilty of Class 1 misdemeanor punishable by as much as 12 months in jail and a $2,500 fine.

It's cheaper to move over, not to mention safer for our law enforcement officers.

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