Safety while driving includes being courteous to all road users.  The Hamilton Police Service wants to remind motorists that they are sharing the road with other cars, trucks, buses, bicycles and pedestrians.  It is imperative that all vehicles follow the rules of the road to ensure a safe commute for everyone.

Emergency Vehicles

First responders go to work every day to keep our communities safe.  Unfortunately, the number of first responders being unnecessarily injured by vehicles and traffic related incidents continue to rise.  Behind every badge, firefighting helmet or safety vest is a person doing their part for their community.

What does this mean? 

The people who work alongside roadways need you to partner with them to help keep them safe.   

Drivers need to vacate the lane closest to an emergency beicle if it is safe and possible do to so; slow to a speed safe for weather, road and traffic conditions.  Not doing so is actually against the law.

Section 159 of the Ontario Highway Traffic Act

(1) The driver of a vehicle, upon the approach of a police department vehicle with its bell or siren sounding or with its lamp producing intermittent flashes of red light or red and blue light, or upon the approach of an ambulance, fire department vehicle or public utility emergency vehicle with its bell or siren sounding or its lamp producing intermittent flashes of red light, shall immediately bring such vehicle to a standstill,

(a) as near as is practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway and parallel therewith and clear of any intersection; or

(b) when on a roadway having more than two lanes for traffic and designated for the use of one-way traffic, as near as is practicable to the nearest curb or edge of the roadway and parallel therewith and clear of any intersection. 2009, c. 5, s. 49.

Slow down on approaching stopped emergency vehicle

(2) Upon approaching an emergency vehicle with its lamp producing intermittent flashes of red light or red and blue light that is stopped on a highway, the driver of a vehicle travelling on the same side of the highway shall slow down and proceed with caution, having due regard for traffic on and the conditions of the highway and the weather, to ensure that the driver does not collide with the emergency vehicle or endanger any person outside of the emergency vehicle.

Same

(3) Upon approaching an emergency vehicle with its lamp producing intermittent flashes of red light or red and blue light that is stopped on a highway with two or more lanes of traffic on the same side of the highway as the side on which the emergency vehicle is stopped, the driver of a vehicle travelling in the same lane that the emergency vehicle is stopped in or in a lane that is adjacent to the emergency vehicle, in addition to slowing down and proceeding with caution as required by subsection (2), shall move into another lane if the movement can be made in safety. 2009, c. 5, s. 49.

Fines

Every person in contravention of this section is guilty of an offence and on conviction is liable,

(a) for a first offence, to a fine of not less than $400 and not more than $2,000; and

(b) for each subsequent offence, to a fine of not less than $1,000 and not more than $4,000 or to imprisonment for a term of not more than six months, or to both.

We want to remind you that although the law applies to emergency vehicles, we want everyone to move over for anyone working on the side of the road, including but not limited to tow truck drivers, hydro crews, city workers….even someone just changing a tire.

A decision to move over can mean the difference between someone going home safe to their family. Or not.

Share the Road: Driving Safety Tips

  • Treat bicycles like any other vehicle on the road. When passing, leave a safe distance between your vehicle and the bicycle.
  • Always be aware of your surroundings.
  • Ensure that you always do a shoulder check – regardless of whether or not your vehicle has a blind spot indicator. It’s always best to check yourself.
  • Signal all lane changes and turns.
  • In the winter, clear snow from your entire vehicle to ensure that you can be seen by other drivers/pedestrians.

For more information on sharing the road, please visit the Ontario Ministry of Transportation website.