Ask A Trooper
Sgt. Jesse Grabow
Question: Hi, I was wondering if you are stopped at a stop light and in a left turn lane and an emergency vehicle with lights and sirens come in behind you (either in the turn lane or the lane to your right), what is the proper procedure? Thank you!
Answer: When it comes to encountering emergency vehicles while stopped at a stop light and the only place to move is the actual intersection, it is best to stay in place and let the emergency vehicle maneuver around your vehicle. Unless otherwise directed by a police officer, stay put.
Otherwise, for an emergency vehicle, such as an ambulance, fire truck or police car, displaying flashing red lights and sounding a siren or bell approaches your vehicle on a two-way road, you must pull to the right and stop. If you are traveling on a one-way road, you must pull to whichever side is nearest and stop. If you are within an intersection, proceed through it before stopping. Remain stopped until all emergency vehicles have passed.
A law enforcement officer with probable cause to believe a driver has violated this law may arrest the driver within four hours of the violation. You are not required to stop if the emergency vehicle that is approaching you is separated from your lane of traffic by a physical barrier such as a fence, wall, or median strip.
A portion of state statutes were used with permission from the Office of the Revisor of Statutes. If you have any questions concerning traffic related laws or issues in Minnesota, send your questions to Trp. Jesse Grabow – Minnesota State Patrol at 1000 Highway 10 West, Detroit Lakes, MN 56501-2205. (You can follow him on Twitter @MSPPIO_NW or reach him at, firstname.lastname@example.org).