Code 3 Vehicles

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The emphasis on this traffic safety tip is The Code 3 Vehicle, and to provide information, educate the public and address three incidents when an emergency vehicle responding Code 3 may be encountered.

At an Intersection

If you hear a siren or see flashing lights at an intersection, you should:

  • Stop at the limit line or at the crosswalk if facing a red signal light.
  • Yield the right-of-way when safely able to do so, which may mean driving through the intersection on a green light prior to pulling over to the right.
  • Wait for all emergency vehicles to pass before getting back on the road. Remember, there may be more than one emergency vehicle responding Code 3.
  • If the operator of the emergency vehicle requests you to move in a certain direction via the public address (PA) system, please do so expeditiously.

DON'T Panic!
DON'T pull into the intersection on a red light!
DON'T stop in the middle of the intersection!

On a Street

If you hear a siren or see flashing lights on a street, you should:

  • Pull over to the right when safely able to do so.
  • Slow down and stop to make a safe lane of passage for the emergency vehicle.
  • If the operator of the emergency vehicle requests you to move in a certain direction via the public address (PA) system, please do so expeditiously.

DON'T Panic!
DON'T stop in the middle of the road!

On a Freeway

If you hear a siren a see flashing lights on a freeway, you should:

  • Pull over to the right when safely able to do so.
  • Continue to move forward at a safe speed.
  • If the operator of the emergency vehicle requests you to move in a certain direction via the public address (PA) system, please do so expeditiously.

Code 3 Vehicle Laws

The following California Vehicle Code (CVC) sections pertain to emergency vehicles responding Code 3:

21806(a)(1) CVC - When approached by an emergency vehicle, which is sounding a siren and displaying a forward facing red light (Code 3),all vehicular traffic shall yield the right-of-way and drive to the right side of the roadway and stop until the emergency vehicle has passed.

21806(a)(2) CVC ­- When approached by an emergency vehicle that is responding Code 3 in a carpool lane, all vehicles shall exit the lane immediately.

21806(c) CVC ­- When approached by an emergency vehicle that is responding Code 3, all pedestrians upon the roadway shall yield the right-of-way and proceed to the nearest curb or place of safety and remain there until the emergency vehicle has passed.