Why should I yield to an emergency vehicle with lights and siren?

Imagine driving along on a busy street and you see an ambulance coming up behind you in your rear view mirror, you pull over like everyone should but you observe some vehicles that don't and the ambulance can't get around them. The traffic is tied up for several minutes and finally as you slowly pass the scene of a major traffic accident you recognize the victim's car as a friend, relative or a co-worker. How would you feel??

The above hypothetical incident happens daily on our roads here in Utah. So you're thinking what does the Utah Traffic Code say about what is required of drivers.

Emergency vehicle right of way laws are in place to protect several groups of people, including: emergency vehicle operators, patients within the vehicle, pedestrians, and drivers. You may be charged with failure to yield to emergency vehicles if you:

• Do not come to a complete stop.
• Fail to move the right shoulder of the road. This includes both lanes of traffic of a two way street.
• Fail to get out of the way of the emergency vehicle.
• Move in front of an emergency vehicle.

Utah Traffic Code 41 6a Part 9 Section 904 states:

Effective 5/12/2015
41-6a-904. Approaching emergency vehicle -- Necessary signals -- Stationary emergency vehicle -- Duties of respective operators.

(1) Except when otherwise directed by a peace officer, the operator of a vehicle, upon the immediate approach of an authorized emergency vehicle using audible or visual signals under Section 41-6a-212 or 41-6a-1625, shall:

(a) yield the right-of-way and immediately move to a position parallel to, and as close as possible to, the right-hand edge or curb of the highway, clear of any intersection; and

(b) then stop and remain stopped until the authorized emergency vehicle has passed.

(2) The operator of a vehicle, upon approaching a stationary authorized emergency vehicle that is displaying alternately flashing red, red and white, or red and blue lights, shall:

(a) reduce the speed of the vehicle;

(b) provide as much space as practical to the stationary authorized emergency vehicle; and

(c) If traveling in a lane adjacent to the stationary authorized emergency vehicle and if practical, with due regard to safety and traffic conditions, make a lane change into a lane not adjacent to the authorized emergency vehicle.

(3) The operator of a vehicle, upon approaching a stationary tow truck or highway maintenance vehicle that is displaying flashing amber lights, shall:

(a) reduce the speed of the vehicle; and

(b) provide as much space as practical to the stationary tow truck or highway maintenance vehicle.

(4) This section does not relieve the operator of an authorized emergency vehicle, tow truck, or highway maintenance vehicle from the duty to drive with regard for the safety of all persons using the highway.