Quite a few people with whom I've spoken aren't exactly sure what the official proper way to respond is when it comes to passing emergency vehicles on our roads. The Tyler, Texas Police have specifically addressed this.

Something I've always appreciated about living in East Texas--well, one of many things--is the way most drivers show respect on the road whenever they see a fellow East Texan has pulled over and turned on their hazard lights.

Along those same lines, when a funeral procession is making its way down our East Texas streets, it's common practice to see other drivers slow down, and in many cases when it's possible, to stop completely or pull over to make the passage easier for the caravan of friends and family of the deceased.

It wasn't until I had friends from Chicago, Illinois in the car with me one time that I learned this is not common practice all over the country. They were sincerely surprised to see how everyone in East Texas just seemed to "know" that this was the right and courteous way to handle these situations.

And what do you do when approaching an emergency vehicle, particularly when its lights are flashing?

Many of us follow our instincts here. And similarly to the aforementioned scenarios, many of us give as much space as possible in an effort to not add to the danger and possible trauma of the situation.

Although now that I think about it, I never knew what the specific procedure should be, according to local authorities.

The Tyler Police Department addressed this very thing on its Facebook page. According to the people who know best, this is what we should do: 

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It's called Move Over/Slow Down. So, yeah--basically this is what many of us do when we approach an emergency vehicle.
But officially, the Tyler Police Department says Move Over/Slow Down "requires vehicles to move over a lane or slow down to 20mph below the posted speed limit when approaching an emergency vehicle with flashing lights that’s on the side of the road. If the speed limit is below 25 mph you have to slow down to 5mph."
I appreciate knowing this. I always slowed down in the past, but I'm not sure it has been as much as 20 mph below the posted speed limit, so I'm glad to know this.

You learn something new every day--if you try a little. :)

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