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Ask a Trooper: If I'm stopped at an intersection, do I still pull over?

Question: If you are stopped at an intersection at a red light and there is an emergency vehicle behind you should you go through the red light to let the vehicle pass?

Answer: Every situation varies when emergency vehicles are responding to an incident and how much room there is to yield and move over.

The state requires motorists to move to the right and not block any intersection when an emergency vehicle is approaching. The driver should stop and remained stop until the emergency vehicle passes.

When I'm responding to an incident and approaching an intersection, I will evaluate what would be the safest action for myself and other vehicles that are yielding to me. Even though the law says that I have the right of way if I have activated my emergency lights and siren, I still approach each intersection with extreme caution and make sure that the intersections are clear before I proceed through.

If there is room for a vehicle that is already stopped at an intersection to safely move over to the right and provide me with enough room to proceed, I will keep my emergency lights and siren on. If there is no other options for the stopped vehicle at a red light to move over and there is no room for me to get around stopped vehicle(s), I will shut off my lights and siren and wait for the light to change to green. I don't want that vehicle to enter an intersection on a red light and create the possibility of getting into a crash.

Each driver should evaluate the situation and move over if there is room, or stay stopped if the situation puts you or others in danger.

This is a great reminder to all drivers the need to avoid all distractions so we are able to hear and see emergency vehicle approaching from all angles and yield to them.

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, jesse.grabow@state.mn.us).