PEI

RCMP reminding drivers about rules regarding emergency vehicles stopped roadside

RCMP in P.E.I. want people to learn the rules around what to do when an emergency vehicle is stopped roadside, and then follow those rules.

RCMP say standing at a roadside stop is one of the most dangerous parts of the job

RCMP in P.E.I. say standing at a roadside stop is one of the most dangerous parts of their job. (Twitter/RCMP)

RCMP in P.E.I. want people to learn the rules around what to do when an emergency vehicle is stopped roadside, and then follow those rules.

That's after an officer was hit roadside Tuesday. That investigation is still ongoing and there's no indication that the driver wasn't following the rules.

But the RCMP say standing at a roadside stop is one of the most dangerous parts of their job.

"We have training techniques on how to stop the car so we have a little pocket of safety, but I tell you every time I stop a car you think about it," said Sgt. Leanne Butler, the senior operations NCO for Queens District RCMP.

"There's been a lot of near misses over the years. I had a case where the mirror was taken right off the police car when the member was standing there, so that's pretty close. Myself, I felt people brush by and you can feel that they're pretty close."

Slow down, go around 

The Traffic Act lays the rules out pretty simply. If you come upon an emergency vehicle on the side of the road, you have to slow down to half the posted speed limit, then give the vehicle enough room, meaning you go into the other lane as long as it's safe. Another option is to slow down and stop behind the vehicle and then wait until it is safe to go around and give them enough room.

Butler said the other important part is not to let your curiosity get the best of you when it comes to flashing lights.

"You tend to go where your eyes go, so they go towards the vehicles when they're looking at them and that's why it's very dangerous," she said.

"Keep yourself focused, look ahead where you're going, make sure it's safe for you to pass by, but that also helps make it safe for the officer."

And if you don't do that, you could be facing fines from $200 to $1,000.

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