Emergency Vehicles, Traffic Laws and Self-Driving Cars

California injury attorneyMost drivers think they know traffic laws well. Perhaps that is true for most of the basic laws pertaining to driving and rules of the road, but should you find yourself involved in a car accident it is important to understand that no two traffic accidents are exactly alike. This is not only true because of the sheer number of drivers on the road, but also in part to changes in laws, enforcement techniques, and even automobile technology.

Emergency Vehicles Have the Right of Way

According to California law, emergency vehicles using sirens and/or lights have the right of way. This includes fire trucks, police cars, ambulances and other emergency vehicles. You can avoid causing or being in an accident if you take the following actions when you see emergency lights or hear sirens while driving.

  • Pull your vehicle your vehicle over to the right edge of the road and stop.
  • Do not stop in an intersection.
  • It is illegal to follow within 300 feet of an emergency vehicle with siren or lights flashing.
  • You must obey the direction or signal given by a police officer or fireman, even if it contradicts existing traffic signs, signals or laws.

Can Self-Driving Cars Pull Over for Lights and Sirens?

A new challenge facing commuters and first responders is the emergence of self-driving vehicles on the roads. Police and fire personnel indicate some difficulty navigating through traffic on emergency calls when drivers do not yield the right of way. This concern has grown as self-driving cars seem headed for public roadways. State officials are being proactive with manufacturers so self-driving cars react accordingly in the presence of emergency vehicle lights and sirens.

To facilitate safe operation of self-driving cars, safety and law enforcement organizations have teamed with manufacturers to create simulations using emergency lights and sirens in an effort to program vehicles so they react properly. Full compliance is necessary as state law will require self-driving vehicles to obey all state and local traffic laws before they are allowed on the road.

Count on the Help of an Experienced San Jose Car Accident Lawyer

Whether you are the victim of a car accident, it is important to work with a lawyer who understands California motor vehicle accident laws. Seek the counsel of a knowledgeable California car accident attorney who has the experience and resources to help you. Janoff Law gives your case the attention it deserves. Contact the office today by calling 408-286-2300 and schedule an initial consultation during which time you can learn more about their services.



Janoff Law,
A Professional Corporation
1570 The Alameda, Suite 221, San Jose, CA 95126 408-286-2300
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