Traffic Q&A: Always move right to yield to lights, sirens

Staff writerApril 20, 2014 

Question: “This has never happened to me, but I’ve always wondered what I’m expected to do it if it does: If I’m on a multilane freeway in the left lane and a patrolman comes up behind me and turns on his lights to get me to pull over, am I supposed to pull onto the shoulder to the left, or work my way across traffic and pull onto the right shoulder?

Both seem about equally dangerous. Not sure which is worse. — Larry, Tacoma

Answer: According to trooper Guy Gill with the Washington State Patrol, you should always move to the right, regardless of which lane you’re in or how crowded the freeway is.

“If you’re traveling on a multilane roadway and a trooper comes up behind you with emergency equipment — flashing lights and/or siren — activated, we would like you to move right,” Gill said.

“If you’re being pulled over, we will utilize our emergency equipment to safely get you over to the right shoulder.

“The right shoulder is the safest place to stop for both of us,” Gill said, “and we want to make sure the left lane and shoulder are kept open for emergency vehicles.”

Rob Carson: 253-597-8693

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