Question: I know I have to pull over if there is a trooper with his red lights on behind me, but do I have to pull over if there is one coming the other way?
Answer: Yes, you do. State statute 13AAC 02.140 says when an emergency vehicle (police, fire or ambulance) approaches with it's lights or siren on, drivers of vehicles in all directions must yield the right of way by pulling to the right side of the road and stopping until the emergency vehicle has passed. Try to think of it from the trooper's point of view. They are probably going pretty fast, talking on the radio, listening for updates, watching for moose and traffic, etc. The fewer cars they have moving on the roadway with them, the greater their margin of safety, and the easier they can get to whatever emergency they are going to.
Keep in mind too that it is important to pull to the right side of the road, as the law requires. That is what we are expecting you to do, and if you suddenly pull to the left to get into a driveway or parking lot as we are about to pass you on the left, it will probably ruin the day for both of us, or worse.
The penalty for not yielding to an emergency vehicle is a mandatory court appearance, a maximum fine of $300, and six points on your license, not to mention a likely increase in your insurance rates.
Also, it is not required, but if an emergency vehicle is coming toward you in the dark, it is appreciated if, once you have stopped, you turn off your headlights and just leave your parking lights on until we have passed. It allows us to see better when we don't have to look into oncoming headlights.
If you have questions that you would like to ask a trooper, please send them to: Alaska State Troopers, 4060 Heath St., Homer, AK 99603. Or you can e-mail them to Chad_Goeden @dps.state.ak.us. The Alaska State Troopers remind you to always wear your seat belt. It's the law.
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