See the light, pull to the right.

That’s the message from Chapel Hill’s Fire and Police Departments, along with Emergency Medical Services.

And if you’re reading it here first, please take note that it’s not going to the last time you ever read it.

Beginning this month, Chapel Hill motorists are advised to pay attention to new signs bearing that message near six major intersections.

Public Information Officer Lisa Edwards with the Chapel Hill Fire Department says the idea was sparked by conversations with emergency vehicle drivers. They were concerned about the reactions of some drivers when an emergency vehicle with flashing lights zooms up behind them.

“Drivers become startled and mostly paralyzed,” she says. “So either they do something really haphazard, and cause more confusion, or they freeze up and do nothing.”

What drivers in that situation should do is take their foot off the accelerator, merge with caution to the outside lane, and start slowing down and pulling off the side of the road to allow the emergency vehicle to pass.

That’s the message the signs are supposed to drive home. The signs will be placed at the following locations:

  • North Fordham Boulevard, between Sage and Erwin Road;
  • East Franklin Street, between Elliot and Estes Drive;
  • MLK Jr. Boulevard, between Westminster and Weaver Dairy Road;
  • Raleigh Road, between Hamilton and Burning Tree;
  • MLK Jr. Boulevard, between North Columbia and Stevens Street;
  • and South Fordham Boulevard, near Manning Drive.