Oh, the irony...if you're ever in an emergency, can you legally speed to get somewhere? Speeding can endanger other people on the road but if you really, really, need help, can you speed to get it?

If you have a family member who is hurt and needs to get to the hospital as soon as possible, your pregnant wife is going into surprise labor, you cut your toe off with the lawnmower, or you find out your kid was brought to the hospital, etc, there are tons of reasons you may want to get to a hospital as fast as you can.

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Emergency vehicles can normally get to most emergencies in only a handful of minutes but if you don't live close to the hospital, there are scenarios where it could be faster for you to drive yourself.

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If you find yourself in a situation where you must get to the hospital as soon as possible, can you legally speed in emergencies?

Unsplash - Camilo Jimenez
Unsplash - Camilo Jimenez

Is It Legal?

Despite your good intentions of trying to get somewhere quickly in an emergency situation, you cannot speed to get wherever it is you're trying to get to. We might see scenes in movies where characters abandon every law there is to get somewhere for help but in the real world, you're going to have to obey the law.

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According to Progressive, "Speeding isn't legal in an emergency, and there's no such thing as an emergency speed limit. If you're caught speeding on the way to the hospital, you can expect a ticket." 

If you think about it this way, getting pulled over for speeding while trying to get to the hospital will only slow you down. You can't and shouldn't count on the kindness of an officer to let you break the law. If you're lucky, it is possible that after being pulled over an officer might help escort you to the nearest hospital, if it's a life-and-death situation However, speeding because of an emergency can still get you a ticket.

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The National Library of Medicine says you should just call an ambulance if someone is in a dire situation.

"On average, in urban areas, ambulances arrive at the scene just seven minutes after you place the 911 call."

Let's call a spade a spade, you're in a dire situation, panic has set in, and you need to get to the hospital...you're likely going to go a few miles per hour over the speed limit to get there. The last thing you're probably worrying about is having to pay for some kind of ticket. If my wife is hurt and my best option is to get her to the hospital myself, I'm getting there as quickly and as safely as I possibly can. I'll deal with the consequences afterward.

Despite our best intentions, it can be dangerous to blatantly ignore the rules of the road and you can endanger yourself, or worse, other people. They have no clue you're facing an emergency and are just trying to go about their day like normal. It's likely our best bet to just call an ambulance when you can.

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