Responding to emergency vehicles
Flashing blue in your rear view
Road safety charity the IAM is offering weekly motoring tips from Britain’s top advanced driver, Peter Rodger. This week he recommends top tips on how to respond when an emergency services vehicle is approaching.
Keep your cool
– if you see or hear an emergency vehicle approaching, aid concentration by turning off your music, and take a few seconds to plan your next move. Acting in a state of panic could be dangerous and delay the emergency vehicle more. Also, remember to look to see if they are indicating to turn at a junction.
– look for somewhere to pull over and stop if it’s safe to do so, even if the emergency vehicle is on the other side of the road. Indicators can be used to show that you have acknowledged the approaching blue lights and intend to move, but avoid usage if it could confuse other road users.
– avoid pulling onto kerbs, pavements and verges - verges can mask numerous hazards and mounting the pavement can put pedestrians at risk.
Abide by the law
– If you go through a red light or into a bus lane to make way for an emergency vehicle, unless directed to do so by a police officer, you are breaking the law and could be fined, irrespective of your good intentions.
– be aware that there may be more than one emergency vehicle on the approach. Listen for more than one siren, look all around before moving off, and bear in mind that you may need to move over again.
Loud sirens and flashing blue lights cause many motorists to panic, mainly because drivers are not routinely taught how to respond to them. Emergency vehicle drivers want you to help them reach the emergency at hand as quickly as possible. Behave calmly, legally, safely and predictably and move out of the way as soon as it is safe to do so to facilitate their route.