Reacting to emergency vehicles: tips from IAM RoadSmart

Blog post posted on 23/03/20 |

Even though the roads are going to be far quieter over the coming weeks as we all follow the government’s self-isolation advice to beat Coronavirus (Covid-19), it’s still important to make sure we practice safe, courteous driving when faced with an approaching emergency vehicle.

When you’re faced with the sight or sound of an emergency vehicle behind you or coming towards you, and whether you notice the flashing blue lights or screaming sirens first, it’s important you act quickly and sensibly.

Courteous and alert driving is one way to show your appreciation for the emergency services and other essential services keeping us going during the current national health crisis. 

IAM RoadSmart’s head of driving and riding standards, Richard Gladman, is here to guide you through the do’s and don’ts of how to act in this situation.  

  • Look and listen

If you hear an emergency siren mute your music so you can work out where the noise is coming from. Be prepared to plan your next manoeuvre if the emergency vehicle requires your help to get past.

  • Be prepared

Be sure to pull over and stop where it is safe to do so, giving the emergency vehicle a wide enough berth. Make your intentions clear and certainly avoid blocking any major junctions or stopping in the middle of the road, on the brow of a hill or before a bend.

  • Avoid hazards

Avoid stopping on kerbs, pavements and verges as they may mask hazards, damage your vehicle or put pedestrians at risk. The emergency vehicle is already reacting to an incident, so we don’t want to cause another one.

  • Look around you

The vehicle trying to pass may be a plain looking car with emergency warning equipment such as lights fitted to it – be prepared to assist in the same way.

  • Don’t break the law

Going through a red light or using a bus lane to make way for an emergency vehicle is in fact breaking the law and cameras have no discretion. Avoid this at all costs and be sure to stop only where it is legal and safe to do so.

Richard said: “With all of the demands facing the emergency services at the moment any help we can offer will be gratefully received. Food delivery drivers and other services we normally take for granted are also essential to people in isolation now. Your politeness and assistance in sharing the road safely will make sure we are all doing our part and may go some way to taking an element of stress out of their working day”

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