This week’s motoring tips from the IAM’s head of driving standards and ex-police driving instructor Peter Rodger are looking at how to respond to an emergency vehicle. Here’s how you can help an emergency vehicle reach its destination quickly and safely.
- If you see an emergency vehicle has stopped, slow down and make sure you give them a wide berth as you pass them. Watch out for people rushing about near them in a panic.
- If there is an emergency vehicle behind you, be prepared to pull over and stop where it is safe to do so – look for where you can let it pass through safely. Avoid blocking junctions or stopping in the middle of the road – indicate to let other road users and the emergency driver know what you are doing.
- When pulling over avoid stopping on kerbs, pavements, bends and verges as they can hide potential hazards from the emergency driver and put pedestrians using the pavement at risk.
- If you hear the sound of emergency sirens but can’t see where they are work out where there is space to go if it does come your way.
- There may be more than one emergency vehicle approaching so don’t forget to check your mirrors and blind spot before merging back in with traffic.
- If you are travelling on a one-way street and you are unable to pull over because of congestion, continue driving – don’t slow down and make it squeeze past. Don’t panic and rush either. Allow the emergency vehicle to overtake you only when there is enough space and when it is safe to do so.
- Never speed up and outrun an emergency vehicle. If you go through a red light or into a bus lane to make way for an emergency vehicle you are still breaking the law.
- When travelling on the motorway, emergency vehicles may use the hard shoulder. Avoid blocking it to allow them to pass quickly and easily if they need to.
Peter said: “Emergency drivers are trained to deal with awkward situations, and are allowed to use bus lanes, go through traffic lights, etc. Don’t panic in front of them – stay calm and move out of the way so they can get past. Look at their indicators if you are near a junction – the emergency driver will try to let you know where they need to go.”
For more information on how road users can help emergency vehicles with their journeys, please watch a short video by GEM Motoring Assist called Blue Light Aware. A link to this video is shown below.