Basic Skills

How to safely let emergency vehicles past

3 min read • Oct 25, 2018
emergencyvehicles

You’ll hear emergency vehicles before you see them, and this can be quite daunting. Even experienced drivers might panic and make themselves a hazard by refusing to give way or stopping in the wrong place. Don’t worry, follow our simple tips for a hassle and hazard-free journey.

Stay calm

Drivers of emergency vehicles receive extra training so that they can avoid other road users at high speeds. Just stay calm — they won’t collide with you.

Stay alert

If you can see a flashing light, use the behaviour of other road users as an indication as to where the sirens might be coming from. Other drivers will slow down or pull over when they hear emergency vehicles coming. Turn off your music so that you can hear the siren properly. As soon as possible, pull over into a safe space. Be aware that there could be a few emergency vehicles traveling to the same place.

Give way

Always pull over so that emergency vehicles can pass you, and never block an exit. If you’re stuck in heavy traffic on a one-way street, continue at a steady speed until it is safe to stop and let the emergency vehicle pass. Never stop in a bus lane, you could be fined even if you’re pulling over to let emergency vehicles past.

Never overtake emergency vehicles

If you try and outrun emergency vehicles, you could be in trouble for breaking the speed limit. But even more importantly, you could block the road when someone’s life is at stake.

Never stop suddenly

Use your indicators or hand signals to let other road users know that you want to stop, then pull over in a safe place so that emergency vehicles can pass you.

On the motorway (for new drivers)

Never block the hard shoulder because emergency vehicles will use it to reach the accident quickly. Be aware that the accident could have happened very close to you. Prepare to slow down and stop.

The same rules apply on the dual carriageway, so learner drivers should be prepared in case an emergency vehicle approaches from behind.

Don’t stare at an accident

Staring at the scene of an accident may cause you to slow down without warning. This might take other road users by surprise and could cause another accident. Keep your speed steady and drive on.

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Image courtesy of gwire.

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