However long you may have been driving if an emergency vehicle is approaching it can still panic you with its blue flashing lights and loud sirens. The first thing you should think is how to move out the way as safely and conveniently as possible however many drivers don’t know exactly what they should do and what is legal and what isn’t.
The Highway Code states that you should look out and listen for emergency vehicles and if one approaches you should not panic. Take appropriate action to let the vehicle pass whilst complying with the rules of the road and any traffic signs.
Here are some tips to follow if an emergency vehicle is approaching:
• Stay Alert: Make sure you are always aware when driving and listen out for the sirens. Don’t have your music turned up loud as this will prevent you from hearing any sirens and also keep an eye on all your mirrors.
• Remember: Emergency vehicles have exemptions from the law and the Highway Code however motorists don’t. Don’t go through red lights or speed to let them through.
• Stay Calm: Make sure you don’t panic or break suddenly because you see an emergency vehicle coming as it can often slow down the process of the emergency vehicle getting through and could also put other road users in danger.
• Roundabouts: When approaching a roundabout make sure you let the emergency vehicle reach, navigate and leave before you approach the round about as it could cause more confusion if there are too many cars around.
• Motorways/dual-carriageways: Move over to the nearside lane (left lane by the hard shoulder) of the motorway and don’t forget to signal and check for approaching vehicles. Merge with the other vehicles that are in the lane but don’t cut in front of them as they may not know about the approaching emergency vehicle yet.
• Coming out of a side road: If you can hear sirens do not pull out. Stay where you are until the emergency vehicle has passed. Don’t gamble as it is hard to judge how fast the vehicle is going. Once the vehicle has passed pull out when it is safe to do so.
• Be Safe: If you are able to pull over on a road then look in your mirrors and indicate. Make sure you double check for any cyclists, bikes, pedestrians and other cars before you do so. Don’t pull over on a bend or a hill.
• Once it’s passed: Once the vehicle has passed don’t just pull out assuming it is all clear. There will be other cars that have done the same thing or maybe even other emergency vehicles going to the same incident.
When pulling over for any emergency vehicle make sure to think back to the days when you were learning to drive; Mirror, Signal and Manoeuvre. This will prevent any unnecessary collisions or injuries.