You are driving to work, to your meeting, to your networking event, or even on your day off, then a vehicle for the emergency services suddenly turns up. Some drivers may hear the sound of a siren, then respond accordingly. Some drivers may not even notice until it is right behind them as they are thinking of other things. Emergency vehicles are everywhere, often going at unexpected speeds to respond to the needs of the public.
The emergency vehicle drivers do not expect any driver to put themselves at risk or in danger to allow them to pass. There are some things that every driver can do to assist the emergency vehicle driver, whether fleet driving or not.
How to Assist Emergency Vehicles
- Do not put yourself in danger by moving through a red light into moving traffic. You will be liable for any incident that occurs by you doing so.
- Avoid doing an emergency stop. The driver behind you may not have noticed or seen the emergency vehicle and will not be expecting you to suddenly stop.
- Wait for the vehicle behind you to slow and move left before you do, as if you slow and move left before them, they may not see the emergency vehicle behind and move right, putting you in the path of the emergency vehicle.
- Stay calm. Look ahead for the most suitable place to give way to them. Reacting out of fear can make you do something unpredictable and make it harder for them to pass.
- Be prepared to stop or move left to let them pass in a suitable place. Always ensure there is enough room for them to pass. Drivers of these vehicles have had training to negotiate around you so let them use these driving skills.
- Do remain patient. If you see that the vehicle is blocking the road, it could be the road is closed for safety, or to gather evidence. If you see an emergency vehicle stopped, and there is plenty of space to get by, provide plenty of room and pass slowly as they may be moving injured people about. If they have blocked the road, just find another way round.
- Do not overtake an emergency vehicle unless directed to do so by a member of the emergency services.
To summarise, do not panic. Consider the route that the emergency vehicle will wish to take and take appropriate action to help it pass. Do not endanger yourself or other road users. Stay safe and help where you can. Do not do anything that will mean that service will have to stand down from their emergency to deal with you or an incident you have caused.