Emergency vehicles are everywhere, going at unexpected speeds responding to the needs of the public – they do not expect any driver to put themselves in danger to facilitate this. Business drivers are no exception, so here are some top tips from IAM RoadSmart on how to handle approaching emergency vehicles when out on the road.
- Don’t put yourself in danger by moving through a red traffic light into moving traffic, you have no exemption and will be responsible for any accident caused.
- Do avoid an emergency stop. Remember that at a roundabout the traffic behind you may not be aware of an approaching emergency vehicle or one that is visible from your position, so avoid braking sharply.
- Do remain calm if an emergency service vehicle (ambulance, police etc.) is approaching. Try to look for the most suitable place to give way. Reacting out of fear can make the situation longer and more difficult than it needs to be.
- Do be prepared to pull over and stop if it is safe to do so, always making sure there is enough room for the vehicle to pass. Drivers of emergency vehicles have had the training to negotiate you – allow them to use the skills they have in ‘blue light’ situations.
- Do remain patient. If you notice a road is closed it is being done for safety or to gather evidence. If you see an emergency vehicle stopped, slow down and give it a wide birth – there could be people rushing around.
- Do not try to overtake a moving emergency service vehicle unless you have been instructed to do so by a member of the emergency services.
IAM RoadSmart’s head of driving and riding standards Richard Gladman said: “Refer back to the Highway Code rule 219 which refers to emergency services, doctors and highways vehicles: ‘Do not panic, consider the route of such a vehicle and take appropriate action to let it pass whilst complying with all traffic signs. Do not endanger yourself or other road users.’ Stay safe and help where you can, but the last thing the emergency services driver wants is you having a collision as they will have to stop and not get to their emergency.”
IAM’s fleet and risk management solutions such as Driving for Work can help you or your drivers anticipate and correctly manage emergency services situations, as well as a tailored range of Skills Development skills development including Confined Space Manoeuvring and Eco Driving.