Dealing with emergency vehicles

The following link will take you to a Youtube video ‘Blue Light Aware’ which I show to new drivers, but there are some points that experienced drivers may not be aware of . Watch the video and then read my additional advice below .

Not all situations were covered in the video . Firstly, whilst you should avoid doing so, there maybe times when you do have to drive onto the kerb or verge to enable an emergency vehicle to pass. If this is necessary be very careful as you don’t want to damage your vehicle or the surface being used.

In the video they advise that you should pull over and stop. Stopping isn’t always necessary especially on faster wider roads . Moving out of the path of the emergency vehicle safely should be your first priority and also assessing if slowing down is sufficient to enable the situation to evolve safely or whether you need to stop due to the circumstances. Look ahead and assess whether you need to maintain a gap for the emergency vehicle to use . It maybe the emergency vehicle needs to use the opposite side of the road to drive around a keep left island or similar. In this case you would need to stop well back from the central island to allow the vehicle to do so easily with room to spare.

The video doesn’t cover moving off once the emergency vehicle has passed. Remember to look and listen throughout for a second or multiple emergency vehicles . Be ready to move off or accelerate if safe. When moving off from stationary use a mirror sweep and check across into your blindspot. If accelerating mirrors and glance across but not over your shoulder as this may affect your control of the vehicle. A following driver maybe impatient and begin overtaking you as you go to move off or a vehicle could be turning into the road from opposite . Be aware on multiple lane carriageways as drivers in other lanes may be travelling much faster . Look at their positioning and any indication of a change of direction .

Be aware that on faster roads such as motorways and dual carriageways it’s quite likely you will see the emergency vehicle before you can hear it especially if you are distracted and/or have loud music on . Regular mirror checks will ensure you are up to date with situations developing behind .

Sometimes emergency vehicles do not use sirens when on a ‘Blue Light call’ . In the case of an ambulance this could be due to having someone on board with a head injury or needs a quiet environment due to mental illness. For police vehicles they may not want to advertise their approach to certain situations in order to have more chance of apprehending suspects , such as a burglary in progress. It could be deemed unnecessary due to the time of day .

Stay safe help save a life.

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