What to do when an emergency vehicle is behind you

ambulance on the road in UK 700px
We’ve all been sat in traffic when you hear the sirens coming and it normally results in a panic.

For riders there’s a rapid swing of the head and a check of the mirrors as you try to pin a location on either the ambulance, police car or fire engine that could be hurtling towards your rear or cutting across your path.

Then you see the blue flashing lights and it’s decision time; you need to get out of the way but where should you go?

Richard Gladman, IAM RoadSmart’s head of driving, said: “Emergency lights are not always easily visible and the sirens can be heard from different directions so be as vigilant as possible.”

IAM RoadSmart has released some tips on what to do when you hear an emergency vehicle approaching.

1. Prepare

As soon as you hear a siren, motorists should prepare to plan their next manoeuvre if they are required to move.

2. Stop where it’s safe

Motorists should pull over and stop where it’s safe to do so while also giving a wide enough berth to allow the emergency vehicle through.

Motorists should avoid blocking major junctions, stopping before a bend or on the brow of a hill.

3. Be clear

Motorists should make their intentions clear using signals so that the emergency vehicle and other road users know what they are doing.

4. Avoid kerbs

Motorists should avoid stopping on kerbs, pavements and verges because they could mask hazards, damage your vehicle or endanger pedestrians.

5. Laws still apply

An approaching emergency vehicle does not entitle you to run red lights or break any road traffic laws.

You should only stop where it is legal and safe to do so. Remember, bus lane, traffic light and speed cameras do not show discretion.

Next page: What to do if you’re involved in a road accident