GEM Motoring Assist, a group dedicated to promoting road safety, has released a list of guidelines for motorists to follow while clearing the way for emergency vehicles.
The ‘Blue Light Aware’ tips are offered as brief animations that cover the places and circumstances where confusion may develop. These may include intersections with traffic lights, roundabouts, freeways without hard shoulders, and sections of road with strong white lines where passing is prohibited.
The emergency services-approved guidance describes what to do and what not to do when assisting an emergency vehicle.
“Every driver wants to help and do the right thing, but the approach of a blue light vehicle can take them by surprise,” said Neil Worth, the chief executive of GEM. “We anticipate that our advice will lessen risk and minimize confusion.”
At traffic lights
If there is an ambulance nearby, you shouldn’t disregard a red light. So don’t run the light or breach any rules by doing so. Stay put and allow the ambulance to maneuver around you if you are first in line at a red light.
Roundabouts and junctions
Look at the position of the ambulance if you see one as you approach a roundabout or crossroads; this will tell you where it wants you to go. Wait patiently for it to pass if you are already at the intersection. Before departing, make sure there aren’t any further emergency vehicles approaching the intersection.
Solid white lines
An ambulance will likely silence its siren as it follows you on a road with a solid white line system. This is so that overtaking is prohibited. In order to avoid hitting the solid white lines, continue driving at the speed limit if it’s safe to do so. You must allow the ambulance to pass once the siren sounds again.
Motorways and dual carriageways
If an ambulance needs to pass in the outside lane on a highway or dual carriageway, move to the left. Only utilize the freeway hard shoulder if you have an emergency of your own. Emergency vehicles typically use the hard shoulder in slow-moving and standstill traffic.
If there isn’t a hard shoulder, build a “emergency corridor” (like in the illustration) to allow space for emergency vehicles. Stay put after allowing an emergency vehicle to pass because it’s possible that more vehicles will do the same.
On a smart highway, one or more lanes can be closed due to an accident up ahead; red X signs above the carriageway will let you know. If possible, emergency vehicles will use these lanes. Avoid these red X lanes at all costs. Be prepared to assist in establishing the emergency route if it appears that no lanes are restricted.