We all know what to do when we hear or see an emergency service carrier with its blue lights on, you pull over to make room for them whether it’s a police car, ambulance or fire engine, you do your best to make as much room for them as possible but sometimes it can be especially stressful.
You might be on a gridlocked street or the motorway and there simply isn’t any room for the emergency services to get through but now it’s all about safety and if you don’t follow the rules you could get a £1,000 penalty and in some cases, the way you let an ambulance pass you, could be illegal.
According to the Highway Code, you should give way to vehicles with flashing lights including ambulances, police cars, fire engines and emergency doctors but you should also avoid doing the following and that’s driving through a red light, which will also spank you with three penalty points on your licence, moving into a bus lane to free the path or entering a yellow box junction.
The Highway Code states that you should look and listen for ambulances, fire engines, police and doctors or other emergency vehicles using flashing blue, red or green lights and sirens, or flashing headlights, or traffic officers and incident support vehicles using flashing amber lights.
The Highway Code says that you should consider the route of such a vehicle and take suitable action to let it pass, while complying with all traffic signs and if needed, pull to the side of the road and stop, but try to dodge stopping before the brow of a hill, or a bend or narrow section of the road.
Clearly, drivers should not compromise themselves or other road users or pedestrians and now drivers can’t mount the kerb or brake harshly on approach to a junction or roundabout but of course, there will be occasions when there just isn’t room for an emergency services vehicle to get past, or maybe its crew are activated by their control room to respond to an emergency while they’re waiting with everyone else at the traffic lights.
On these occasions, they know that other drivers are not permitted to jump the red light, and the emergency vehicle would ideally not activate its sirens and lights until it was safe for the vehicle in front to cross the solid white line at the junction and on the hopefully rare occasions that a blue light vehicle, in emergency mode, is sitting behind another vehicle at a red traffic light, it’s important to understand that it would be both extremely dangerous and illegal for the other vehicle to drive across the solid white line.
Although failure to comply with the other rules of The Highway Code will not, in itself, cause a person to be prosecuted, The Highway Code may be used in evidence in any court actions under the Traffic Acts to verify liability and this includes rules which use instructional wording such as ‘should/should not’ or ‘do/do not’.
However, motorists have been moving out of the way for ambulances, fire engines and police cars since I can remember, it’s always been the norm and in the case of an ambulance we move out the way because at the back of our head is what if someone we know is in the back of that ambulance or what if the person in the ambulance has had a heart attack? Next, they’ll be telling the emergency services that they can’t have their sirens and lights flashing in case it upsets residents but if it was their relative that was in need, they’d have a somewhat different point of view.
This is sickening and all emergency services with flashing lights and sirens on route to an emergency or possible fatality, people have moved out of the way if it was safe to do so because morally it’s the right thing to do.
I wonder how many idiots make up this drivel and I wonder that those that enforce it would be okay with a loved one dying because the ambulance, police or fire was unable to get through traffic because drivers wouldn’t move for fear of getting points on their licence or a substantial fine.
There need to be exceptions for this sort of thing when emergency services are hurrying to a scene that none of us knows whether it’s life or death, yet the law would sooner concern itself about whether motorists are violating the law or not – another way to make money I imagine.
Sadly, the law doesn’t practice common sense with penalties that are issued by the Council and their cameras, despite their crime prevention mantra, they’re essentially a money-making tool and nothing more.
The law is a jackass because there need to be exceptions because if a driver is obstructing the road to let emergency services through its because there is no other alternative and motorists shouldn’t get any penalties or points because by letting the emergency services through you could be saving someone’s life.
This is absurd, why block the way of an emergency vehicle at any time? Because this is just another government red tape thing and the law should be changed now but then this is just another cash cow for the councils I suppose and these councils and government know that motorists aren’t going to simply sit there blocking an ambulance on an emergency in case they violate the law.
Everyone’s first impulse when emergency services come roaring up behind, siren in your ear, is to get out of the way, not to check that you’re moving into a bus lane et cetera but then your damned for doing the right thing and damned for doing the wrong thing.