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Thread: Moving out of the way for an Emergency vehicle when lights flashing!!

  1. #1
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    Default Moving out of the way for an Emergency vehicle when lights flashing!!

    I know it's good manner to move out the way if any emergency vehicle is en route to an emergency with lights flashing.

    Just a few questions I want to ask and would like your thoughts on them:

    - Do you have to, by law to move out of the way, if an emergency service vehicle has their flashing lights on?

    - What happens if you are at a red light, at a junction with 'red light cameras' on, and an emergency vehicle comes up behind you, should you move out of the way, forcing the camera to go off and you getting a fine?

    - How about in road-works, should an emergency vehicle really have there lights flashing in road-works?... i have seen this a few times and it cause utter chaos!

    - If for instance there is traffic on the motorway, and all 3 lanes are blocked, and a police car come tailgating you and you don't move out the way, would they prosecute you for obstruction?

  2. #2
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    Rule 219 of the highway code states


    Emergency and Incident Support vehicles. You should look and listen for ambulances, fire engines, police, doctors or other emergency vehicles using flashing blue, red or green lights and sirens or flashing headlights, or Highways Agency Traffic Officer and Incident Support vehicles using flashing amber lights. When one approaches do not panic. Consider the route of such a vehicle and take appropriate action to let it pass, while complying with all traffic signs. If necessary, pull to the side of the road and stop, but try to avoid stopping before the brow of a hill, a bend or narrow section of road. Do not endanger yourself, other road users or pedestrians and avoid mounting the kerb. Do not brake harshly on approach to a junction or roundabout, as a following vehicle may not have the same view as you.

  3. #3
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    With regards to: '- If for instance there is traffic on the motorway, and all 3 lanes are blocked, and a police car come tailgating you and you don't move out the way, would they prosecute you for obstruction?' Normally, in these circumstances, emergency vehicles would use hard shoulder. I would also point out that I have been given permission to use hard shoulder to get to breakdowns on M25.
    Last edited by Rolebama; 26-01-08 at 11:25. Reason: typo

  4. #4
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    You must not break the law to move out of the way for an emergency vehicle, and you will be liable for prosecution if you do. A report in the media some months ago described how a woman driver was picked up by a traffic signal camera. She had moved forwards to clear the path for an ambulance. But she was prosecuted anyhow. The report included a comment by a representative (Union?) for the emergency services, who said the woman should have stayed put, because their drivers have the necessary skills to get through. If that was a court statement, he/she shot the woman's case to bits.

    I have witnessed a fire tender, behind a car at traffic lights. The tender driver was blowing his bull horn, although the car had nowhere to go, and it panicked the driver into pulling out into the path of vehicles with the green light.

  5. #5
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    You are not required by law to do anything apart from act responsibly. You can't be prosecuted for trying, and failing to make way for an emergency vehicle but you can now be prosecuted for deliberately obstructing one. You are fully responsible (as our emergency drivers) for your actions whilst behind the wheel so if you progress through a red light (with or without a camera) or drive at excessive speed to try and avoid an emergency vehicle (etc etc) and you get caught, you'll probably get a good wrap on the knuckles and could legally get prosecuted.
    In fairness, I see a lot of aggressive emergency driving and there is no need for it. If an emergency driver encounters traffic of any description whilst driving under emergency conditions he/she should be courteous and try to make their actions as obvious as possible so you, the motorist, can act appropriately. Sirens and horns should not be used as a bullying tactic!!
    Please see other posts about how to act when you notice an emergency vehicle
    Hope this helps.

    Emergency Medical Technician. NHS Ambulance Service.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by chrischaos View Post
    I know it's good manner to move out the way if any emergency vehicle is en route to an emergency with lights flashing.

    Just a few questions I want to ask and would like your thoughts on them:

    - Do you have to, by law to move out of the way, if an emergency service vehicle has their flashing lights on?

    - What happens if you are at a red light, at a junction with 'red light cameras' on, and an emergency vehicle comes up behind you, should you move out of the way, forcing the camera to go off and you getting a fine?

    - How about in road-works, should an emergency vehicle really have there lights flashing in road-works?... i have seen this a few times and it cause utter chaos!

    - If for instance there is traffic on the motorway, and all 3 lanes are blocked, and a police car come tailgating you and you don't move out the way, would they prosecute you for obstruction?
    as for the red light question, if you are sitting at a light juntion with a camera and you must move across the white lane and thus get flashed due to moving out the way for an emergency vehicle. On getting the NIP you can contact the relevant service... tell them time and place and they will provide you with evidence saying that if there was an emergency vehicle with means the NIP is dropped.

  7. #7
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    [QUOTE=mills705;30966]as for the red light question, if you are sitting at a light juntion with a camera and you must move across the white lane and thus get flashed due to moving out the way for an emergency vehicle. On getting the NIP you can contact the relevant service... tell them time and place and they will provide you with evidence saying that if there was an emergency vehicle with means the NIP is dropped.[/QUOTE

    Rubbish,

    I am not going to enter in to an argument however the above post is total nonsense. You should not violate road traffic regulations regardless of the emergency vehicle's approach. You should pull over when safe to do so, and in no circumstance cross a signal at danger. It is down to the local authority whether they pursue it if you do and by no means are you in the clear by simply logging a date and time.

  8. #8
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    As has been previously stated, you must NOT break highway code and safety rules. Any making way has to be effected within the laws of driving.

    But on two occasions, in our local area, I have seen the bull horn being used on fire engines to get a driver to move where there is no legal room to do so. On the first occasion, the driver was forced by fear to enter the path of crossing vehicles, against his red light.

    On the second occasion (again at a light-controlled junction), the driver was forced up the high kerbing of the reservation.

    I say forced, because i think both drivers expected to be shunted out of the way if they did not move.

  9. #9
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    Yes, there is plenty of bullying from emergency vehicles. To you ambulance/fire engine/police car bullies out there, who give the majority of excellent emergency workers a bad name: there is no need to beep, their sirens are loud enough and YES the driver ahead HAS noticed you but is unable to legally get out of the way! If I had my way, the ambulance driver who forces through fear and intimidation a driver to go through a red light should take the resultant fine and penalty points himself.

    I know it is vital that emergency vehicles need to get to where they are going asap, but they shouldn't force cars in front of them to go through red lights and put themselves/other road users at risk. As I say, if a driver is intimidated to the point that it seems the ambulance will shunt it out of the way if he doesn't go, the ambulance driver should get the punishment, not the driver.

    It happened to me once when I was going through the toll booth on the Welsh side of the Severn Crossing. I was paying by card at the machine and the ambulance behind me kept beeping at me - what was I supposed to do, the card transaction was taking a few seconds and the barrier wasn't raising and I wasn't going to drive off with my card still in the machine! It is the only time I have ever had 'road rage' to any extent, and I beeped repeatedly at the ambulance while it was overtaking me.
    Last edited by 98selitb; 10-01-09 at 16:03.

  10. #10
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    I fully agree. We are all aware of the emergency services, and I believe it is very rare for a driver not to give them a clear passage whenever possible.
    But frightening drivers into giving clearance when it is clearly unsafe is totally unacceptable.
    The last thing that needs to happen is for a driver to be injured; perhaps ending up in a more life-threatening condition that is being suffered by the one needing the emergency, or even fatally injured.
    Not so long ago, this happened and was reported by the media, and what was worse, the emergency turned out to be a hoax call, which is even more tragic.

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