Passing emergency vehicles with the blues and twos can be a nerve-wracking experience, even for experienced drivers.
With this in mind, road safety organization GEM Motoring Assist has advice for motorists developed in conjunction with emergency services and Highways England.
From Tuesday December 1, 10 animations will be posted online for 10 days, targeting student drivers and instructors, providing advice on how to handle Blue Light vehicles.
GEM CEO Neil Worth said: “We know that most people want to help a ‘blue light vehicle’, but they can be surprised and do not always understand what ‘doing the right thing’ is.
“We are convinced that these videos will help students gain confidence as there will be less confusion in situations where an emergency vehicle needs their assistance. If the confusion is reduced, so is the risk. “
This campaign follows the latest advice, published in September. Here we summarize some of the key points in GEM’s advice.
Keep calm and find a place to wear
(GEM Motoring Assist)
Stopping on the road without an emergency vehicle passing will only stop them. Instead, stay calm and find a good place to wear.
If you are approaching a turn or the brow of a hill, keep driving as it is very dangerous to force a rescue vehicle on the wrong side of the road if they can’t see what’s coming.
GEM suggests staying off the bus lanes, not imposing curbs, or stopping near traffic islands. You also don’t have to go through a red light to let a vehicle pass.
When approaching a roundabout
As you approach a roundabout, keep an eye on the car in the mirrors. The position of the lane and the turn signals should tell you where you want to go, so you can decide if you need to take action.
If you have already stopped at the roundabout, move aside if you can to give the emergency vehicle space to pass. However, do not enter the roundabout if it is unsafe and look around before driving in case a second blue light vehicle is approaching.
On the highway
In free flowing traffic, move to the left if safe to do so. An emergency vehicle will only pass on the right.
If there is an emergency lane when traffic is at a standstill, emergency vehicles are likely to use it to avoid traffic.
However, if there is no hard shoulder on a road with more than three lanes, drivers must drive in the left and center lanes to the left and the rightmost lane to the right. This creates an ’emergency corridor’ where vehicles can pass safely. Hold the hallway in place even if vehicles have passed in case more come.
(GEM Motoring Assist)
Remember, it is illegal to use a ‘red X’ lane on a smart highway so if you see it moving as soon as it is safe, even if you cannot see an incident. Emergency vehicles will use these lanes if safe to do so, and they provide a safe barrier between drivers and an incident ahead.
Rolling road block
From time to time, police or highway officials will place a ‘rolling roadblock’. This is when a highway patrol vehicle or police car slows down traffic – the lights will usually flash and instructions such as ‘Don’t Pass’ illuminate in the rear window.
Follow the instructions and stay behind the vehicle and stop safely if prompted to do so. The vehicle will pull to the left, prompting you to pass when an incident has been resolved.