Traffic stopped close to an incident should keep a lane space free for emergency vehicles.
Traffic stopped close to an incident should “keep a lane space free for emergency vehicles”, say nearly fifty percent of those who responded to a poll by The Institute of Advanced Motorists. A similar system has recently become law in Austria. As such – according to the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) - those travelling on motorways and duel carriageways must create corridors when the roads become congested. But how? Motorists on the left of two lane roads simply move further left, perhaps onto the hard shoulders. Those on the right, in contrast, move as far right as possible. When there are more than two lanes those on the left move further left and those in the middle – and on the right – move further right. This creates spare lanes which help the police, fire, ambulance and breakdown services move around more easily.The Institute of Advanced Motorists' poll also suggested that a worrying percentage of drivers react badly to blue flashing lights. Why? Because thirty-five percent did not “know the current rules” for dealing with approaching emergency vehicles. As such, twenty-five percent revealed they would drive through red lights to let emergency vehicles pass. That is dangerous and illegal. Furthermore, nearly thirty-three percent have moved into bus lanes which is an offence during their hours of operation. Fines might have followed - but eighty-six percent of the respondents believed that is “unfair”. The Institute has also published a few tips to help drivers cope with emergency vehicles: - “Keep your cool – if you see or hear an emergency vehicle approaching aid concentration by turning off your music, and take a few seconds to plan your next move. Acting in a state of panic could be dangerous and delay the emergency vehicle more. - Stop – look for somewhere to pull over and stop if it's safe to do so, even if the emergency vehicle is on the other side of the road. Indicators can be used to show that you have acknowledged the approaching blue lights and intend to move, but avoid usage if it could confuse other road users. - Stay safe – avoid pulling onto kerbs, pavements and verges - verges can mask numerous hazards and mounting the pavement can put pedestrians at risk. - Abide by the law – If you go through a red light or into a bus lane to make way for an emergency vehicle, unless directed to do so by a police officer, you are breaking the law and could be fined, irrespective of your good intentions. - Stay alert – be aware that there may be more than one emergency vehicle on the approach. Listen for more than one siren, look all around before moving off, and bear in mind that you may need to move over again.” The Institute's Chief Examiner, Peter Rodger, added: “loud sirens and flashing blue lights cause many motorists to panic, mainly because drivers are not routinely taught how to respond to them.” He continued: “Emergency vehicle drivers want you to help them reach the emergency at hand as quickly as possible. Behave calmly, legally, safely and predictably and move out of the way as soon as it is safe to do so to facilitate their route."