The Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) has issued guidelines on how drivers should respond when they see an emergency vehicle with their emergency lights approaching. The group has said that panic is the greatest problem, caused by the fact that drivers are not routinely taught how to deal with emergency vehicles. They have said that a driver should remove any possible distractions, and pull over as soon as it is safe while using indicators and avoiding any potential confusion for other motorists.
They have warned that ignoring a red light or entering a bus lane, as one white van driver found out to his detriment recently, may lead to fines for the improper use of the highway code. They have said that the aim is to ensure that the emergency vehicle can respond to an emergency safely and quickly, while ensuring the safety of all other road users around.
One van driver was recently issued with a fine for pulling into a bus lane when a police bike approached with his emergency lights on. The driver was issued with a fine, which he didn’t receive, and consequently had his van clamped and was issued with a fine of more than £500 to avoid having his vehicle towed. The council later agreed to drop the fine, as CCTV footage of the incident confirmed the man’s story.
The IAM has also warned that drivers should not mount verges or curbs. They said that verges can have hidden hazards, such as large potholes and items of debris that may cause the driver to lose control, while mounting the curb can cause a potential hazard for pedestrians that may be around at the time.
Drivers should turn down their radios and remove any other potential distractions, determine where the emergency vehicle is indicating, and then indicate before moving over as soon as, and only when it is safe to do so. Drivers should not panic, and should make the manoeuvre carefully and in a planned fashion. If all drivers follow these guidelines, then the emergency vehicle will be able to progress unhampered.