If you’re new to driving or riding on our roads, this video is for you. It’s also for road users who are not sure what to do when they see an emergency vehicle using emergency blue lights. Responders who drive to emergency incidents are trained to a very high standard to get them to their destination as quickly and safely as possible. They should not put anyone else at risk. Their training allows for advanced observation and driving skills to help them move through the traffic to get to where they need to be. They will anticipate other road users who should slow down and let emergency vehicles past, but only when safe to do so.
Watch our video, which was the idea of one of our student officers, to make sure you know what you need to do when an emergency vehicle is making progress.
PC Chantal Ball, who now works at Louth, said: “I felt this video would help new drivers who may panic when they see an emergency vehicle trying to get through the traffic. As a new emergency response driver, I have experienced for the first time, how many drivers don’t seem to know how to react to blue lights and sirens safely. I hope you find it useful.”
When a police car is coming behind you, would you know what to do?
We’re going to get straight to it and tell you.
If you’re driving on a straight road, indicate left to display you’re aware. Calmly slow down and be mindful of opportunities for the vehicle to pass. Don’t put yourself in danger by braking harshly or where it’s unsafe to do so.
Now, what do you do on corners?
If you’re approaching a bend, and you see an emergency vehicle using blue lights behind, stay calm. Continue at road speeds until you have cleared the bend. Indicate to show you’re aware and as visibility increases, slow down calmly and the vehicle will overtake you when the driver sees it’s safe.
Next up, you might be thinking ‘what do I do at a junction’?
If you’re waiting and you can hear sirens but can’t see a police car or other emergency vehicle, wait. Do not emerge from the junction. Wait until the emergency vehicle has cleared the junction.
If you’re approaching a roundabout, and an emergency vehicle is in your mirrors, stay in the lane that you’re in and if safe, come to a stop. As traffic slows, the police vehicle will indicate its intended path.
If traffic is heavy, the request may be for you to pull to the nearside if you are in the left lane or the offside if you are in the right lane. This will allow room for the emergency vehicle to pass through when there are cars in both lanes.
Finally, what to do at traffic lights. If the lights are on red, and a police vehicle is behind, stay calm. Don’t put yourself in danger. Responders are trained not to force you through a red light. Try to allow space for the vehicle to pass through. As traffic slows, the emergency vehicle will indicate its intended path.
If you can alter your position to allow space for it to pass through, do so. But if you can’t move, don’t panic.
Our drivers will find a way around or simply wait until the lights change. Also, don’t fixate on the first emergency vehicle you see. There are often multiple responders needing to pass through.