Look out for emergency vehicles

17 August 2011
Drivers should always be on the lookout for emergency vehicles. Travelling with stereos blaring, IPOD ear plugs in, windows up and air conditioning blasting makes it difficult to hear or see an approaching emergency vehicle.

Drivers are required to give way to Police, Fire and Rescue and any other emergency vehicles that are displaying a flashing lights or sounding a siren.

Sometimes emergency vehicles respond with lights only and no siren, so drivers may not always hear them coming. But drivers should be checking mirrors, rear and side, regularly as part of good driving practice. Situational awareness on the road is vital.

Drivers are encouraged to move to the left when giving way to these vehicles, when safe to do so. In the event where traffic is so congested that attempting to move over to the left cannot be done safely, drivers should stay in their lane and the emergency vehicle will go around.

Motorists have an obligation to give way to emergency vehicles but they also have an obligation to drive with due care and abide by the traffic laws.

DO...

  • Pull off to the nearest edge of the road or into a lane until all emergency vehicles have passed.
  • Be alert to the approach of more than one emergency vehicle.  Be sure to check your rear view mirror before pulling back on the road.
  • Keep the volume of your radio to a level that will not interfere with your ability to hear approaching emergency vehicles.
  • Use your indicators when giving way or pulling off the road.  This sends a message to the emergency vehicle that you are aware of his presence.

DON'T...

  • Slam on you brakes or stop directly in front of an emergency vehicle. Stopping abruptly could cause a crash. Instead, keep travelling until it is safe to pull over to the left.
  • Block any intersection.  Blocking intersections, even when attempting to give way to an emergency vehicle is dangerous.

Emergency vehicles travel with lights and sirens for a number of reasons and more often than not, they can be matters of life and death.

Know what is going on around you. Help emergency vehicles get to those in need faster and safely.