How To Safely Let Emergency Vehicles Past

How To Safely Let Emergency Vehicles Past

Having an emergency vehicle pulling up behind you at high speed, with the lights flashing and sirens blaring, can be a daunting experience, especially for a newly qualified driver. The worst thing you can do is make yourself a hazard by panicking, refusing to give way, or stopping in the wrong place.

To help you deal with that stressful situation and to help you present the smallest obstacle to the emergency services, here are some tips for how to safely let emergency vehicles pass.

Stay Calm

The best thing you can do in this situation is to stay calm and have faith in the driver of the emergency vehicle. They have been trained to avoid other road users at high speeds. All you need to be concerned with is getting out of their way safely and measuredly.


Stay Alert

While you might be able to stay calm, that does not necessarily mean the other people around you will. Other drivers slow down suddenly or turn sharply when they hear emergency vehicles coming. If your radio is on, turn off the music so you can hear the siren properly and stay aware of where the emergency vehicle is. As soon as it is possible, pull over into a safe space. It is important to remember that there could be a few emergency vehicles traveling to the same place, so check your surroundings before pulling out and restarting your journey.

Give Way

You should always pull over so that an emergency vehicle can pass you and do your best never to block an exit. If there is no realistic or safe way to pull over immediately, continue at a steady speed until it is safe to stop and let the emergency vehicle pass. Never stop in a bus lane or pull onto a cycle path, as you run the risk of causing an accident.

Don’t Try And Overtake When Being Passed By An Emergency Vehicle

This goes without saying, but if an emergency vehicle comes up behind you with its siren on, stay in the same road positing until it passes. Attempting to overtake when being passed by an emergency vehicle could result in you blocking the road when someone’s life is at stake.

Don’t Stop Suddenly

There is no need to grind to a halt suddenly. Use your indicators or hand signals to let other road users know that you plan to stop and only pull over in a safe place to let emergency vehicles pass you. Sudden braking or sharp turns can endanger you and other road users.

Don’t Use The Shoulder

Emergency vehicles often use the shoulder on a highway to reach accidents without having to weave through traffic. When you hear the sirens, do not automatically pull onto the shoulder; you might actually be blocking the emergency vehicle if you do.

Don’t Rubberneck

If you happen to be having an accident, don’t slow down to look. Aside from being a distasteful thing to do, suddenly slowing to get a better look might surprise other road users and cause another accident.

Stay at a steady pace, keep your eyes on the road and look for directions given by the police or emergency services.

Call Northwest Driving School at (702) 212-5667 to start your driving adventure with one of our expert instructors.

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Master Instructor / General Manager

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