Road Users Making Way for the Emergency Services

  oresome 15:51 28 Jan 2014

In another thread, the FE warns against mounting the pavement to make way for the emergency services.

Would you take such action?

Would you cross a red light, if not the actual junction to make way?

If you was impeding the vehicle and there was no obvious passing place would you exceed the speed limit until you came to one?

In other words how far would you go in breaking the law to facilitate the passage of the emergency services?

How much leniency should you receive or expect if breaking the law in these circumstances?

  fourm member 16:04 28 Jan 2014

Rule 219 says it all.

What matters is not to rush into doing something stupid.

  wiz-king 16:12 28 Jan 2014

I remember years ago cantering my horse along a road to let an ambulance get through traffic in Brixton. It was only for a few hundred yards but there was nowhere for a load of horses and riders to go to get us all out the way until we came to a petrol station that we could all get in.

  bumpkin 16:38 28 Jan 2014

A bit of common sense perhaps?

  spuds 16:46 28 Jan 2014

Interesting point, and one that most motorist's have had to face at one time or another I would suspect.

But be warned, a few months ago a motorist's using a busy 2/3 lane major road near my home was prosecuted due to letting a fire engine pass, with all blues and two's on. Apparently the car driver was in line with other vehicles, having just stopped at a road junction where the red light had just began to display. The driver checked, then moved out to give way to the fire engine and got done for the offence, the fire engine driver got away with it.

  bremner 17:59 28 Jan 2014

The driver of the fire engine did not "get away with it"

The Road Traffic Regulations Act 1984 and The Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2002 exempt emergency vehicles from:

observing speed limits observing keep left/right signs complying with traffic lights (including pedestrian controlled crossings).

  Forum Editor 18:00 28 Jan 2014

It's pretty obvious that anyone in their right mind would want to give way to an emergency vehicle of any kind, but commonsense dictates that you should only do so if you don't break the law in the process. If you do commit a motoring offence when getting out of the way of a blue light and siren you can be prosecuted for it.

In practice we all sort this out for ourselves - we move over if we can do so safely, and we might pull across the front of a neighbouring vehicle at a red light if we don't put ourselves or others in danger by doing so.

The worst thing to do is to pull onto a pavement, unless you can clearly see that there are no pedestrians anywhere near.

What annoys emergency drivers is a motorist who dithers, and seems unable to make up his/her mind what to do. That creates potentially dangerous situations.

It all comes down to commonsense in the end.

  Forum Editor 18:02 28 Jan 2014


They are only exempted if they can proceed safely. If they run a red light and hit another vehicle that has already begun to enter the junction through a green light they may be prosecuted in exactly the same way as any other driver.

  bremner 18:16 28 Jan 2014

The safety caveat applies to all aspects of the exemption.

I am aware of a case where an emergency vehicle on a 999 call was captured by speed camera travelling at much more the 30mph limit, in the vicinty of a school at the time pupils were leaving. The driver was prosecuted and fined.

  Woolwell 18:27 28 Jan 2014

I was talking to a driver of a fire engine quite recently. Car drivers are not permitted to cross red lights in order to make way for the fire engine. The instructions for the fire engine drivers are that if they can see that they cannot get pass safely and without the other drivers breaking the law then they are to turn off their sirens and wait. They have more problems with bad parking especially in residential streets at night.

  spuds 18:40 28 Jan 2014

I would think that it would all depend on the local conditions, court or CPS whether a driver of a on-call emergency vehicle was actually prosecuted or not.

Going on what I said at 4.46PM and bremner's comment at 6.16PM. Again there is a similar situation of a school and speed camera's about 1 mile from me. On a freedom of Information request it was noted that no emergency vehicle driver's had been prosecuted for speeding in that area, but other driver's 'not on emergencies' had. In fact one police officer actually lost his job trying to suggest that he was on an emergency, and avoid prosecution, when he was found not to be on any emergency when the logs were checked.

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