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Emergency and Incident Support Vehicles

By: Simon McBride - Updated: 18 Aug 2012 | comments*Discuss
Emergency Vehicles Incident Management

No one likes to see emergency vehicles at full speed as it usually means that someone is in danger but as a motorist do you know what to do when one of these vehicles is in your vicinity?

It is vital that you do because if you delay an emergency vehicle you could ultimately be costing someone his or her life. A chilling thought but a stark reminder that we should be alert when behind the wheel of a vehicle.

Leave Enough Space

You should always remember to leave room for emergency vehicles even when you are stuck in a traffic jam. These are often times when drivers get irritated at other motorists at not leaving gaps or diving in between two cars but if you have a think about it, most traffic jams are caused by an accident up ahead and if there is no hard shoulder then the emergency vehicles will need to get past your vehicle.

When driving you should always be prepared for the unexpected, always look and listen for emergency vehicles as they could be approaching from behind. Emergency vehicles will always have a flashing light on the roof of the vehicle and it could be blue, red, green, or even amber if the rescue vehicle is a Highways Agency vehicle or an Incident Support vehicle. When there is disruption to the road network, the incident management can either be controlled by the police or the Highways Agency.

How to react?

If an emergency vehicle approaches your vehicle, then the first bit of advice is not to panic. Study the emergency vehicle and try to read where the vehicle is heading, this should be done by constructive thought, you can usually tell where an emergency vehicle is headed and how it is approaching you by reading its direction and speed that it is travelling at. When you calculate this, try to take the correct action on where to move your vehicle so that the emergency vehicle can pass you without delay.

Even though you must make way for the emergency support vehicle and let it pass with the minimum fuss and delay you must also remember to obey the traffic signs that are located in your vicinity. You should not break the law in letting the emergency vehicle past.

Do Not Endanger Yourself or Other Motorists

If there is enough space you should always drive your vehicle to the side of the road and stop to let the emergency vehicle past. This does not mean that you can just pull off the road or stop at any point. The Highway Code advises drivers to avoid endangering themselves and other road users by stopping in dangerous places like the brow of a hill, a bend or narrow section of road. It is not allowed to climb kerbs to get out of the way as you could be putting pedestrians at risk.

If your vehicle is in motion when an emergency vehicle approaches, you should not brake suddenly at any point even if you are approaching a junction or a roundabout as motorists behind your vehicle may not be able to see the approaching emergency vehicle and could actually run into your vehicle.

Slow Down

All road users should slow down or even be prepared to stop when an emergency vehicle is approaching, and all motorists should leave a clear path so that the emergency vehicle can get through the traffic without delay.

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