How Should Drivers React To Flashing Lights?

Mon 31st Aug 2020

A new survey of emergency service drivers has found that more than half have seen their journeys delayed due to other road users - but what are the rules of the road?

GEM Motoring Assist’s survey found that 57 per cent of emergency drivers had experienced five or more emergency journey delays in a typical week, with a further 57 per cent of these incidents happening because the driver saw the emergency vehicle too late. The survey also found that 40 per cent were not aware an emergency vehicle was following them at all, while a very small minority (2.5%) admitted that they chose to deliberately block the emergency vehicle.

While the Highway Code says drivers should take appropriate action to let an emergency vehicle past, the rules of the road should not be broken, so crossing a red light or moving into a yellow box junction could risk drivers getting a fine. So should drivers risk a £100 or points on their licence to move out the way for an emergency vehicle?

“Our survey shows that in general the vast majority of people want to help and do the right thing, but the approach of a blue light vehicle can take them by surprise,” said GEM Chief Executive Neil Worth.

The survey found that drivers were often confused, with 42 per cent unsure how to react at traffic light junctions and double white lines on roads creating uncertainty for 26 per cent of motorists.

Speaking to The Daily Express, Simon Turner, Director of Driving for Better Business urged better understanding from emergency service drivers and the public. He saidL “People driving for work tend to do more miles than any other road user, so they are likely to encounter blue light vehicles more often.

“If we are better able to understand what emergency drivers want us to do – and what they want us not to do – then we will be much better placed to react early to their presence and minimise any delay or risk.”